tequila lime chicken + green onion slaw

If it’s true that the definition of stupidity is to do something over and over again and expect different results, then I am indeed guilty as charged, because I made something for dinner last night that I know I never, ever like. Somehow I believed it would be better this time, and when it wasn’t, I proceeded to take two bites and then returned to the kitchen to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

yeah yeah

It seems unfair to blame the margarita chicken, as Alex ate it without complaint, but he’s always been the kind of boy who knows on which side his bread is buttered. Frankly, not only do I not blame the margarita chicken, I was downright jealous of it for getting to marinate for 24 hours in a freshly-squeeze, potent cocktail while I marinated in front of a flat screen monitor, shivering in an over air-conditioned low-walled cube. But in the end, I just can’t give an objective review of the recipe because guess what? I don’t like grilled, boneless skinless chicken cutlets and I never have.

I’m not sure I’ll ever understand this American obsession with them. I went out for lunch with my coworkers a few weeks ago to a restaurant that, well, is not exactly known for its innovative cuisine, and eight out of the ten lunch specials involved some form or another of grilled chicken breast. Do people like them because they really don’t taste like anything? I mean, if you slather them with enough barbeque sauce, I’ll probably forget that they have the texture and excitement of pressed sawdust. They’re also occasionally forgiven when they’re braised or cooked in a luscious sauce. But on their own, deprived over what little moisture they have left in their cells on a hot grill? I fail to see the charm, though I do understand that I’m in a distinct minority on this.

finished slaw

Onwards to something that I loved, and can actually recommend (because, well, I actually ate it) and that is Bobby Flay’s Green Onion Slaw. On the Diner’s Journal blog, Frank Bruni often asks chefs what items can always be found in their refrigerator and it occurred to me last night at least 90 percent of the time in mine you’ll probably find both green onions and some sort of half-cabbage head, tightly wrapped in clear plastic, the first because I can’t think of anything not improved by a light, springy onion flavor and the second because it keeps forever, can never be used in the first sitting and comes through in a jam if you forgot to pick up salad greens.

red cabbage for slaw

This fantastic slaw combines both of those things, but takes it one step further with serrano chiles. Now, I know what you’re thinking because I was thinking the exact same thing: “Bobby Flay, you are insane. Two serrano chiles would blow the taste buds out of the average person’s mouth. How about creating some recipes for the rest of us?” And you might even go as far as to only use one in the food processor with your green onions, mayo, olive oil and vinegar but you’d be wrong. Because this is exactly what I did, and honestly, I wished it had a little more kick. All of the other ingredients of the salad create such a comforting bed for the flavors, if you only use one, you won’t get any heat at all. You will, however, still get the loveliest of light green dressings that you may find impossible to not dip carrot sticks and other crudités into, and that counts for something. It also makes an excellent side-dish for your PB&J.

green onion dressing

Tequila Lime Chicken
Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa

1/2 cup gold tequila
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (5 to 6 limes)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh jalapeno pepper (1 pepper seeded)
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (3 cloves)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 whole (6 split) boneless chicken breasts, skin on*
Combine the tequila, lime juice, orange juice, chili powder, jalapeno pepper, garlic, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the chicken breasts. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat a grill with coals and brush the rack with oil to prevent the chicken from sticking. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, sprinkle well with salt and pepper, and grill them skin-side down for about 5 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes, until just cooked through. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover tightly and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

* I actually used boneless skinless chicken thighs; thighs because I prefer dark meat and skinless, because I was trying for something healthier. I have little doubt that this dish would be much juicier and less deserving of my complaining with the skin on.

Green Onion Slaw
Bobby Flay

My only eensy concern about this dressing below is that the next day, it looked a bit gritty. It certainly tasted as good as the first day, but didn’t look as pretty, thus if appearance is a primary concern, I’d just make the dressing right when you need it.

One more slaw suggestion: I always store my chopped cabbage and vegetables and dressing separately, mixing them a few minutes before I serve it so they don’t get watery or soggy.

1 cup green onions, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 serrano chiles
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup pure olive oil
1 head purple cabbage, finely shredded
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves

Blend green onions, vinegar, chiles, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and oil in a blender until emulsified. Place cabbage and red onions in a bowl, add the dressing and stir until combined. Fold in the cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste.

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146 comments on tequila lime chicken + green onion slaw

  1. Ah, you got one person who agrees with you! The boneless skinless chicken breast might be a great source of protein, but are pretty much a wasteland when it comes to flavor. Not sure why they are loved so much, maybe because they make a blank canvas that one can feel good about. Great looking slaw, btw!

  2. I’m with you on the chicken breasts, too.

    That slaw is jaw-dropping gorgeous. I may have to rotate that into our menus as an option to our usual red-cabbage slaw.

  3. As I sit here, marinating in my cubicle, I am totally excited by this slaw recipe. I have a head of purple cabbage sitting in my fridge at home, and green onions, and almost everything else necessary. There is something so nice about knowing you will have something exciting to eat that night, it really takes the edge off of the day – and the lcd glare.

