The sun is shining and the weather is finally turning for us here in the Midwest and we are so ready! Finally we fire up the grill and dust off our patio furniture. This Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Cucumber Cranberry Salsa is the perfect healthy grilled chicken meal to kick off the season.
The last time I made this, I barely escaped the rain. It had been raining all day, but just before dinner, the clouds broke and I grabbed my chance to get the grill going. I should have known it wouldn’t last! The chicken barely finished cooking before another downpour. I came in dripping with a platter of chicken while the kids stared at me from the next room. At least I protected the chicken! And it was just as delicious as ever.
It was completely worth getting rained on to have this healthy grilled balsamic chicken straight from the grill!
You all are going to love this recipe, too, and as a bonus, it’s also a healthy, full meal. Simple and still packed with a party of different textures and flavors. The cranberries bring in some sweetness and a chewiness that plays so well off the crunchiness of the cucumbers and sunflower seeds. The tart vinegar and bite of onion round it all out.
The hardest part about this dish is the chopping of the veggies. Call me crazy, but I kind of like chopping veggies. There is something a little therapeutic about the rhythm and the ease of it. No matter what is going on in my day, this is a job I can do. When dinner calls for it, I can take a minute, catch my breath, and do this one thing well. But for this particular recipe, it won’t take you too long.
Fire up that grill and grab that knife. Let’s serve up this simple but fabulous, crowd-pleasing healthy grilled balsamic chicken meal!
Prep the Chicken
Pound out the chicken to an even thickness of 1/2-inch each. This allows them to marinate quickly and cook evenly on the grill in a bit less time. You can’t beat a one-ingredient marinade! Balsamic vinegar adds a ton of flavor and moisture to a cut of meat that is so easy to dry out.
Refrigerate and it will be ready to grill in only 30 minutes! If you need to marinate longer, feel free to do that, but don’t let it marinate for more than 24 hours.
Once it marinates, this healthy grilled balsamic chicken will cook on the grill in as little as 8 minutes. Be sure to cook to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees F. (For more on grilling safety and temperatures, check out this helpful article.)
Now for the Salsa
This cucumber and cranberry salsa is the perfect accompaniment to this healthy grilled balsamic chicken! Once your veggies are cut, all you need to do is stir them together with a little more balsamic vinegar. Make sure it is all combined, then refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
You can put this together up to a day ahead of time, too. Simply drain away the excess liquid before serving.
Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Simply store the chicken and salsa separately.
Add Sides and Dessert
Bake up our amazing and amazingly Easy Drop Biscuits to eat alongside this healthy grilled balsamic chicken meal. These Chewy Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies or Lemon Bundt Cake would be the sweet ending to your meal that you will be craving.
Healthy Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Cucumber and Cranberry Salsa
- 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cut to 6 pieces
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar divided
- 2 cups cucumber diced
- 1/3 cup red onion chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
- 3 tablespoons roasted sunflower seeds
- 1 tablespoon jalapeno finely diced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Pound chicken to 1/2-inch thick. Place chicken in a shallow dish and pour 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar over the top. Marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the grill to medium heat.
- While the grill is heating and the chicken is marinating, make your salsa. In a medium bowl, mix together cucumber, red onion, cranberries, cilantro, sunflower seeds, jalapeno, salt, and 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar. Chill until the chicken is cooked.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, discarding any extra marinade, and grill for 4 to 6 minutes per side or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes, then serve topped with the chilled cucumber salsa.