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Herby Grilled Chicken

Updated: 8/14/21 1:00 amPublished: 8/26/19
By Catherine Newman

By Catherine Newman

Makes: 4 servings

Total carbohydrates: 3 grams per serving

Hands-on time: 30 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

At some point I stopped marinating chicken because, honestly? You get the most flavor from a marinade if you put it on the chicken after it’s cooked. I don’t know what you call an after-the-fact marinade, but you’ll love how vibrant and zesty the chicken turns out when you make it this way. Please note that the ingredients here are totally flexible: you can use lemon and/or lime, you can use shallots, scallions, and/or garlic, and you can use any herbs you like. In the summer I use basil, mint, and cilantro; in the fall I use parsley and tarragon; in the winter I often just use the leaves from inside a bunch of celery—but you could even use a few hearty pinches of dried herbs, such as thyme, oregano, or marjoram. If it’s not grilling season—or if you don’t grill—feel free to broil the chicken in the oven instead, rubbing it with oil after seasoning it, and cooking it 3-5 minutes per side.


1 package skinless, boneless chicken breasts (around 1½ pounds), trimmed of extra fat

Kosher salt (or regular salt)

Grated zest of 1 lemon or lime

Freshly squeezed juice of 2 lemons or limes

¼ cup olive oil

1 garlic clove finely minced or put through a garlic press and/or 1 finely chopped shallot or 3 finely slivered scallions

Black pepper or a pinch of red pepper flakes

1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs, all one type or a mixture of 2 or 3: parsley, mint, dill, basil, cilantro, and chives, plus smaller amounts of tarragon, thyme, marjoram, and/or oregano


1. Salt the chicken well on both sides. Preheat the grill on high and oil it. Turn the burners that you’ll be cooking over down to medium; leave the others (if there are any) on high.

2. Put the chicken on the grill and cover. Cook 3 minutes then rotate the chicken a little bit (for those nice grill marks) and cook 3 minutes more. Turn the chicken over and repeat the cooking and rotating, aiming for around 10 minutes of cooking altogether. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for a minute or two. 

3. Meanwhile, stir together 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon table salt) and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Slice the rested chicken, put it on a platter, and pour the sauce over it.

About Catherine

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop series of mission-driven cooking magazines. This kids’ cooking magazine won the James Beard Publication of the Year award in 2013 – the first non-profit ever to win it – and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. She also helped develop Sprout, a WIC version of the magazine for families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), as well as Seasoned, their senior version. They distribute over a million magazines annually, through paid subscriptions, doctor’s offices, schools, and hospitals. Their mission started with obesity as its explicit focus – and has shifted, over the years, to a more holistic one, with health, happiness, and real food at its core. That’s the same vibe Catherine brings to the diaTribe column.

[Photo Credit: Catherine Newman]

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About the authors

Catherine loves to write about food and feeding people. In addition to her recipe and parenting blog Ben & Birdy (which has about 15,000 weekly readers), she edits the ChopChop... Read the full bio »