  4. I personally love this chicken recipe, but then again I have always made it with bone-in, skin-on breasts. So yummy! We have declared it the best chicken recipe ever at our house, though one I only make during warm months because it is so good on the backyard grill. I don’t even mind sacrificing the tequila in something other than a margarita.

  5. Jelena

    I like grilled chicken (I come from a BBQ-ing family), but not in restaurants. They are plastic-like and tasteless, however on a BBQ they’re so good especially if they’ve been marinating. The chicken sounds pretty appetizing to me, so I’ll probably try this recipe on smaller scale in case I don’t like it.
    I also have a question, do you use white or gold Tequila in Margaritas? Last time I was at the Liqour Store, I stood there pondering my choices, well my parents’ choices (I am unfortunately still underage for a couple of weeks :( )
    Thanks for the slaw recipe, it really is convenient because we have most of those things in the fridge.

  6. I’m so frustrated now. I am starving and of course just because I’m starving, I checked to see what you’d updated with and I have everything for that slaw in my kitchen except the cabbage! Rip off!

    The chicken recipe does sound delightful, and I think I’ll have to try it. I do have to say that I tend to think chicken breasts are overly used, but they don’t taste that bad! I’m crazy I suppose, but I find the breast tastes best when carved from a whole roasted chicken. If the chicken is dry, its overcooked.

  7. Cathy

    Would it be better with boneless thighs? My whole family vastly prefers dark meat and I find that even boneless, the thighs stay much moister and more flavorful. It sure *sounds* like the recipe should work – and it *looks* wonderful.

  8. deb

    Sorry — forgot to mention I used boneless skinless thighs. I always cook with thighs. I prefer the dark meat for the reasons you mentioned, and I especially love their perfectly-portioned sizes. Since I’ve consider meat a “side dish,” one is just right for me. Sadly, these were still dry and unexciting. To me. My better half liked them a lot.

  9. Emily

    It may have tasted “meh”, but you make it (and everything else) look so pretty! Your photography is really beautiful. And your blog makes me laugh out loud :)

  10. Stephanie

    You may be the first person I’ve ever read about who agrees with my chicken philosophy! It simply tastes blah to me. Whenever I tell people I don’t really care for chicken, they look at me like I’ve said the most horrible words ever!

    And 9 times out of 10 I get “who doesn’t like chicken?” It’s not that I don’t like it, and refuse to eat it, there’s just absolutely nothing special about it and I’d take red meat over it anyday.

    I enjoy the occassional fried chicken, and I love wings, but never enjoy the boneless skinless no matter what it’s marinated in, or sauce it’s covered with! Thanks for being a voice of reason in this chicken obsessed world! :-) I do love purple cabbage and look forward to that recipe though!

  11. mcmug

    Hello there, great website, thanks for providing lots of delicious pictures and recipe ideas!
    One thing about chicken is… if you get organic / free-range chickens from a butcher you know and trust, the meat will be flavourful even the breasts, unlike those pale, frozen sandpaper things from the supermarket. The skin should also have much less flab (lipid content). Give it a go one day!

  12. Yup, this chicken goes on the ever growing list of recipes.

    Time for me to be serious, how do you cut up your red cabbage to get even slices? I’ve just started experiment with this wonderful veggie but I keep cutting myself or having a cabbage shower on my floor. Or on the cat, because she’s weaving between my legs…which is usually how I end up cutting myself.

  13. deb

    Thanks for the nice photo comments!

    Hear, hear Stephanie.

    mcmug — This is organic free range. It’s an improvement but nothing will make me love grilled cutlets.

    Jenifer — This one was smallish so I cut it in half through the stem, cut little bevels to get the stem out (Alex salts and eats it, goofball), and then just put it on its flat surface and cut as thin as I could. Food processor works as well (shredding blade), but I didn’t feel like having even more dishes!

    Jelena — Right now we have gold stuff at home, but I’d get whatever you like. Personally, I love the white stuff for sippin’, but um, I’m a total lush.

  14. Abbey

    I know what you mean about chicken breasts, BUT… in my experience, a few key things can make the difference between a piece of tasteless sawdust and a succulent, juicy, flavorful piece of chicken. First of all, if you get organic or free-range chickens from a good butcher, you’ll be surprised at how much more flavor there is! Second, if you try brining the chicken first (soaking the meat in a salty brine for an extended period of time before cooking, you’ll be amazed at how much moisture is retained in even the driest piece of poultry. Third, and most important (in my humble opinion) is how fast or slow you cook them! Nothing will dry out a chicken breast faster than quickly cooking it over high heat! Low, slow heat is totally the way to go. If you cook a brined, organic, free-range chicken breast slowly over low, moist heat and then still feel the need to abandon it for a PB&J sandwich… well… then I give up! ;-)

  15. I’ll go or thighs or leg quarters any day of the week before I buy breast meat. Even our ground chicken isn’t “all white meat”.

    The slaw looks great, too. Not *quite* the season for it here yet, but getting there.

