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Jalapeno Pesto Chicken

jalapeno pesto, jalapeno cilantro pesto, cilantro pesto chicken, grilled pesto chicken, grilled romaine

I love jalapenos. While I am a self confessed heat addict, they are extremely good for you too! Jalapenos have more vitamin C than eating an orange and are packed in vitamin A! So feel good about eating this recipe. And if you don't like heat but like the pepper flavor, take the seeds out and this marinade will have very little heat.

This is a loose interpretation of the term “pesto”. Instead of basil, I use cilantro and pair with jalapenos and lime juice to make my “triple crown” of favorite flavors. This would be equally great on grilled veggies and as a dip paired with tortilla chips.


  • 3 limes- used for juice and zest
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
  • 4 jalapenos- if you don't like heat, remove the seeds.
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 tblsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Additional ingredients:

jalapeno lime marinade, jalapeno pesto, cilantro lime pesto, cilantro lime marinade

Jalapeno-lime-cilantro goodness! My favorite flavors in a pesto consistency!


Use a food processor or emulsion blender to mix all of this together. Zest all of the limes for lovely lime goodness, then cut them in half and juice them directly into the processor. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix in the processor until all the ingredients are mixed uniformly.

Marinade the chicken legs for up to 4 hours. If you don't have time to marinate that long, you will still have good flavor in the chicken.

Grill the chicken on a medium/high grill, about 350 degrees, approximately 7-8 minutes each side, or until an internal temp of 170 degrees has been reached (use a meat thermometer, don't try to guess!)

I paired the chicken with quick and easy grilled romaine and texas toast for a satisfying and easy meal. Do you have a favorite play on pesto? Please share and I'll feature them here on the blog!

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8 Responses to Jalapeno Pesto Chicken

  1. Troy Gagliardo September 2, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    Looks awesome can’t wait to give this one a try and toss with some grilled wings for this weekends college football kickoff!
    Keep up the great work!
    Chef Troy

  2. Sharon September 2, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    Robyn you are a genius! I can’t wait to try this amazing looking recipe on my Labor Day Weekend!

  3. Larry September 2, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    This sounds amazing Robyn and will be tried here soon. We are both big cilantro fans and Bev has become a serious chile head – adding heat to nearly everything she eats.

  4. Robyn September 2, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    Thanks Sharon! We need to get together soon!!!

  5. Robyn September 2, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Larry, you know I love heat, in fact I”m addicted. You may have to add even more jalapenos to this to make Bev happy! :)

  6. Larry September 4, 2011 at 5:03 am #

    Robyn – We had it the other night and loved it. Blog post teed up for 9/6, but didn’t get it hot enough since the SIL was eating with us.

  7. Chris September 4, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    This pesto is very similar to the condiment I made with flank steak last night, which was fabulous!

    I’ll be trying this with some leg quarters this weekend.

  8. jennifurla December 9, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    This looks so super tasty.