Chicken, CONDIMENTS, Food, Recipes, Sauces

Spicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde

Spicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit Penso

This fresh and tasty dish is quick and easy to prepare, making it perfect for a hot summer day lunch.

Salsa Verde is a tangy green sauce from the Mexican cuisine. It has many variations; some are raw, in some the tomatillos and pepper are roasted first, while others are cooked with added liquids. The texture can also vary from coarse to smooth.
In the version I have here I chose to process the ingredients coarsely and to cook the salsa briefly, so it will have a fresher taste and a somewhat crispy texture. You can choose how to prepare it according to your preferences, as long as you’ll be using the ingredients all the varieties have: tomatillos, jalapeno pepper, onion, garlic and cilantro.

My commitment to the Mexican cuisine ended when it came to the spices for the chicken, as I got some fresh Hungarian sweet and hot paprika which I wanted to experiment with. Here again, you can use your own spice blend or a good quality store bought chili powder mix, or Cajun spice mix.

As it was a fairly small quantity of chicken, I decided to prepare it using a panini grill pan with a metal press. I heated both first, which enabled cooking the chicken quickly and evenly from both sides. The metal press helped with creating beautiful grill marks on the bottom, which also added a subtle smoky flavor. If you don’t have such a pan, obviously any grill or frying pan can be used instead. In this case, you’ll need to turn the tenders while cooking and prolong the cooking time to 10-12 minutes.
Whichever way you’ll decide to make this dish, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the results.

Makes: 2
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
For the chicken:
1 lb (450 grams) chicken tenders
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs sweet paprika
½ tsp hot paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp cumin powder
1 Tbs olive oil
A few drops hot sauce to taste
For the salsa Verde:
1 garlic clove, roughly cut
1 small onion, roughly cut
½ jalapeno pepper
A handful of cilantro
3-4 tomatillos, cut into large chunks
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
For serving:
Fresh tortillas, lightly toasted
Sour cream

1. The chicken: in a small bowl, mix the chicken tenders with the spices and olive oil. Cover and set aside.
Spicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit PensoSpicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit Penso
2. The salsa: place the garlic, onion, jalapeno pepper, cilantro and tomatillos in a small food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process coarsely and transfer to a small pot. Add the salt, black pepper and olive oil. Mix and cook over medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes (or longer, if you prefer the salsa more cooked), mixing occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Cool to room temperature.
Spicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit PensoSpicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit Penso Spicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit PensoSpicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit Penso Spicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit PensoSpicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit Penso
3. Place the grill pan and with the press, on medium-high heat. Once the pan and press are hot, carefully remove the press and add the chicken tenders, in one layer. Place the hot metal press on top and cook for 4-5 minutes. If you’re using regular grill or pan, cooking time will be about 10 minutes, turning the tenders halfway. Serve immediately, with the tortillas, sour cream and salsa.
Spicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit PensoSpicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit Penso Spicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit PensoSpicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit Penso Spicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit PensoSpicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit PensoSpicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde Ronit Penso

86 thoughts on “Spicy Chicken Tenders with Salsa Verde”

  1. Now you’re talkin’! ;-> Strange as it seems, I have never cooked or experimented at all with tomatillos even though we have them in abundance here. I guess I never really investigated the possibilities (slothful ways!), but these ideas resonate hereabouts. I got one once because I like the looks of it as a photographic subject, but after a few weeks of posing for me, it had deteriorated past the point of usefulness as an ingredient.

    I have a stove-top grill panini thingy like that, but haven’t used it much since I got the Cuisinart Oven Central. It isn’t the same procedure, so I should drag it out and heat it up.

    Your recipes always inspire me to do more!

    Virtual hugs,


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Judie, I’m glad you’ve found this motivating.
      I can’t say I use tomatillos as often as I do with tomatoes, but I do love using them on occasion, especially for this sauce.
      As for the panini pan, I didn’t use it much since I bought it, as it turned out I’m not into making panini too often! But now I use it often to prepare chicken, so it wasn’t such a bad investment after all. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

              1. I found them at the farmers market! Tomatillos… I can’t believe I never noticed them before. And best of all, your salsa verde recipe was a big hit here! Thank you so much for sharing. I am sure I have eaten this sauce before (at a small family-run restaurant in Tucson) years ago and I had loved it. Now I know what it is and how to make it!!!

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Thank you Annika, for this lovely update. I’m so glad to hear you’ve found tomatillos and enjoyed the recipe.
                  That’s the fun in reading other blogs – learning about new ingredients and different cuisines. We learn something new every day. 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

      1. Pretty much how I bake boneless skinless chicken breasts and thighs..

        I Preheat my little convection toaster oven to 450 F , lightly coat chicken with oil and seasoning and bake for the first 15 minutes of cook time based on weight.. Then turn down the temp to 350 for the remainder of time left.. Moist and tender.. works like a dream every time 😊
        Other meats depending on cut, bone or skin is baked/roasted the same method with some temp adjustment for type..

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The Salsa Verde looks fab – I can smell it 🙂 – and spiced chicken as well! You know, I noticed the post last night, in the middle of night but didn’t read it. Cos as always, yours appetise me a lot! Very dangerous!! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I recently made a basic salsa with tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, onion, cilantro, and lime; but I’ve never made Salsa Verde. This recipe looks wonderful. I made have to give it a try.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is my kind of a meal Ronit and a great idea to use a “green sauce”. I made my first sauce using tomatillos in a Mexican cooking class a couple of years ago – normally I have just bought it already made. The seasonings sound wonderful 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is my kind of meal, Ronit. It looks delicious! I use my panini press to cook small amounts of chicken too… it’s done in no time at all and doesn’t up my kitchen to uncomfortable levels. Salsa verde has always been my salsa of choice…I love the flavor of tomatillos. I’ll have to compare your recipe to the one I use (I grow tomatillos and can salsa verde)…mine could use some updating! Thanks for sharing another yummy recipe!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We’re traveling down the same path, Ronit. I made a similar dish for lunch yesterday. I used leftover roasted chicken for mine. Next time, I’ll borrow a page from your blog and prepare chicken tenders as you’ve done. They sound delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

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