  16. I’m with Abbey on all her points, especially the last line!

    I enjoy chicken but it is used entirely too much and often with disastrous results. I don’t get why so many people GO OUT for chicken! Go out and eat something you wouldn’t make at home. It’s like going to a wine bar and drinking J.Lohr

    Your photos are lovely as always. And I still think highly of your culinary skills despite your dislike for chicken. We all have stuff like that, me…it’s mushrooms. Bleah

  17. Celeste

    I don’t like chicken (the dark meat, the fat, the skin, the bones) and those flavorless boneless, skinless breasts are a way for me to deal with it. To me they are a way to put cheap, high quality protein into a recipe. I suppose some would say the same about tofu cubes, but I object to the texture. There’s an idea–eat tofu for a few days and see if the boneless breasts don’t seem to have more flavor! LOL

  18. I actually don’t like chicken either- it’s tasteless and I can’t stand the texture, and if you’v ever spent anytime on a farm, you’ll realize chickens are the dirtiest animals. The only reason for the few chicken recipes on my site is that my mother loves it and I always cook it for her when I visit, partly as a learning exercise for myself.

  19. Patricia

    Admittedly, I like chicken, but I had trouble with Ina Garten’s recipe too – something about the ingredients of that marinade did diabolical things to the meat. It sounded so good though, that I had to try again, and I found that a twenty minute bath in the tequila mix at room temperature (surely no bacteria would dare grow in all that tequila and citrus??) gave it plenty of flavor without the sawdust effect.

    I recently found your site through Simply Recipes, and I love it – I’m a total fan!!

  20. Rose Marie

    I just might have to break down and go to the liquor store because I keep no liquor in the house. I am ready to “dust off” the grill. The slaw looks wonderful.
    Honey-child y’all just don’t realize that chicken should have it’s skin on and be fried light and crispy. I will buy naked chicken but for me you just can’t beat good ole fried chicken.

  21. Wow all these chicken haters!

    I like the white skinless breasts because of the health reasons. They usually come out quite tasty and juicy when we grill them outside, but inside or at most restaurants they are really gross. I don’t like red meat though, and I know a ton of people do.

    I might try this recipe, it sounds good to me!

  22. C

    Every time I make grilled chicken I have such high aspirations, but I always end up with a dried-out bland piece of meat that makes me wonder why I bothered to go through the trouble. A few days ago I tried making jerk chicken from a recipe in the latest Cooking Light, and it was such a disappointment (though a warning sign should have been the marinade, which was onion-heavy and barely had any brown sugar in it, to make it lower in calories I suppose. Needless to say, it didn’t end up tasting like jerk chicken at all, but I heartily endorse the mashed plantains recipe alongside it). Restaurants usually can’t get grilled chicken right either, for some reason.

    It’s a shame, because grilled chicken breasts can be really good if done right, and they’re a great source of lean protein and nice to toss on salads and such. I swear, the next time I move I’m getting a place with some sort of yard or at least a balcony, and I’m exchanging this godawful George Forman grill for a real grill! Then I should be able to grill some good chicken.

  23. Well I think it looks amazing. But I agree, if you are going to eat meat, you may as well go for tri-tip steak, fish or Lamb. Yum. The margarita sauce did nothing for it? Oh well. Weather permitting, we might be BBQing on Sunday again! See ya.

  24. M

    I’m surpised at the number of chicken haters. All I can say is that most of you must be cooking it wrong! When cooked on the grill (real grill, not the George), just right, chicken is very juicy and flavorful, even if its only seasoned lightly. Put it with some mashers or even roasted baby red potatoes, it’s a yumm easy dinner. But hey, to each his own! :)

  25. This is a completely random observation unrelated to chicken or this entry, but I was in Barnes & Noble yesterday and they were featuring a book on James Dean and he looks just like Alex. I saw it and kept trying to figure out why I thought I had met this person who I clearly had not, and realized that he just looks a lot like Mr. Smitten.

  26. Nan

    I live in Yuma and well the closeest to free range here is a occasional buzzard! I came from a home of southern cooking and there is nothing that can touch my dads fried chicken lol ,sigh, he did not leave me the recipe, but my faithfull cousin gave me the family secret and I have done it for years, to all my poultry, you got to brine, salt water adds flavor and takes all the blood close to the bone out, that way you do not have to over cook to get it done to the bone, I do my turkeys the same way in a lined cooler. I found a website from some guy in the south a “leslie” someone that gave you a step by step for flavorful chicken, I have used his method of marinating, and squeezing while frying to cut down on cooking time and now my chicken is sought by all my friends. I agree that restauraunts over use and celebrate the breasted beast, it is usually predone, frozen and overcooked, not for me either. I will try not to convert you because I know you are open minded, and I have tried the tequila chicken thing, it was bitter and disappointing. I might try this again as this recipe looks interesting. Love your blob

  27. Lisa

    I’m with you on grilled chicken. Grilling always seems to dry chicken out, and I don’t like dry chicken (or turkey). It’s awful. And I am not a BBQ sauce or hot sauce person so if it’s dry, I have nothing to put on it to make it palatable.

    I actually cook my turkey upside down (breast down) so the juice from the dark meat gets into the white meat. Makes for a juicy bird breast to back.

    My husband is the complete opposite, he likes his poultry bone dry. But I still love him.

