Southwestern Grilled Chicken with Peppers and Onions has all the flavors of fajitas in a healthier, more elegant dish.

Southwestern-grilled-chicken-with-peppers-onions

Fajita Chicken with Bell Peppers and Onions

I love the flavors in Tex-Mex fajitas – grilled protein (meat, poultry or shrimp) combined with grilled onions and peppers and served with tortillas, guacamole, cheese and sour cream. One day I decided to create a dish that captured the basic flavors in fajitas into a healthier, more elegant dish – that is, without the tortillas and all the toppings. This scrumptious grilled chicken dish is the result!

Southwest Chicken Marinade

The chicken marinade includes the primary flavors in many fajita marinades – lime juice, soy sauce, chili powder, garlic and Worcestershire sauce. The peppers and onions are sautéed in olive oil and seasoned with cumin, garlic and oregano. So easy and quick to prepare, beautiful and colorful on the plate – oh, and super delicious!

How to make Southwest Fajita Chicken with Peppers and Onions

Time needed: 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Because the cook time for this dish is fast (around 20 minutes) they’re perfect for busy day dinner. Just put the chicken into marinate first thing in the morning!

Here are the easy steps to preparing this recipe:

  1. Prep chicken.

    Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry; if large, butterfly and cut into 2 pieces (click on photo for a video with step-by-step instructions). Place in a large zip top baggie and set aside.photo of hands showing step 2 of butterflying a chicken breast

  2. Prepare the marinade.

    In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together lime juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, soy sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, honey, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and salt.

  3. Marinate chicken.

    Add marinade to chicken in baggie, seal and place in refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.

  4. Prep grill and chicken.

    Preheat grill to medium-high. Take chicken out of refrigerator (to bring to room temperature before grilling).

  5. Cook peppers and onion.

    Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add peppers and onion. Season with cumin, oregano, and garlic powder and cook until soft, around 10 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt and ground pepper. Set aside.

  6. Cook chicken.

    Grill chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, around 3 to 4 minutes per side.

  7. Serve.

    Place cooked chicken breasts on a platter and top with the cooked peppers and onions. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro or parsley.

close shot showing a single serving of Southwestern Fajita Chicken
How spicy is this Fajita Chicken, Peppers and Onions Recipe?

This dish isn’t super spicy. And, the good news is you can control how spicy you make it! The chili powder and cayenne pepper in the marinade are where the kick comes from. So, add more to amp up the spice, or less to tone it down.

What are the best type of bell peppers to cook with Southwestern Grilled Chicken?

For this recipe I like to use red and yellow bell peppers. They are the sweetest varieties and have less of a grassy flavor than green bell peppers. Orange bell peppers don’t hold up to heat as well, so I wouldn’t use them for this dish.

How long should the chicken marinate before cooking?

You should marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours, but no more than 24 hours. Leaving chicken in a marinade with acidic lime juice for longer can cause the meat to become mushy.

If using frozen chicken, should chicken be thawed before marinating?

Yes, it’s best to thaw chicken before marinating. When chicken thaws, it releases the water and ice it absorbed when frozen. That water will then dilute your marinade, and dilute the flavor. I even recommend patting thawed chicken dry, to get rid of any excess moisture before you marinate.

Should the peppers and onions be marinated along with the chicken?

In my recipe, the chicken is marinated with one set of flavor-enhancing ingredients, and the peppers and onion are not marinated and cooked with a different set of seasonings. Layering varying ingredients into the dish at different times during the cooking process results in amazing depth and vibrancy to the flavor.

How to serve this Chicken, Peppers and Onions Recipe

You can serve this dish family style, placing the grilled chicken on a platter and top with the cooked peppers and onions – or surround the chicken breasts with the vegetables. Alternatively, you can serve on individual dinner plates.

My favorite dish to serve as a side with this dish is our Saffron Cilantro Rice (in my cookbook Fresh Tastes). It’s also delicious with roasted potatoes or Grilled Potato Packets (without the truffle oil).

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photo of a portion of Southwestern Grilled Chickenformatted for sharing on social media

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close shot showing a single serving of Southwestern Fajita Chicken

Fajita Chicken with Onions and Peppers

  • Author: (By Lee Clayton Roper)
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Marinating Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Poultry, main dish, grilled, gluten free
  • Method: Grilling, Sautéing
  • Cuisine: Southwestern
  • Diet: Low Calorie

Description

Southwestern Grilled Chicken with Peppers and Onions – the flavors of fajitas in a healthier, more elegant dish.


Ingredients

Scale

Chicken

  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (around 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice (around 3 limes)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce (I use low sodium)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Dash kosher salt

Peppers and Onions

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Chopped cilantro or parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry; if large, butterfly and cut into 2 pieces (see Tip). Place in a large zip top baggie and set aside.
  2. Prepare the marinade: in a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the lime juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, soy sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, honey, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and salt. Add to chicken in baggie and place in refrigerator to marinate for 2 to 24 hours, turning occasionally.
  3. Preheat grill to medium-high. Take chicken out of refrigerator (to bring to room temperature before grilling).
  4. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add peppers and onion. Season with cumin, oregano, and garlic powder and cook until soft, around 10 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt and ground pepper. Set aside.
  5. Grill chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, around 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  6. Place cooked chicken breasts on a platter and top with the cooked peppers and onions. Serve immediately, garnished with cilantro or parsley.

Notes

Gluten free: Use gluten free soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

Lee Clayton Roper

Welcome!

I’m Lee Clayton Roper, and I’m passionate about making cooking and entertaining easy, elegant and fun. Here you’ll find scrumptious recipes, helpful tips and seasonal menus that will spark inspiration in your kitchen!
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2 Responses to “Southwestern Grilled Fajita Chicken with Peppers and Onions”

  1. Suzie H.

    Made this recipe last night for guests and everyone gobbled it up! Super delish. Love all the flavors.

    Reply

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