20-Minute Cilantro Chicken with Rice and Beans

20-Minute Cilantro Chicken with 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!!

Calling all cilantro fans, this recipe is for you. And I love the Mexican flavors and vibe going on too.

The 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 accompaniments to the chicken. Namely Spanish rice, black beans, and tomatoes. 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 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.

I used precooked rice to save time but you can make it from scratch or sub with quinoa, couscous, or another favorite grain.

20-Minute Cilantro Chicken with Rice and Beans

20-Minute Cilantro Chicken with 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!!

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  • one extra-large or two medium/average bunches fresh cilantro leaves or about 2 cups tightly packed (see Notes below)
  • about 2 green onions, trimmed and roughly chopped
  • about 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided or as needed
  • 1 to 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)


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove the chicken from the skillet and evenly divide the chicken, rice, beans, and tomatoes between the serving bowls.
  5. Add additional cilantro sauce over the rice, beans, or tomatoes if desired. 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.

Recipe Notes and Tips:

  1. 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.

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