Citrus Avocado Chicken – Winter’s Gift

Citrus Avocado Chicken

Winter gives me two things that I love enough that I am willing to forgive her for all her harshness. She gives me skiing, the most fun you can have in a blizzard; I think the sensation of zipping down the mountain on skis is the closest I am going to get to flying in this life. The second gift of winter is oranges, juicy and tantalizingly sweet. You may argue with me that I shouldn’t really credit winter with oranges because those are grown in places where the winter is much more like my spring, but oranges appear in my grocery store at the peak of winter’s worst weather, so I love winter even more for this sweet gift.

I have proven in the past that I love the flavor of orange and the hint of orange, but this recipe is fantastic because the meat of the fruit is the star. Oranges, grapefruit, lime all combined together to form a citrus salsa to top a grilled chicken breast that has been marinating in freshly squeezed orange-grapefruit-lime juice. I first made this recipe in California where I had oranges growing less than ten meters from my kitchen window. I was worried it wouldn’t be the same with oranges from the grocery store, but this past week we had oranges from the store almost as good as oranges from my tree so I knew it was time to attempt this recipe: the results were as stunning and beautiful as always. You do have to wear the winter jacket and brace the wind to grill up the chicken, but it is worth it. I promise.

This recipe requires zesting, juicing and chopping and if you can follow this order you should be able to save yourself some time by getting everything ready at the same time for the marinade and the salsa so you don’t have to repeat steps.

First: You are going to need to zest one grapefruit, two oranges and three limes.

Second: When you have finished zesting, you need to section the fruit to get the all the sweet, juicy pulp of the citrus and none of that white stuff your kids don’t like to eat. You need a sharp paring knife for this.

1. Slice off the top and bottom of the fruit, just until the pinwheel of fruit is showing.

2. Remove the rind and pith from the fruit. Stand the fruit on one end and then use a sharp paring knife to remove the orange rind and the white pith. Cut off curved vertical strips.

Citrus Avocado Chicken


3. When all of the rind and white pith has been removed, you are ready to rescue that yummy meat of the orange. Using your paring knife, slip the knife between the membranes to slice out each segment. Slice along one side of the membrane and then the other until the section of orange pulp pops out.

4. Repeat this with the other orange, three limes and one grapefruit.

Citrus Avocado chicken


Third: Take the remaining membranes and squeeze the juice out of them into a small bowl, you should have about 1/2 cup of juice.

Fourth: Chop up all the ingredients that need chopping. Seed and mince two serrano chiles. Mince one white part of a green onion and one teaspoon of garlic. Finely chop 2 tablespoons of basil, and 2 tablespoons of cilantro. 

Fifth: Assemble your salsa. Cut each sections of fruit into three or four pieces, mix in a large mixing bowl with one of the serrano chiles, the white part of the green onion, one tablespoon of basil, one tablespoon of cilantro, one tablespoon of honey. Keep in the fridge until you are about one hour from serving time, then place the bowl on the counter and let the ingredients come to room temperature.

Sixth: Assemble your marinade. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of citrus zest, 1/2 cup of citrus juice, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of minced garlic, one of your chopped serrano chiles, one tablespoon of basil , one tablespoon of cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon of cumin.  Pour the marinade into a clear resealable bag and add the 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts. (I cut each of my chicken breasts into two pieces so that it would grill more evenly.)  Let the chicken marinate for 4-8 hours in the fridge, turning the bag occasionally.

Seventh: Grill the chicken. Remove the chicken from the plastic bag and put the chicken breast on a large baking sheet.  Pat the chicken with a paper towel to remove excess marinade, then brush or spray lightly with olive oil. Grill over medium heat until the juices in the chicken run clear or until the internal temperature is 165 on an instant read thermometer, about 8-12 minutes. Serve warm.

Eighth: Assemble. Add two chopped avocados to the salsa just before serving.


Citrus Avocado Chicken  (1 of 3)

Citrus Avocado Chicken - the 2nd best thing about winter
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Winter's gift to you. This takes at least four hours to marinate, so plan accordingly.
Serves: 5
  • Salsa:
  • 3 limes
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1 green onion, white part only, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Marinade:
  • 2 tablespoons citrus zest, reserved from the salsa
  • ½ cup citrus juice reserved from the salsa
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, each cut in half
  • 2 firm, ripe avocados
  • extra virgin olive oil
  1. Start by zesting, sectioning and juicing the citrus. Keep the zest, juice and sections of citrus each in a separate bowl. Chop the basil, cilantro, green onion, garlic, and serrano chile.
  2. To make the salsa: Cut each citrus section into three or four pieces. Combine in a large mixing bowl with the remaining salsa ingredients. Keep in the fridge until one hour before serving time. At that point, remove the salsa from the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
  3. To make the marinade: In a small bowl whisk together citrus zest, juice and the remaining marinade ingredients. Pour the marinade into a large resealable bag and add the chicken breasts. Get the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for 4-8 hours until ready to grill.
  4. When you are ready to grill the chicken, cut the avocados into chunks and stir into the salsa. Let the salsa sit out until ready to serve. Remove the chicken from the bag and place on a large baking sheet. Remove excess marinade with a paper towel, then lightly brush or spray with olive oil. Grill over medium heat until juices run clear or chicken registers at 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
  5. Serve warm topped with citrus salsa.

Recipe adapted from Weber’s Big Book of Grilling 

Citrus Avocado Chicken Breast

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6 thoughts on “Citrus Avocado Chicken – Winter’s Gift

  1. Your pictures especially make this look super delicious. I will have to give this recipe a try sometime! Btw, I grabbed your card at the BYBC…just finally getting around to going through the hundreds of cards I picked up. Hope you had fun at the conference!

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