  28. Yvo

    I am the same way. I have then hopes for recipes which sound delicious but contain ingredients or methods/foods that I don’t really enjoy and then I get annoyed “why did I make this, and now I have to eat leftovers???” Case in point, I made ginger-something the other night and I was just eh about it.

    The slaw looks lovely though! Can I substitute jalapenos (it’s what I have)? I mean, what’s the heat ratio, I’m not really into spicy stuff so I don’t know the ‘conversion’ rate…

  29. Val

    Yay. I feel vindicated. There are people out there who feel the same way about chicken that I do. When I share entrees with my husband, every single time, I have to remind him that I don’t like chicken. He just doesn’t understand it. He, like almost everyone else, thinks “what’s not to like about chicken.” Chicken IS often textured like sawdust and is really not all that flavorful, unless it has been masterfully roasted and is piping hot. Nothing new to add, just my gratitude.

  30. My mother used to cook chicken so much, that for several Christmas in a row, my family got her chicken cookbooks as a gag gift. As in, oh, haha, how could there possibly be any more chicken recipes than we have tried in this house? Luckily, I overcame my chicken fatigue. I don’t like the boneless skinless for two reasons – 1) it’s too expenseive and 2) it’s too dry. I tend to cook things with the skin on and then yank the skin off if I don’t want to eat it…cooking it skin-on retains the moisture.

    I’ve been on a Mexican food kick, myself, although more of a California Mexican than genuine…I made some guacamole last night that just about made me melt. It was just what I needed after a crazy day and a crazy week.

    Please, keep up with your Mexican food fetish – I like this!

  31. I hate the texture of chicken breasts as well. My mother made them for every meal, I swear and they never tasted any different. In fact, sometimes, when I get a maybe-too-big-for-my-mouth bite of chicken breast, my gag reflexes kick in and the chicken must leave my mouth by a more rapid method than swallowing. Yuck.

  32. Jessica

    I just wanted you to know that we were barbequing over at a friend’s last night and they cooked italian-seasoned chicken breasts and for the first time, I COULD NOT ENJOY IT! I started thinking about the texture, the lack of moisture and flavor. And the whole time, I thought about this post…

  33. What annoys me about the boneless, skinless chicken breasts is that they’re “supposed” to be healthier. Please. I’m waiting for the whole stupid low-fat thing to just go away, so we can start enjoying our food again. It’s been proven time and again that low-fat was a failure; bring back the skin-on chicken!

    And yours looks yummy, skinless or not :)

  34. Hey Deb –
    I’ve not been on your blog since moving Colorado…until last week and then you weren’t even around!!! Though Jocelyn’s posts were funny, I realized how much I missed yours.

    Anywho, I’ll jump on the grilled-yuck-chicken bandwagon…personally, I prefer the chicken thigh, much more moist and tasty, a little fat goes a long way, and way cheaper than the pseudo-healthy naked chicken breasts.

    Regardless, welcome back and those margarita cookies look fantastic – I’m so making those!

    – L

  35. I hear you on chicken breasts. It’s popular because people think it’s healthier than other meats.

    WHen it comes to chicken, nothing’s more fun than a plate full of wings, or bone-in chicken. With the skin too, BRING IT.

    Otherwise, it’s just boring.

  36. Hurrah for you! They really are practically useless. There’s nothing made with chicken breasts that doesn’t taste better made with thighs, I believe.

    I could happily marinate in Margarita for at least an hour.

  37. Tori

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.
    I’m sure that that doesn’t make you feel any better about your chicken, but that slaw makes me have a longing for hot summer days.

  38. Karla

    Okay you can NEVER go wrong with Ina’s recipes – especially the Tequila Lime Chicken. It’s our favorite grilled chicken recipe! YUM.

  39. ann

    Chicken cutlets are the Michael Bolton of the chicken world. Some people inexplicably love both of them. However, chicken thighs are the Jonathan Rhys Meyers of the chicken world, some people don’t like them, and I don’t want to know those people!
    I’ll have to try that slaw. If there’s one thing Bobby knows its dressings and sauces. And I am shocked (shocked!) that there’s no honey in this dressing! I thought he put it in everything! sorry about the margarita chicken disappointment deb. next time use dines farms chicken thighs, they, just like JRM shirtless, are to die for ;-)

  40. Laura

    I agree with you about chicken breast. They always seems to be dry and flavorless unless coated in a ton of butter, olive oil , or soaked in brine. Chicken thighs came out juicier and full of flavor. I opt for chicken breast that are kosher, or brined if they are necessary for a dish.

  41. Laziza

    I used the marinade, but for tilapia instead of chicken, which was then grilled. It was great, and I’m using leftovers in a salad today. (I’ve actually never come across a bad Ina Garten recipe. Have you tried her panzanella? Amazing.) The slaw was DELICIOUS. I didn’t like the leftovers of that, though. The grittiness you mention, combined with the wilted cabbage and some sort of weird aftertaste. I think next time I’m just going to have to mix it in small, as-needed batches. But THANK YOU for both these recipes.

  42. I know I’m in the minority, but I prefer BSCB. I figured out that I dont like any strong flavored foods. I dont enjoy blue cheese, dark chicken or tuna, salmon( except lox), kalmata olives, etc. I guess I’m a supertaster!! I always brine my chicken breasts and they’re never dry.

