Hold the Barbecue Sauce: 5-Ingredient Cajun-Spiced Grilled Chicken
Summer brings warmer temperatures, hungry kids and a lot of outdoor grilling. To get more flavor from our favorite chicken dishes, we often slather on syrupy barbecue sauces. Sure, they are tangy and delicious, but they often contain added sugar. One way to avoid all of those empty calories is to grill with Cajun seasoning and apple cider vinegar — you’ll get the balance your taste buds crave.
The warmer months are also a great time to grow your own herbs. Homegrown parsley adds a fresh, bouncy taste to our foods. Store-bought parsley will also produce good results — make sure it’s super-fresh, with no yellowing.
The fresher the parsley, the more you will want to douse, not sprinkle, it onto chicken, bringing new life to grilled meat. Liven up the leftovers for lunch the next day in a whole-wheat wrap stuffed with arugula, sugar snap peas and spicy mustard or a light vinaigrette. This is one of my favorites that can be a great weeknight option on the grill, because it has just five ingredients.
5-Ingredient Cajun-Spiced Grilled Chicken
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes; Cook Time: 10 minutes
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
1 1/8 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon canola, grapeseed or rice bran oil, plus extra for the grill
1/3 cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, leaves separated
Sprinkle the chicken on both sides with Cajun seasoning. Place the chicken in a baking dish and drizzle with vinegar and oil. Shake the pan gently to coat the chicken underneath. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight for the best flavor.
When you are ready to grill, move the chicken to the counter to take off the chill. Preheat the grill on medium-high heat, about 400 degrees F. Lightly oil the grill and place chicken on it, smooth side down. Cook until grill marks appear and chicken lifts up easily, about 4 minutes. Rotate chicken by a 45-degree angle and cook to mark, about 3 minutes. Turn to the other side and cook through, about 2 minutes. Remove from grill and top with parsley.
*Cook’s Note: To oil the grill, fold a half sheet of paper towel a few times until it is a small square. Dip one side in oil and, using grill tongs, rub the oiled paper towel on the grill in the areas where you will cook the chicken.
Per serving: Calories 170; Fat 8 g (Saturated 1 g); Cholesterol 94 mg; Sodium 250 mg; Carbohydrate 1 g; Fiber less than 1 g; Protein 23 g; Vitamin A 11% DV; Calcium 2% DV; Vitamin C 11% DV; Iron 9% DV
Michelle Dudash is a registered dietitian nutritionist, a Cordon Bleu-certified chef consultant and the author of Clean Eating for Busy Families: Get Meals on the Table in Minutes with Simple and Satisfying Whole-Foods Recipes You and Your Kids Will Love.