Cilantro Pesto Chicken Tenders


by: Monvile

When Is It Done? The USDA recommends cooking chicken and turkey until the internal temperature of the breast meat is 170°F and the thigh meat has reached 180°F for optimal safety. But most chefs today cook the breast meat to 160°F and the thigh meat to 170°F for juicier results. Keep in mind that the internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees during resting. Whatever temperature you choose is entirely up to you. Check the thigh meat by inserting the probe of a thermometer in the thickest part [but not touching the bone]. If you don’t have a thermometer, insert a thin knife between the thigh and drumstick. The juices should run clear and the meat should no longer be pink at the bone.


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serves: 4-6

2 pounds chicken breast tenders

1 lime, cut into wedges


2 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts

2 medium garlic cloves

1 1/2 cups loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems

1/2 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves and tender stems

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Nutrition Facts
Cilantro Pesto Chicken Tenders

Servings Per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving

Calories: 752

  • Total Fat: 51.8 g
  •     Saturated Fat: 9.5 g
  •     Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 93.1 mg
  • Sodium: 1328.8 mg
  • Total Carbs: 37.6 g
  •     Dietary Fiber: 3.7 g
  •     Sugars: 1.4 g
  • Protein: 34.6 g

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1.  To make the marinade: In a food processor, finely chop the walnuts and garlic. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the cilantro, parsley, salt, and pepper and process until finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly add the oil to create a smooth purée.

2.  Place the chicken in a large, resealable plastic bag and add the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade, place in a bowl, and refrigerate for 2 hours.

3.  Remove the chicken from the bag and thread onto skewers. Grill over Direct High heat until the meat is firm and the juices run clear, 6 to 8 minutes, turning once. Serve warm with the lime wedges.

Cooks' note:
To me, pesto is more of a technique than a recipe. Literally, it means "pounded" in Italian. To most people, it means a sauce made with garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and lots of fresh basil. But why not use other herbs instead, like cilantro and parsley? In this recipe they are "pounded" in a food processor.

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