  43. I don’t mine grilled chicken breasts but I like Margaritas better so I would drink the margarita marinade and after that was done I could care less about whether the chicken was good or not :)

  44. I tried the Tequila Lime Chicken recipe last and and really loved it! Of course I made some changes to the recipe and had a couple bottles of wine + scotch + cigars with friends and now I can’t remember what the hell I cooked last night. But it started with this recipe…and ended up with a tequila lime bbq-ish sauce that went on top of the Tequila Lime Chicken. Next time, I should carry a tape recorder with me in the kitchen before I start drinking.

  45. Jessica

    So…..the chicken looked fabulous. I thought it tasted a little too much like tequila. But it looked good! Might try the same recipe with other forms of alcohol as suggested above.

  46. pascale

    have you ever seen stardust memories, that woody allen movie? your distaste for chicken cutlets reminds me of this line woody’s got.. “my mother was too busy running the boiled chicken through the deflavorizing machine to think about shooting herself or anything”

  47. Julia

    My husband and I love tequila and we have tried many many kinds. This recipe was a great way to use up some half-empty bottles kicking around that didn’t quite make the taste cut for straight sipping. I used Espolon Reposado. Cutlet Controversy aside, we both thought the dish turned out as an A+. The slaw was an outstanding side for both the palate and the eyes. Didn’t have serrano chiles so I used a couple of jalepenos. Fantastic!

  48. Letitia

    I’ve made this chicken recipe a few times before. (The smell of the boozy citrusy marinade makes it tempting drink it but of course that problem is solved as soon as you see raw chicken breasts floating around in the mix!)

    Anyways, to add to the boring chicken discussion…instead of eating it on its own, I shred the chicken and then put it into fajitas. I usually mix with corn, black beans, minced jalapeno and then lots of cheese.

  49. Lindsey

    …I made this tonight, along with the Hoisin Riblets- I added some thinly sliced apples in for good measure. Along with a touch of ginger and a squeeze of orange to make it a little more complicated (because I rarely enjoy doing things simply, go figure) and to compliment the ribs… and I gotta say….

    I am utterly in-love with you (but don’t tell my boyfriend). You take all the hard part of trying to fish out recipes which makes my life a lot easier.


  50. I made the cabbage slaw tonight and served it with a super-lazy-but-always-juicy rotisserie chicken. The slaw was great (and I used both chiles!) and spicy but needed something sweeter to balance it. Bobby Flay knew what he wanted to pair it with, that’s for sure.

  51. Sarah

    I made this last night and it was amazing! I made a few little changes that gave it a lot of flavor. I actually baked the chicken in the marinade for 25 minutes at 400. Then I took it out and drained it, added some shredded monteray jack and crushed tortilla chips to the top, and put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes. The chicken was really tender and juicy, and it really absorbed the lime flavor!

  52. Liz

    I’m so sad that I can’t make this. I live in a dorm and they’d freak out about me bringing alcohol in :(
    The plights of being a underage college student. Can’t even make tequila chicken.

  53. Jay

    I am thinking of making this for a holiday party but using the drumette and flat parts of the wing. Has anyone tried this? If so, how much chicken did you use for one batch.

  54. deb

    Hi Jay — Not exactly scientific, but I’d look in the store for the approximate weight of this much chicken… perhaps a pound and a half per breast, so like 4.5 pounds? … and then swap with that weight of the chicken parts you want to use. I am sure it will turn out great.

  55. Stacey

    I am totally with you on the chicken breasts- I thought I was the only one! I actually use chicken thighs for practically any recipe that calls for chicken of any kind, and always get great results (knock on wood). They’re so much more flavourful and don’t dry out. Bonus: don’t know about in the US, but in the UK thighs are a lot cheaper than breasts.

  56. pam

    oh goodness…this slaw has become a staple in my house. i use it with fish tacos or sometimes i use it with nothing. i just eat it all by itself. all day long.

    i added lime to the recipe just for a little twist and also found that the lime reinvigorates the flavors the day after. also…i doubled the serranos to 4 and wow oh wow! my mouth begs for mercy but i refuse to give in. great stuff!

  57. Beth

    Oh man, I am planning on making this slaw tonight and was reading through the comments real quick to see if anyone had any good pointers…and I am cracking up at Nan (#29) because she says, “Love your blob”. Am I really that immature that I have to leave this as a comment? I am. I am indeed.

    Anyway, Deb, I love your blob, too. In the past week, I’ve made about 4 recipes from Smitten Kitchen and I always spread the good word with food-lovers that I meet along my way. Thank you!

  58. Greg

    WOW, I made the slaw and what a hit it was. There certainly is some heat, as I saw several people wiping their brow while enjoying it. But I never saw anyone turn down a second helping. Thanks for the recipe.

  59. eliina

    Boyfriend and I had a lovely head of cabbage in our CSA share this week. I’ve always been a coleslaw hater (mostly from memories of cafeteria-style, flavorless, mayonnaise soaked versions), but I had a feeling that I would find a lighter more flavorful version on your site. I was right! This was great. We used greek yogurt in place of the mayo and it was fantastic. I’ll definitely be trying one of your other coleslaw recipes in coming weeks.

