The Best California Chicken Recipe to Make Today

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​When you crave something fresh and filling, look no further than the golden state! California food fare is known for its fresh, healthy and completely irresistible flavors, like this delicious California chicken recipe

California chicken recipe featured image.

If you’re tired of meaty main dishes that take hours to prepare, then you need this delicious recipe! California avocado chicken is the ideal weeknight meal. It has so much flavorful flair that you won’t believe how quickly this dish comes together!

Why you’ll Love this Recipe

  • Fresh Flavors: A blend of west coast and Italian influences results in a fresh taste experience with every bite!
  • Quick California Cooking: This easy recipe is just right for weeknights because it uses a balsamic marinade to serve up a ton of flavor in no time!
  • Endless Pairing Options: This dish goes with everything, from salad to brown rice and more!
  • Kid-Approved: All ages adore this delicious medley of cheese, juicy tomatoes, avocado, and chicken!

Ingredients you’ll Need

Below, are the ingredients that you’ll want to gather ahead of time:

  • Boneless Chicken Breasts: Choose fresh chicken breast and be sure to trim any excess fat.
  • Balsamic Vinegar: This ingredient works with the oil and seasonings to create a rich balsamic-flavored chicken.
  • Olive Oil: This helps enrich the marinade with some heart-healthy fats. 
  • Honey: Honey brings a nice mild sweetness to balance the acidic notes in the marinade. 
  • Fresh Minced Garlic: Garlic adds an irresistible savory aroma and flavor to this unforgettable California chicken recipe!
  • Italian Seasoning: Use a store-bought blend or your own mix of Italian herbs. 
  • Salt and Black Pepper: You’ll need this seasoning duo for both the chicken and the salad. 
  • Mozzarella Cheese: A thick slice of mozzarella cheese adds creaminess to the finished dish.
  • Avocados: Fresh avocado salad makes this recipe colorful and rich!
  • Tomatoes: Use fresh tomatoes to add flavor, texture and vitamin C to every bite!
  • Fresh Basil: Basil has a great sweet yet herbaceous fragrance and flavor that you will love!
  • Lime Juice: A touch of fresh lime slows down oxidation to keep the avocado green and adds a nice balance to the salad. 

See recipe card for quantities.

Step By Step Instructions

Below, you will find step-by-step instructions along with process shots so that making this recipe at home is a breeze!

Adding seasonings to balsamic vinegar marinade.

1. In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. 

Balsamic vinegar marinade in a glass measuring cup.

2. This is what your marinade should look like after whisking ingredients together. 

Pouring balsamic marinade into freezer bag with chicken breast.

3. Place the chicken breasts in a resealable bag, pour in the marinade and seal the bag.  

Marinade and chicken in freezer bag.

4. Allow the chicken breast to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 

California chicken on a grill pan.

5. Preheat a grill pan over high heat for 2-3 minutes then reduce the heat to medium-high heat. Evenly coat the pan with a bit of olive oil. Place chicken breasts in the pan and let them cook undisturbed for 5-6 minutes on the first side until distinct grill marks form. Flip the chicken breasts and repeat. Chicken is done once internal temperature reaches 165°F. Switch off the heat and let chicken breasts rest in the pan for a minimum of 5 minutes before slicing. 

Adding lime juice to avocado basil and tomato salad.

6. Prepare avocado and tomato salad while chicken is cooking. In a large bowl, add in diced avocado, tomatoes, basil, juice from 1 small lime, salt and pepper to taste.

Avocado basil and tomato salad combined in a bowl.

7. Gently combine so that all ingredients are evenly coated with lime juice and seasonings.

California chicken recipe, full length image.

8. Top each piece of chicken with a slice of mozzarella and a generous scoop of avocado, basil and tomato salad. Enjoy!

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • This chicken is delicious over a bed of fresh greens or when paired with a grain like white rice or pasta. Enjoy with your favorite dry California white wine for the ultimate chicken and wine pairing. Check out our list of the best California white wines to help you decide.
  • To make this weeknight favorite even faster, you can let the chicken marinate in the fridge for up to 1 day. 
  • Cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of your chicken cutlets. Chicken is done once the internal temperature reaches 165°F. 
  • If you don’t have all the ingredients to make the balsamic vinegar marinade, consider using a store bought, light vinaigrette. This would work great in a pinch!

