Today’s salsa chicken recipe represents the quintessence of Mexican cuisine: creating unique dishes from fresh ingredients and bold seasonings.
These taco-seasoned chicken breasts are slightly pan-seared on medium heat, then placed on a bed of homemade salsa sauce and baked to perfection. Serve this goodness the traditional way with some corn kernels and red kidney beans on the side, and dinner is ready.
Ingredients for Salsa Chicken
Like many Mexican-style dishes, this recipe calls for quite a few items: chicken breasts, a hefty amount of fresh vegetables, spices, and herbs. Nevertheless, all the ingredients should not be hard to find since most grocery stores have done a great job stocking them year-round.
- For the Meat
Whether you opt for dark meat (thighs, drumsticks) or white meat (breasts, wings, tenderloins), there will only be slight changes in the flavors, textures, and calorie count. To reduce the prepping time, we purchase skinless, boneless chicken breasts.The naturally mild flavor of chicken breasts allows them to take on a variety of spices.
For this recipe, we use Cajun seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, and ground black pepper to season. We also butterfly them so they absorb flavors better.
- For the Salsa Sauce
The flavor foundation of the sauce is mainly derived from fresh vegetables and herbs. When blended, lemon juice and red onions help enhance the natural sweetness of fresh tomatoes, while jalapeño imparts a pleasing heat to the dish. Cilantro also adds a citrusy note to the sauce.
Once the sauce base is completed, we add the tomato paste, chili powder, paprika, cumin, sugar, and salt, then stir to cook the mixture on low heat. The spice mix is in charge of deepening the overall flavor of the salsa chicken.
- For the Cheese
A Mexican dish wouldn’t be complete without cheese. We layer the rich cheddar and creamy shredded mozzarella cheese on the chicken breasts. Once melted perfectly in the oven, the cheese will give you that stringy, satisfying cheese pull every time.
Is Salsa Chicken Healthy?
With skinless, boneless chicken breasts as the primary protein choice, each serving is loaded with high-quality complete protein and has a reasonable calorie count. Specifically, a single portion offers 48.1 g of protein while yielding only 478 calories.
Instead of using commercial, canned salsa sauce, we make ours from scratch. Fresh tomatoes, red onions, jalapeño, and cilantro blended until silky-smooth add an abundance of antioxidants to the dish’s nutrition profile.
We keep a strict eye on the seasonings to ensure the dish adheres to our nutrition guidelines. Each serving contains 7 g of saturated fat and around 602 mg of sodium.
What to Serve With Salsa Chicken
Here are some quick and easy salads to accompany this delectable salsa chicken:
Salsa Chicken Recipe
Today's salsa chicken recipe combines succulent chicken breasts, cheddar, and mozzarella cheese with a homemade salsa sauce made from fresh veggies to create a Mexican signature. You can serve this goodness with corn kernels and kidney beans on the side or enjoy it with some Spanish rice.
- cook TIME 20 mins
- prep TIME 10 mins
- total TIME 30 mins
- COURSE Main Dish
- CUISINE American
- SERVINGS servings
- CALORIES 473 kcal
- 22 ozskinless, boneless chicken breast
- 16 oztomatoes (cut into wedges)
- 10 ozunsalted dark red kidney beans
- 4 ozcorn
- 2 ozred onion (diced)
- 1 ozjalapeño (cut into small cubes)
- 2 tbspolive oil
- 3 ozcheddar cheese (shredded)
- 1 ozmozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 1 tbsplime juice
- 1 tbspHunt's tomato paste
- 0.5 tspchili powder
- 0.5 tsppaprika
- 0.5 tspground cumin
- 2 cloves garlic
- 0.3 cupcilantro (chopped)
- 0.5 tspgarlic powder
- 0.5 tspCajun seasoning
- 0.5 tspsugar
- 0.5 tspsalt
- 0.5 tspblack pepper
Place the chicken breast on a cutting board. From the long side of the chicken breast, slice the meat in half in a sawing motion, but leave about 1/4 inch so that the two pieces are still intact. Set it aside and repeat with the remaining pieces.
Cut the tomatoes in half, lengthwise, then slice them into quarters. Use a sharpened knife to cut the seeds of the tomato from one end to the other. Discard the seeds. Repeat this process for the rest of the tomatoes.
Halve the red onion lengthwise and peel away the skin. Trim one end and lay the halved onion face down. Make vertical slices, 1/8 inch apart, such that you cut towards the root; leave about 1/8 inch at the end so the root stays intact. Turn the half 90 degrees and grip the root. Slice the red onion horizontally, again leaving 1/8 inch at the end to keep the root intact. Slice the red onion into small, even cubes. Discard the root.
Cut off the top of the jalapeño and quarter it, lengthwise. Trim the white bits, hold the quarters close together, and make vertical cuts to have cubes.
Peel and discard the skin of the garlic clove.
Finely chop the cilantro.
Marinate the chicken breasts: On a large platter, add 22 oz skinless, boneless chicken breast, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning, and 1/2 tsp black pepper. Rub the seasonings evenly onto both sides of the chicken breasts.
Blend the sauce ingredients: In a blender, add 16 oz tomatoes, 2 oz diced red onion, 1 oz cubed jalapeño, 1 tbsp lime juice, 2 cloves garlic, and 1/8 cup chopped cilantro. Blend until smooth.
Pan-sear the seasoned chicken breasts: Place a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the well-seasoned chicken breasts. Sear each side of the chicken breasts for 2 minutes and 30 seconds (5 minutes in total). Remove the chicken breasts from the heat.
Combine the sauce: In the same skillet, add 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp of Hunt's tomato paste. Stir well for 30 seconds. Add the blended sauce mixture, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp paprika, and 1/2 tsp ground cumin to the skillet. Lower the heat and stir to cook for 3 minutes.
Add the pan-seared chicken breasts: Turn off the heat, add the pan-seared chicken breasts into the tomato-based sauce, then layer 3 oz cheddar cheese and 1 oz shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the chicken breasts. Preheat the oven to 400°F to prepare for the next step.
Bake the salsa chicken: Place the skillet on the middle rack of the oven and bake it at 400°F for 10 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and sprinkle some chopped parsley on top.
Serve: Transfer your desired portion onto a serving place. Enjoy the salsa chicken with 10 oz unsalted dark red kidney beans and 4 oz corn.