  60. John

    Love the “blob” as Olive ( used to call them. I too am not a great fan of the chicken breast – in most forms. But, they are a necessary evil in some cases. So I’ve found that pounding them a little bit (to about a man’s-thumb thickness) makes them more tender and, somehow, more moist. I don’t know the science behind pounding, but it does make for a better result. BTW, this seems to work best for the really thick breasts.

  61. Ok, I loved the chicken! However, I was a complete space case while shopping, and when my husband decided to be sweet and do the marinade I realized I had forgotten the oranges and was a lime short. We worked it out with some lemon, some Grand Marnier and a touch of simple.

    One other thing, do you recommend a mandoline for the slaw-cuttin’? Mine seemed a bit thick. Tasty, tho! You were spot-on about my reaction to the pepper to aioli ratio- which at once cracked me up and reassured me about making it, and glad I did. Delicious. Thanks for the recipe!

  62. Nina

    Oh no! This is my favorite chicken recipe ever! I make it with boneless/skinless chicken breast because I can’t be bothered with the bone but I pound the chicken flat like a schnitzel and pan fry it.
    I actually hate chicken but was ordered by my doctor to up my protein intake and this is the only way I’ll eat it. Its even better cold out of the fridge.
    And i use the cheapest tequila because you can taste it better.

  63. Gayle

    Made both recipes tonight…loved the freshness of all the ingredients! Will definitely be making this again as we approach Summer in SoCal!

  64. Christi

    we made this a few weeks ago
    I wouldn’t have thought tequila would help boost the flavor of chicken as much as it did compared to a plain ol’ citrus marinade.
    The leftovers made were delicious in burritos and chicken salad.

  65. Joanne

    I made the tequila-lime chicken with bone-in, skin-on breasts, baked them in the oven instead of grilling. The chicken was really moist and had a nice flavor. I wouldn’t say it’s the best thing I’ve ever eaten, but it was perfectly fine and the texture was good. We shredded it onto a spinach salad with pistachios, cheese, tomatoes and a few crushed corn chips. I boiled a bit of the marinade and added sour cream for the salad dressing. Was pretty tasty…

  66. veda

    too bad – I wasn’t very impressed with the slaw. with two serranos it certainly had a kick but there wasn’t much else going on, flavor-wise. maybe the addition of something sweet to balance it out, or a couple other types of veg to make it more interesting. pure olive oil helps with moisture but not with taste.

  67. I just made the green onion slaw, with a few changes— I added a touch of shredded carrot, radish, and used white onion instead of red. the cabbage is still the star, and the dressing is to die for! I substituted jalapeños because I like their “green” flavour.
    I will be enjoying it in my backyard this evening with my partner, along with some grilled beef kebabs and beers. perfect summer food!

    PS: the extra dressing made a stunning tuna sandwich!

  68. Sunny

    The vinegar in the slaw is great! I didn’t think I would like it very well, but it turns out perfectly. I was really impressed! Thanks for the ideas and the pictures– good pictures always make for an easy dish.

  69. diana

    Deb, this is my favorite slaw, and I use it all the time. Terrific on tacos instead of other greens!

    My additions include: some shredded carrots and jicama. It really can’t be beat.


  70. Katey

    Made the slaw with some jerk chicken and I wished I enjoyed it more. We found it to be WAY too oniony. Loved the dressing so next time I’ll omit red onions and try jicama like someone else and maybe some green apple for fun.

  71. Katie

    I love this slaw (especially with the black bean tacos!), but every time I make it I end up having a huge amount. I’m hoping to cut it all down and I bought a smallish head of purple cabbage, but now I’m not sure as to the proportions. I can always just halve the other ingredients, but I was wondering if you (or any of the commenters) happened to know about how many cups of shredded purple cabbage the original amount made? I read somewhere that one head of cabbage yielded 10 cups shredded, but I’m not sure if that’s accurate.
    I love your blog – thanks!

  72. I am with you – yesterday at Costco, I almost got the frozen bag of chicken breasts, but I stopped myself. I am a thigh girl. But I made your barbecued brisket last night, and I’m going to make the coleslaw because I am trying for a San Patricio’s Day vibe. Thanks!

  73. Betsy

    The grill is heating up for the chicken, and the slaw just has to be assembled, but I wanted to comment before I forgot – I drastically reduced the amount of peppers in the dressing, and added a bit (maybe 1-1.5 tsp?) of honey, and I LOVE it. Excited for dinner tonight :)

  74. Hillary

    I lovelovelove this green onion slaw! Uses kitchen staples, heats up your mouth not your kitchen, and I’ve even made it with delicate fish tacos and it’s always delish. Thanks Deb!

  75. BR

    Made the chicken last night with boneles, skinless cb and I thought it was good, I only had about 3 hours to marinate but it turned out tasty. I boiled the leftover marinade for basting. Will definitely make it again.

  76. Diana

    Finally I’m leaving a comment. I make this recipe regularly for tacos. I add grated carrot and jicama, and truly, it makes the meal.