Recipe Variations

  • Poppin’ Peppers – Spice up the avocado salad by adding some diced red pepper to the mix. 
  • California Club Chicken Wraps – Make a delicious chicken wrap with this recipe. Simply slice chicken into strips or bite-sized pieces. Add a bed of shredded lettuce to a flour tortilla, layer on the chicken pieces along with the avocado and tomato salad. Roll up the tortilla tightly to enclose the filling completely. Slice the wrap in half diagonally for easier handling and serve it immediately. You can also wrap it in parchment paper or foil for a convenient on-the-go meal.
  • California Grilled Chicken Rice Bowls – To make a filling rice bowl, add bite-sized pieces of your chicken over a bowl of rice and top off with avocado and tomato salad. Consider adding a serving of black beans for additional protein and fiber.
  • Chicken Breast Halves – If you find that your chicken breasts are very thick or you prefer smaller portions, consider cutting them in half, lengthwise. This will cut down on the cooking time. 

Recipe Substitutions

  • Honey ​- When you’re out of honey, replace it with agave or brown sugar.
  • Fresh Mozzarella Cheese – For a different cheesy flavor, try trading the mozzarella for provolone, pepper jack or white cheddar cheese.
  • Vine Tomatoes – You can also make this delicious dish with cherry tomatoes or Roma tomatoes.
  • Lime Juice – In lieu of lime juice, try fresh lemon juice. 
  • Fresh Garlic – You can use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic. 
  • Chicken Breast – If you’re strapped for time, consider using a rotisserie chicken. The only down side to this is that it won’t have as much flavor as the balsamic marinated chicken.

Equipment

Avocado chicken served over bed of greens.

Explore the vibrant flavors of the west coast with this irresistible California chicken recipe. Whether you’re craving a taste of sunshine or simply seeking culinary inspiration, this dish will become one of your new favorite recipes. Next time you’re in the mood for a flavorful experience, let this meal take center stage on your dinner table.

Storage Tips

To extend the shelf life of this flavorful chicken, allow it to cool completely and then transfer it to an airtight container. Store the salad in a separate container. Chicken can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days and the salad will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days. 

Common Questions About this California Chicken Recipe

Is this Chicken Avocado Recipe Keto-Friendly?

Unfortunately, the completed dish is a skip for those following a keto diet. The honey in the marinade combined with the avocados and tomatoes in the salad makes the carb count over the daily values for keto. However, you can make this more keto-friendly by omitting the honey for a great recipe everyone can enjoy!

Can I Use a Different Protein for this Recipe?

Yes. Incorporating pork tenderloin would offer a delicious twist to this recipe.

California Chicken Recipe

Savor the taste of the golden state with our California chicken recipe. Serve with a thick slice of mozzarella and a scoop of this zesty avocado, basil, and tomato salad.
Print Recipe PIN RECIPE
Prep Time:15 minutes
Cook Time:12 minutes
Marinating Time:1 hour
Total Time:1 hour 27 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 medium, boneless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese, soft

Avocado & Tomato Salad

  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 3 vine tomatoes, diced
  • handful basil chopped thinly
  • juice from 1 small lime
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Place the chicken breasts in a resealable bag, pour in the marinade and seal the bag. Allow the chicken breast to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour. 
  • Preheat a grill pan over high heat for 2-3 minutes then reduce the heat to medium-high heat. Evenly coat the pan with a bit of olive oil. Place chicken breasts in the pan and let them cook undisturbed for 5-6 minutes on the first side until distinct grill marks form. Using grill tongs, flip the chicken breasts and repeat. Chicken is done once internal temperature reaches 165°F. Switch off the heat and let chicken breasts rest in the pan for a minimum of 5 minutes before slicing. 
  • Prepare avocado and tomato salad while chicken is cooking.

Avocado & Tomato Salad

  • In a large bowl, add in diced avocado, tomatoes, basil, juice from 1 small lime, and salt and pepper to taste.Gently combine so that all ingredients are evenly coated with lime juice and seasonings.
  • Top each piece of chicken with a slice of mozzarella and a generous scoop of avocado, basil and tomato salad. Optional to add a drizzle of balsamic glaze for a touch of sweetness. Enjoy!

Food Safety

These are a few safety tips to keep in mind when preparing this recipe:

  • Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
  • Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat.
  • Wash hands after touching raw meat.
  • Don’t leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods.
  • Never leave cooking food unattended.

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