Chicken fajitas are a delicious and quick dinner. But, as easy as they are to make, there seem to be many ways to mess them up. They can be totally forgettable and bland with overcooked, under spiced chicken; peppers and onions that are crunchy instead of soft and succulent; or like an odd Tex-Mex stir-fry with gloppy sauce.
Pounding and marinating the chicken with lime and spices, and then grilling it on high until just done, creates moist and flavorful chicken. Grilling the vegetables separately, until lightly charred and soft, and then tossing with some of the marinade and chicken strips creates a flavorful, and luscious combination.
Chicken fajitas are traditionally wrapped in flour or corn tortillas, which are, of course, totally yummy. But don’t despair if you’re on a low carb or gluten free diet. Collard greens work well, are a delicious alternative, and give you an extra dose of vegetables. I like to lightly steam the collards first so that they’re more tender.
This is a fun dinner because the fajitas can be assembled and wrapped at the table. I serve them with a few sides so people can customize their fajitas – things like salsa, guacamole, sour cream, grated jack cheese, and grilled corn kernels that I cut off the cob.
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 6 tablespoons olive oil plus additional for oiling vegetables
- 4 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed in a garlic press
- 1 jalepeño pepper, seeds removed, minced or 3/4 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
- 1 1/2 Tablepoons chopped cilantro or parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- sea salt and ground black pepper
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 pounds) pounded to 1/2 inch thick
- 2 large onions, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds, keep intact (don't separate rings)
- 2 large bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange) quartered the long way, stemmed, and seeded
- 8 large collard green leaves
- Make the Marinade and Marinate the Chicken:
- In a large bowl whisk together lime juice, 6 tablespoons of oil, garlic, jalepeño or cayenne, cilantro or parsley, cumin, 2 teaspoons salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup marinade in a small bowl and set aside.
- Place chicken in marinade and stir to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 8 hours.
- Steam Collard Greens:
- Put collard on cutting board, vein side up. Remove stem end carefully cut off some of the stem at the bottom of the leaf where it's thick. If you cut into the leaf while doing this don't worry, it's fine.
- Steam collard greens whole for 2-3 minutes until softened but not mushy. Reserve until ready to serve fajitas.
- Cook Vegetables and Chicken:
- Coat onion rounds and peppers with olive oil. Grill on high. Cook peppers and onions until charred in spots on both sides and tender, turning once or twice, 8-12 minutes. Set aside.
- Grill chicken on high heat, turning once, until browned and cooked through (no longer pink), about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove from grill.
- Slice chicken and peppers into strips. Separate onions into rings. Put chicken and vegetables into bowl and toss with reserved marinade. Taste for salt and pepper. Arrange on a platter and serve with steamed collard tortillas and sides of your choice like guacamole, salsa, sour cream, grated jack cheese, and grilled corn kernels.