Pilar Valdes' Yogurt Marinated Grilled Chicken

10 minsPrep Time
40 minsCook Time

50 minsTotal Time


  • 1 head garlic, approximately 2oz
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 cups Greek Yogurt (one 17 oz tub)
  • Half a bunch of cilantro, washed and dried
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp your favorite chili flakes
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • 1 tbsp your favorite hot sauce (optional)
  • 2 limes, zest and juice, divided
  • 1 red onion, about 9 oz, cut into 8 wedges
  • 1 head broccoli, florets cut into 2" pieces, stem peeled and outer tough parts removed, and then sliced into 2" pieces
  • 1 seedless cucumber, like English Hothouse, or 2 seedless mini cucumbers, cut on the bias into 2" pieces and lightly smashed
  • 3 hearts of Romaine, washed, trimmed and split lengthwise, keeping base intact
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/2 tso granulated sugar
  • Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil


  1. Take the whole head of garlic and cut it in half crosswise. Place the bottom half of the bulb in a piece of foil. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. Wrap fully in the foil. Set the remaining raw garlic aside. 

  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place the fully wrapped garlic pouch in the cold oven ; it will roast as it preheats. Check it after 30 minutes: the garlic cloves should be soft and creamy, but still fairly pale. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. 

  3. Take one wedge of red onion and slice finely. In a small bowl, combine the broccoli stems, finely sliced onion and cucumber. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, sugar and 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar. Set aside. 

  4. In a bowl large enough to fit the chicken and broccoli: combine 1 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, smoked paprika, cumin, chili flakes, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro stems, lime zest, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 clove grated garlic, and turmeric (optional). Season all sides of the chicken with freshly ground pepper and 2 teaspoons (total) of salt. Add the chicken, broccoli florets, and the remaining onion wedges to the yogurt marinade. Toss to coat fully. Let marinate 

    at room temperature for 30 minutes as you preheat the oven. (The chicken can be marinated in the fridge up to 3 hours in advance. Make sure to bring the chicken to room temperature before proceeding with cooking.) 

  5. On the stove top, preheat a grill pan or large saute pan over medium heat. Season the romaine with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place wedges on the hot pan, cut side down, and sear, undisturbed for about 1 1/2 minutes until the cut side is golden brown and releases a nutty, sweet aroma, but the rest of the romaine remains crisp and fresh. Set aside to cool. 

  6. Using the same grill or saute pan, carefully add the pieces of chicken, broccoli and onion wedges. (Discard the remaining marinade.) Allow to sear, undisturbed, until a crust and golden color develops, about 1-2 minutes. (You may have to work in batches, to prevent overcrowding.) Transfer pieces, golden side up, to a prepared sheet pan, lined with parchment paper or foil. Move the sheet pan to the preheated oven to finish cooking, about 15-20 minutes more, or until the internal temperature of the chicken registers 165 degrees. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with additional cilantro sprigs and serve with hot sauce on the side, if desired.

  7. To make salad dressing: In a bowl, combine 1 cup yogurt, 1/4 cup cold water, the roasted garlic cloves (and any accumulated oil), 2 tablespoons lime juice, and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Stir to combine, mashing the garlic as you go. Whisk in 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. (For a smoother dressing, you can mix all the ingredients in a blender/ hand blender.) 

  8. To assemble salad: Lay romaine wedges on a serving platter. Scatter marinated cucumber mixture and sliced avocado and serve with dressing on the side. 

(* Want to go pescatarian? You can easily substitute the chicken with fish or shrimp. Fully vegetarian? Try swapping the chicken for Cauliflower Steaks!* This recipe can be made fully on the grill as well! The Leftovers keep great, and make a lovely sandwich or wrap!** )