    My boyfriend and I have joked about including this in our fantasy pub menu (that we plot often to open) …it’s SO good!

  77. Amy

    So happy to find this recipe—I had a head of cabbage in the fridge, vast quantities of green onions and hot peppers and cilantro in the garden, and all the other ingredients in the pantry. It was delish. On a whim, I added 1 cup of defrosted, shredded, raw frozen zucchini that I am trying to get rid of (from last year’s garden overabundance) and upped the other ingredients to compensate. The zucchini disappeared right into the dressing (which is all I want from my extra zucchini, to make it disappear!). Yum yum yum.

  78. Kimber

    We had the green onion slaw with the southwestern brisket as suggested. Although the flavours were quite a good combination, I cannot begin to describe how much our eyes watered from the green onion dressing! It was quite funny actually, I had mascara leaking down my face! However, my family ate several soft tortillas each, filled with the pulled beef and the slaw.

  79. Kimber

    Ha ha ha! As usual, I did not read the recipe carefully enough! I put the red onion in the blender too to make the dressing for the slaw. No wonder it was so strong! Jeepers!

  80. Tyrese

    I’m in love with your blog…so much so I typically use a recipe from it once a week. Today I made this slaw with the brisket (which is still cooking) and i agree with some of the other folks about it needing something sweet to balance it out, so I added a tablespoon of sugar and it was perfect. I am also not so good with spice and since the brisket has chilis, I decided to omit the serreano chilis and red onions. I’m excited for dinner tonight!

  81. Laura

    Made the slaw + chicken tonight; agreed that the dressing needed a kick: added quite a bit of lime juice. Also felt it needed a nuttiness to balance it out, so I went for tahini but could’ve alternatively enjoyed toasted almonds. Great site, I love trying your recipes.

  82. Sonja

    Chicken was wonderful, fortunately I had everything on hand, but only marinated it 3 hours b4 cooking it. I made cilantro lime rice as a side dish. Was great. I did not have the slaw ingredients on hand, I just bought all the ingredients for the slaw and can’t wait to try it. Passed this onto a friend, she was making the entire meal, she said the dressing for the slaw was awesome, but was waiting for the chicken to come off the grill for the full experience.
    Will make it tomorrow and marinate it for the full 24 hours and make the slaw on Friday. I’m gonna try adding Serrano peppers as well the jalapenos to the recipe, I like hot.
    I’ve gotten so bored with chicken but this one is a keeper.
    Is there a way to put this on pinterest?.

    1. deb

      Hi Sonja — Glad you liked the recipe. There’s a “Pin this” option when you’ve got the full recipe open at the bottom of the post, before the comments begin. I hope you find it easy to use!

  83. Sequoia Neff

    I just have to say… I have basically started reading this blog from the beginning and I am loving every bit of it. And now! You’re so not alone in the chicken – non love! The generic chicken breast is probably my least favorite of all meats. SO, with that in mind, I can’t wait to keep reading and finding more recipes that I DO love, because I have already tried one (your newest garlicky broccoli rabe pasta) and loved it! And I can’t wait to try many many more.

  84. just made this tonight – the colors are so pretty!
    should it be “white wine vinegar” though? i used red wine (balsamic) vinegar and my dressing was nowhere near green :P

    i substituted some of the mayonnaise for sour cream. next time i think i’ll try “pickling” the red cabbage and onion in salt for a little while, discard the extra water, then add the dressing.

  85. deb

    Usually, red wine vinegars are a pale pink so it shouldn’t have a big effect on color with all of that green stuff in there. Balsamic can be very dark, almost black.

  86. Renee

    I agree completely about chicken breasts. It is so nice to know I am not alone in finding nothing particularly redeeming about them. Can I extend that to any form of turkey breast? The slaw does look tasty, though.

  87. Rita Malenczyk

    You’re not a minority on the chicken breast. I always use thighs. BTW, for a FABULOUS recipe to try, check out Ken Hom’s book East/West Cuisine (not sure if it’s the exact title)–Grilled Mustard Chicken Thighs. You marinate them in mustard, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, scallions and grill. One of my favorite things of ALL TIME. PS: I love your blog and your recipes, and I think your writing is wonderful. And I’m an English professor. So there!

  88. Katie C

    You and Ina have the best recipes! It’s hard to get boneless skinless chicken to be flavorful, but this recipe actually works! I’m sad that it disappointed you. I used chicken tenderloins and chipotle chili powder because that’s all I had, and they were delicious! Next time, I will use slightly less tequila (just a little overpowering). This is a flavorful, healthy recipe that I will definitely make again!

  89. Paula T

    I will try the Tequila Lime Chicken with wings! Have an idea to do a large batch and try a flash freeze technique, freeze and have for quick meal later. Like Tyson! Ha Ha, will let you know of my experience. Think the flavor would be great on wings!

  90. Meg

    Made this slaw several times, once to go in fish tacos and another time to bring to a Fourth of July potluck, where it was raved about. I’d never thought I was a coleslaw person, but this is just so spicy and green and delicious, it’s becoming one of my go-to summer dishes.

