Thursday, May 27, 2010

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

When you think of pesto, does the traditional basil pesto usually come to mind at first? That's what I think of but there's a whole world of other kinds of pestos to check out! I've been experimenting with various kinds of pestos and my current favorite is this recipe for Cilantro Lime Pesto. It's definitely one to try and there's so many ways to use it, such as in these Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos...

Cilantro and lime is a flavor combo that's commonly seen together. When combined as a pesto, you can be sure the flavor is refreshing and light! The pesto is simply made with cilantro leaves, toasted sliced almonds, asiago cheese, fresh garlic, salt, olive oil and a bit of chicken broth. Just like a traditional basil pesto, this version can be frozen, used as a dip, a spread, a sauce... whatever your favorite application is for pesto!

I tossed the cilantro lime pesto with some cooked chicken, then filled flour tortillas for a twist on chicken tacos. The pesto gave the chicken a bright and light flavor perfect for the warm spring and summer months. For the tacos, feel free to use whatever garnishes or additional toppings you wish. I topped our Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos with sauteed bell peppers and onions, slices of ripe avocado,and shredded cheese.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos
original Joelen recipe

cooking spray for sauteeing
2-3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in bite sized pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup cilantro lime pesto (recipe follows)
flour or corn tortillas
preferred taco garnishes (salsa, sour cream, cheese, etc)

Season chicken with salt, pepper and garlic powder. In a skillet sprayed with cooking spray, saute chicken over medium high heat and cooked through. Toss cooked, seasoned chicken with the pesto. Fill tortillas with chicken and top with preferred garnishes.

* To make ahead/freezer meal - Cook chicken as directed as above and cool. Place chicken in freezer bag. Prepare cilantro lime pesto as directed below. Place a 1/2 cup of pesto in a small storage bag then place inside the freezer bag with the chicken. Freeze. When ready to prepare, defrost and heat chicken. Toss chicken with defrosted pesto. If desired, heat chicken and pesto together before filling tacos.

Cilantro Lime Pesto
recipe adapted from Food Network

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (do not include stems)
2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sliced, toasted almonds
3 tablespoons chopped, fresh garlic
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup shredded asiago (Parmesan or Romano can be substituted too)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup chicken broth

Using a blender, mix together the cilantro, olive oil, almonds, garlic, lime juice, asiago, salt and chicken broth on low speed for 2 minutes.