20-Minute Cilantro Chicken, Rice, and Beans — EASY, healthy, and the fresh cilantro sauce is SO good!! The chicken is juicy, loaded with flavor, and along with the rice and beans and you’ll be SATISFIED for hours!!
Cilantro Chicken, Rice, & Beans
Calling all cilantro fans, this cilantro lime chicken recipe is for you! And I love the Mexican flavors and vibe going on too.
This chicken, rice, and beans recipe is easy, healthy, ready in under 20 minutes, and naturally gluten-free. Tender pieces of chicken are simmered in an easy yet super flavorful cilantro sauce that’s made in 1 minute in your food processor. Fresh cilantro, green onions, lime juice, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. So much herby freshness. The cayenne doesn’t make the cilantro sauce spicy and just adds some pizazz.
Extra cilantro sauce is great for drizzling over the chicken, rice, and beans. Namely Spanish rice and black beans. I can never have too much sauce. The sauce also makes a great chicken marinade or just eat it as a dip with tortilla chips. Yum.
The cilantro sauce has more of an edge straight out of the food processor and the flavors mellow and marry in the skillet. If you like it straight from the food processor, you’re going to love it after it’s been cooked for a few minutes.
What’s in Cilantro Chicken?
To make the cilantro lime chicken, rice, and beans, you’ll need:
- Fresh cilantro
- Green onions
- Olive oil
- Lime juice
- Cayenne pepper
- Chicken breasts
- Precooked rice
- Black beans
How to Make Cilantro Lime Chicken
Add the cilantro sauce ingredients to a food processor and pulse until smooth. Then, cook the diced chicken in an oiled skillet until no longer pink inside. Pour about 1/3 cup of the cilantro sauce over the chicken and cook for a couple minutes to heat through.
Then, divide the chicken, rice, and beans among your bowls and garnish with fresh tomato slices. Drizzle more cilantro sauce on top if desired and dig in!
Can I Use Chicken Thighs?
I’m sure you can, I just prefer using boneless skinless chicken breasts.
Tips for Making Cilantro Lime Chicken
I used precooked rice to save time but you can make it from scratch or sub with quinoa, couscous, or another favorite grain.
Note that I use only the cilantro leaves and not the stems. Be sure to pack the leaves tightly into your measuring cup as you need more cilantro than you think to make the sauce for this cilantro lime chicken and rice dish.
I season the canned black beans simply with salt and pepper, but feel free to doctor them up with additional cumin, cayenne, taco seasoning, or whatever you’d like.
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- 2 cups tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves (one extra-large or two medium/average bunches)*
- 2 green onions, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided (or as needed)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
- 1 to 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into bite sized pieces
- salt and pepper for seasoning chicken
- one 8.8-ounce package precooked rice (I used Spanish rice)
- one 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (I used low-salt)
- 1 or 2 medium tomatoes, diced small (I used Roma)
- To the canister of a food processor fitted with the S-blade, add the cilantro, green onions, about 4 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper, optional cayenne pepper, and mix on high speed until cilantro and green onions are broken down and mixture is emulsified.
- If necessary, add additional oil to get things moving in the food processor and until sauce comes together in a thick but pourable consistency. Taste and make any necessary seasoning adjustments if desired; set sauce aside.
- To a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, chicken, season evenly with salt and pepper, and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Stir and flip intermittently to ensure even cooking.
- After chicken is cooked through, reduce the heat to medium-low, and evenly drizzle about 1/3 cup cilantro sauce over the chicken, stir to coat evenly, and simmer gently for about 2 minutes; reserve remaining sauce for serving.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet and evenly divide the chicken, rice, beans, and tomatoes between the serving bowls.
- Add additional cilantro sauce over the rice, beans, or tomatoes if desired.
- *Note: You need more cilantro than you think to make the cilantro sauce, likely 2 bunches if you are buying average-sized bunches from the grocery store. I find that organic cilantro comes in a bigger bunch in my area and I can get away with one but better to grab 2 to be safe. All those fluffy leaves pulverize down to nearly nothing in the food processor.
- Recipe will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days, noting the cilantro will oxidize as time passes but the color does not effect taste.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 707Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 1184mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 11gSugar: 2gProtein: 61g
More Mexican Chicken Recipes:
Buffalo Chicken Burrito Bowls — Juicy chicken along with your favorite burrito ingredients served in a bowl! Pile the toppings sky high and not worry about a wrap breaking, plus it’s a little healthier! Easy and ready in 15 minutes!
Loaded Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Lime-Cilantro Dressing – Fast, easy, fresh and healthy! All your favorite taco flavors in one big kickin’ salad that everyone will love!
Chicken Tortilla Lettuce Wraps – Filled with Mexican flavors, there’s taco-seasoned chicken, tomatoes, corn, peppers, cilantro, and cheese! Easy, healthy, ready in 10 minutes, and a family favorite!
Lime Cilantro Chicken with Mixed Rice and Black Beans – Easy, one skillet, 15-minute meal! Tons of textures and bold flavors in every bite! The lime makes this dish just pop!
Loaded Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats — Skip enchilada wraps and use zucchini instead! Easy, healthier and there’s so much flavor between juicy chicken drenched in enchilada sauce, corn, peppers, and cheese!
Sheet Pan Salsa Chicken and Potatoes – An EASY dinner that’s ready in 30 minutes and made on ONE pan with so much FLAVOR!! The salsa keeps the chicken so juicy for a winner-winner-chicken-dinner that’s perfect for busy nights!!
Grilled Lime Cilantro Chicken – EASY, ready in 10 minutes, and the chicken is so TENDER, juicy, and full of Mexican-inspired flavor!! Put this HEALTHY chicken recipe on your summer menu rotation and it’ll be a hit with everyone!!