  91. rachel

    I’ve never cooked or made a meal with peppers before. Do I seed them? Cut off the top or just throw the whole thing in the blender?? Thanks!

  92. Aubrey


    I don’t drink alcohol, could you tell me what I can replace the tequila in this recipe with? Or do you just have an easy rule of thumb for replacing alcoholic ingredients in all of your recipes so I don’t have to ask on every one of them?

  93. Roz

    If someone doesn’t grill (apartment/condo living; simply don’t own one; hate the taste of charcoal, etc.) there is always oven roasting. I think all grilling recipes should be accompanied by a roasting option. A thigh girl myself, what temperature and what time would you suggest for an oven roast?

  94. erik

    I was just introduced to your blog the other day. I have to agree 100% about the chicken breast.

    However I have to disagree on the recipe in general…it sounds delicious, and very similar to my own recipe which I call THUNDER THIGHS because of the amazing flavor. You may have guessed, but one thing makes ALL the difference…BONELESS SKINLESS THIGHS.

    Jut thought you may want to give it a try.

  95. Susanne

    Hi Deb, I am a native of the Buffalo, NY area (now living in Idaho) who desperately misses what is known as Chiavetta’s Barbeque Marinade. It seems to be the only place in the country that knows about it, but I am sure that there must be other people using something similar, because it is just that good! I broke down and ordered some online, to the tune of nearly $10 for a quart (including shipping) which is simply too much to pay for sauce when the ingredient list consists of vinegar, salt, spices, fresh garlic and xanthan gum. Anyone who has traveled to Western NY in the summer, will probably have experienced, or at least seen a Chiavetta’s BBQ fundraiser sign in front of one of the local churches there because they all have one. The aroma wafting through the air is irresistible! I am pretty sure that if you were to taste the marinade (if you haven’t already) you could probably figure out the spices fairly quick. Please help me figure out how to make this sauce!

  96. Maggie

    Happy Holidays Deb,

    Just a note to thank you for the slaw recipe, which I make at least once a year with the southwest brisket. Delicious!

  97. EL

    I’m not sure why people grill chicken. Personally I like it baked in an oven over a bed of rice (skin and bones in). Despite all the suggestions given above and even with marinating, it does tend to dry out on the grill. I even had one that I baked today and it was dry. They just don’t make chickens like they used to. . .

  98. stephanie

    this recipe happens to be on barefoot contessa right now, so i thought i’d revisit this post. i’ve actually never made the chicken, but i make the slaw all the time and it’s so good! (i don’t seed the peppers at all, and put the cilantro into the dressing because i’m lazy and it’s one less thing to chop by hand. i also don’t use any oil. i forgot once and liked it just fine and never looked back.)

    anyway, her show made me want to try the chicken. i know you’ve come a long way on chicken since this post, have you ever gone back and tried this recipe again? my one big question is the marinating time – citrus tends to “cook” raw chicken and change the texture…i always wondered if maybe this affected your feelings about it in the first place? the meat gets kind of white and you can see it develop a mushy/stringy texture. would a shorter marinating time work, or is this recipe just one you’d like to put behind you?

  99. Lara

    made this as a side dish for mozzarella-filled potato schnitzels. super yummy and fairly easy. Tweaked the dressing with some agave syrup, which gave it a lovely something extra. thanks for the recipe!

    1. dana

      I’m no expert, but I’ve substituted green cabbage for red cabbage and it’s always turned out well. It’s just not as bright and pretty as the red. =)

  100. Jennifer

    Why don’t you just make it with chicken thighs if you don’t like breast meat? I mean, I like to complain like the next guy, but I don’t know why you can’t make the recipe with a combination of both meats and please everyone.

  101. Bea

    Planning to make the slaw and after reading your comments, was wondering if you removed the seeds from the serranos? Trying to imagine how 2 serranos with seeds can’t be too spicy. Thank you!!

  102. OMG. Dash the Texan originality discussion, the brisket is super yummy and I am glad I made the sauce with just one chile en adobo although we normally eat quite spicy. Luckily, I remembered there are two toddlers to feed too…. Slaw and brisket are prepped for tomorrows lunch, our pickles are maturing in the fridge and we can hardly wait to ‘officially’ (in opposite to, uhh, let’s have another taste before we go to bed) tuck in.

    1. Terri

      This question may sound gross, but if I plan on making the chicken recipe again the following week, can I freeze the marinade after using it once to reuse?

  103. cynthia

    The recipe calls for green onions. Do you mean chives(that’s what they look like) or do you mean scallions. I’d like to make this for a party July 4th. Thank you Deb!

  104. sue f

    I love Barefoot Contessa but Tequila Lime Chicken is not one of my favorites. I don’t think it adds much to the chicken and sometimes gives it a funny taste.
    The slaw looks great, I will definitely try it!

  105. CK

    I’m always looking for salad dressings that keep for a while so I can make dressing once a week to go with that night’s salad. Do you think this dressing would keep? It looks fantastic.

  106. Andrew Lage

    Would you marinate the chicken after you’ve grilled it? I’ve made your grilled chicken recipe countless times that calls for a marinade after cooking. What do you think?