My grandmother traveled to Peru a number of years back and told me all about the interesting food she ate, the jungle she climbed through, and of course, the fact that I really needed to try Peruvian-style chicken served with a delicious green sauce.
Truthfully, the whole GREEN sauce thing really intrigued me, so I asked her what ingredients were involved. She told me that it can be a mixture of different herbs and fresh peppers, but that she recommended using poblanos and jalapenos, onions, cilantro and lime juice.
Since these are basically all of my favorite flavors, I was excited to start experimenting with a recipe inspired by Peruvian green chicken and rice, which is how this gorgeous green chicken and rice (or arroz con pollo verde) was born.
This one pan dinner is creative, flavorful, and simmered with a slightly spicy green sauce you’re going to love. LET’S GET THE PARTY STARTED!
Inspiration from Peruvian chicken and rice
Traditional Peruvian chicken and rice, or Peruvian arroz con pollo, uses a few special ingredients like ají Camarillo chili pepper paste, which has a yellow tint, ají panca chili pepper for a kick of heat, and a special malt beer called chica de jora. I took inspiration from this beautiful dish and created a green sauce using tons of fresh cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, and cumin, which are all common ingredients in the traditional recipe as well. The result is a super flavorful, herby chicken and rice dish made in one pan filled with customizable veggies that you’ll love.
Everything you’ll need to make this green chicken and rice
This green chicken and rice is made with minimal ingredients, plenty of fresh herbs, veggies and even healthy fats thanks to avocado. It’s a simple, yet incredibly flavorful dinner that you’ll find yourself going back to again and again. Tony loves it, I love it. EVERYONE LOVES IT. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Chicken: I like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs because they’re juicier and have more flavor than chicken breasts.
- Produce: we’re making that gorgeous green sauce with garlic, onion, a jalapeño, fresh cilantro, and lime juice. You’ll also need carrots and a red bell pepper, which will cook with the rice.
- Chicken broth: because it’s a sauce, you’ll need some low sodium chicken broth for the liquid.
- Spices: don’t forget a little ground cumin, salt, and pepper to flavor the sauce.
- Rice: I like to use white jasmine or basmati rice because it gets nice and fluffy. It will cook right in the sauce with the veggies.
- For topping: I love topping this dish with extra cilantro, avocado slices, jalapeño slices, and greek yogurt or sour cream mixed with a little water. This creates the perfect drizzle for the top of the pan or your bowl and cools down the heat from the jalapeño.
Customize this green chicken recipe
There are a few simple ways you can make this green chicken and rice your own!
- To reduce the spice: simply feel free to take out the seeds of the jalapeño. If you prefer things a little bit spicy, then I suggest keeping them in!
- Choose your veggies: you can easily switch up the veggies based on what you have in your fridge. I think green beans, snap peas, sweet peas, and broccoli would be great alternatives.
Can I use brown rice?
I would not recommend using brown rice in this recipe as it will take much longer to cook. Alternatively, you can use the same amount of cauliflower rice for a low carb option, or 2/3 cup quinoa.
How to make green chicken and rice in one pan
- Make the sauce. Start by adding all of the green sauce ingredients to a high powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Cook the chicken. Add your chicken thighs to a 10 inch skillet or large pot with olive oil, season with salt & pepper, and broth on both sides. Remove them from the skillet.
- Saute the veggies. In the same skillet saute the carrots and bell pepper for a few minutes.
- Assemble the one pan meal. Pour the green sauce into the skillet with the veggies, then evenly fold in the rice. Nestle chicken into the sauce. Once the sauce is simmering, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook everything together.
- Garnish & serve. Once most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked, serve it up! Feel free to add those delicious garnishes and enjoy.
Storing & meal prep tips
This green chicken and rice is perfect for meal prep! Simply let the pan cool completely, divide the whole thing into 4 separate meal prep containers and place them in the refrigerator to enjoy all week long.
More healthy one pan meals to try
Get all of my one pan meals here!
If you make this green chicken and rice, be sure to leave a comment below and rate the recipe below! You can also snap and picture and post it on Instagram using the hashtag #ambitiouskitchen. xo!
One Pan Green Chicken and Rice (Arroz con Pollo Verde)
One pan green chicken and rice, or arroz con pollo verde, made with an easy, flavorful green sauce and packed with delicious veggies. Top with fresh cilantro, avocado, jalapeño slices, and a drizzle of yogurt for a protein-packed weeknight dinner the whole family will love!
- For the chicken:
boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Freshly ground salt and pepper
- For the green sauce:
white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
jalapeno, seeded (or leave seeds in if you like it a little spicy like me!)
bunch fresh cilantro (reserve a few for topping the dish)
low-sodium chicken broth
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the rice:
white basmati rice
medium carrots, sliced
red bell pepper, julienned
- To garnish:
- Fresh cilantro
- Avocado slices
- Jalapeno slices
- Greek yogurt or sour cream + water to make a creme for drizzling
First make the green sauce: In a large high powered blender or food processor, add in garlic, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, fresh lime juice, chicken broth, cumin, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Blend or process until completely smooth. Set aside.
Place a large deep 10 inch skillet over medium high heat. (If you do not have a skillet, then a large pot will also work very well!) Add in olive oil. Once hot, add in chicken thighs and season generously with freshly ground salt and pepper. Cook until browned 4-5 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and transfer to a plate.
In the same skillet (it should be greased enough already for sauteing), carrots and bell peppers. Saute over medium heat for a few minutes minutes to absorb pan flavors.
Slowly pour in the green sauce, bring to a simmer then fold in the rice, making sure it is evenly distributed in the pan. Add the browned chicken on top and nestle them into the sauce a bit. Once sauce is simmering, reduce heat to low, cover the skillet immediately and cook for 20-25 minutes.
After 20-25 minutes, most of the liquid should be absorbed and the rice should be cooked. Serve immediately. Garnish with cilantro, jalapeno slices, avocado slices and a drizzle of sour cream if you’d like. I like to mix a little greek yogurt or sour cream with water and drizzle it over the skillet. Serves Enjoy!
If you don’t like spicy dishes, then feel free to take out the seeds of the jalapeno. If you prefer things a little bit spicy, then I suggest keeping them in!
For the rice: make sure you use white basmati or jasmine rice. Unfortunately, brown rice will take too long to cook. Feel free to make a lower carb version by subbing in cauliflower rice.
For the veggies: feel free to switch up the veggies based on what you have in your fridge.
Servings: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 serving (based on 4)
Saturated fat: 5g
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on August 22nd, 2019, and republished on March 14th, 2023.