Grilled Sesame Herb Chicken

This deliciously easy grilled sesame herb chicken (using every day ingredients!) has a hint of Middle Eastern flavors that make it unique and extra tasty!

Grilled Sesame Herb Chicken

I have this problem where I think I’m about 20 years younger than I really am and I stay up waaaaay too late. Like, way too late.

I’m not pulling all-nighters to do fun stuff like paint my toenails and chat with friends and watch Netflix. No, it’s like procrastination at it’s finest.

I’m up half the night doing frantic blog-work stuff (editing pictures of Oreo cookies at 1 a.m. is a really bad idea, BTW), because I can’t pull myself away from sitting on the back deck during the dreamy evening hours watching my kids play one-base baseball to tackle other pressing matters.

And I’m not trying to sound like mother of the year (if I was, I’d be actually playing baseball with them), because I’m so not that.

I just feel like summer, in which the summer Olympics have not helped me at all, has just trashed my time management skills.

That, and already insane soccer practice schedules (I feel a nervous twitch coming on just talking about it).

I just wish this old body could handle the lack of sleep like it used to.

Grilled Sesame Herb Chicken

What does all this have to do with grilled sesame chicken? Well, I’m so glad you asked!

If you are lacking quick-firing brain cells and need a no-fuss dinner that can easily be pulled together no matter the amount of sleep you’ve had, this one’s for you.

With a simple, delicious Middle Eastern flair, this grilled sesame herb chicken is crazy good and so, so easy!

What makes it a little extra-special and tasty, aside from the notable flavors which I’ll talk about in a sec, is a quick step to pound the chicken breasts into thinner, even cutlets.

It might seem like an unnecessary step, but don’t skip it (unless you are going to live on the edge and make kabobs out of the meat, of course)! The thinner pieces of meat soak up the flavor of the marinade so that each bite is packed with incredible deliciousness.

I’ve included an alternate method if you are adamantly opposed to pounding chicken, so read through the recipe (don’t worry, I’m sure you are not alone in the pounding chicken aversion).

Grilled Sesame Herb Chicken

I served this amazing grilled chicken with cilantro lime rice and a green salad. I’m thinking it would be wonderful in a pita wrap or served with a side dish of of lemon rice or black beans? I don’t know.

The options seem limitless. I ate the leftover chicken on top of a lunchtime salad with a little touch of blue cheese vinaigrette and about died, it was so delicious.

This grilled sesame herb chicken reminded me yet again that so often simple flavors are the best.

The citrusy marinade is loaded with herbs – both fresh and dried. The flavors are perfection, and the hint of sesame oil is probably my favorite part of the whole thing.

It’s a very liberal take on the flavors of za’atar (a Middle Eastern spice blend). If you actually have za’atar in your pantry, try subbing an equal amount for all the dried herbs in the recipe.

I hope you love this delicious grilled chicken as much as we do!

Grilled Sesame Herb Chicken

What To Serve
Cilantro Lime Rice
Fresh seasonal fruit + vegetables
My Favorite Kale Salad 

One Year Ago: Balsamic Beef {or Chicken} Kebabs
Two Years Ago: Creamy Peanut Butter Pie with Chocolate Cookie Crust
Three Years Ago: Decadent Chocolate Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting {Gluten-Free!}

Grilled Sesame Herb Chicken

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Ingredients:

  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

  1. Pound each piece of chicken to an even thickness of 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. I do this by placing each chicken breast one-by-one in a freezer ziploc bag (since the plastic is thicker than a regular storage bag), leaving the bag open to let air out, and pounding with the smooth end of my meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy skillet.
  2. ALTERNATE METHOD: If the chicken breasts you are using are really thick, you can cut them in half (like a hamburger bun) to form two thinner cutlets.
  3. Whisk together all the marinade ingredients: parsley, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, sesame oil, olive oil, garlic cloves, marjoram, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.
  4. Place the chicken in a baking dish or ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the top. Turn to coat the chicken in the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours (any longer and the acidity in the marinade can “cook” the chicken and turn it white).
  5. Preheat a grill to medium. Grill the chicken until cooked through and an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees F, about 3-4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
  6. Let the chicken rest, covered, for 5-10 minutes before slicing into strips and serving.

Notes:

This chicken is an adaptation from a za’atar chicken recipe (which is a Mediterranean spice blend made up of sesame, thyme, marjoram and sumac). If you don’t have marjoram in your spice cabinet, you can try using another dried herb (maybe basil or a little more thyme and oregano?). Obviously it will change the flavor just a bit but since this isn’t necessarily a 100% authentic za’atar recipe, I think it will be just fine (although it is delicious with the marjoram).

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Recipe Source: adapted from Leigh Anne at Your Homebased Mom