Chicken Tequila Burgers

People often ask where I get my recipe ideas. Sometimes I am inspired by delicious meals I see prepared by other bloggers. Bon Appetit has been a long-time favorite resource, and lately I am really enjoying Eating Well too. I’m often driven by what’s seasonal in terms of produce. And every so often I’m totally inspired by something I’ve eaten in a restaurant. I’ve been known to re-create some of my favorite restaurant meals at home, but if I’m not mistaken, this is the first time I’ve completely deconstructed a restaurant inspiration and put the flavors back together in another form.

Back in high school, I used to work at California Pizza Kitchen. Nowadays, I don’t venture much to chain restaurants, but this is never one I mind dining at. I find their selections fresh and creative, and not like the same-old-stuff you find on most chain restaurant menus. One of my favorite dinners to indulge in after a hectic night on the floor was their chicken tequila fettuccine: spinach pasta tossed with chicken, bell peppers, and onions in a lime-tequila-jalapeno cream sauce. At the time, I don’t think I realized (or cared) just how much of an indulgence this really was, but now that I pay so much attention to what I eat, I know it was quite the splurge.

The other night I was thinking about this meal and wondering if I could capture the flavor combination of the tequila, lime and jalapeno, minus all the heavy cream. I could have made a simple marinade for chicken, but, there are already about a zillion recipes out there for tequila-lime chicken. No need for one more. Why not a chicken tequila burger? Of course! Burgers are an easy venue for combining lots of flavors, and can actually be a bit simpler and less time-consuming than a marinade since you don’t have to prep them ahead of time and wait. (Although, you certainly can if you want! Burgers prepped ahead and frozen are a great meal to have on hand.)

These burgers truly hit the spot. I was a little nervous that the tequila flavor wouldn’t come through, but it certainly did, along with the lime and cilantro and dash of heat from the jalapeno. A quick pulsing together of the ingredients in the food processor and broiling of the burgers in the oven makes them a snap to make too! For the topping, I simply used a frozen mix of tri-colored bell peppers and onions. Normally I prefer fresh vegetables, but it would be just plain silly for me to buy one of each colored pepper since I’m cooking just for two. The frozen peppers are convenient and work perfectly well for this purpose. And in case you are wondering, those are roasted butternut squash fries on the side – a totally delicious and lower-carb/calorie alternative to sweet potato fries. This batch came out particularly well because I was careful to cut smaller and more uniform slices than in the past.

Chicken Tequila Burgers
Printable Recipe

2 chicken breasts, about 11oz total, cut into chunks
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
2-3 tsp minced jalapeno pepper
zest from 1/2 lime
dash of lite soy sauce
1oz tequila
freshly ground salt & pepper
1/4 cup plain oatmeal (either instant old-fashioned are ok)

To serve: your favorite hamburger buns (I use Arnold Sandwich Thins) and a mix of sauteed bell peppers and onions

Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Combine the burger ingredients in a food processor and pulse several times, until chicken is uniformly ground. Remove and divide into two portions; shape each into a ball, place on the baking sheet, and flatten with your palm. The mixture will seem rather loose and wet, but don’t worry; this is why we are cooking under the broiler rather than grilling these.

Broil the burgers for about 10-12 minutes total, flipping halfway through. Serve on buns with sauteed peppers and onions.

Nutritional Info (burgers only; does not include bread or bell pepper topping)
Servings Per Recipe: 2
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 246.2
Total Fat: 2.6 g
Cholesterol: 90.4 mg
Sodium: 346.2 mg
Total Carbs: 7.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.2 g
Protein: 38.0 g

PS: For the butternut fries…

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil and preheat oven to 450ºF. Place a baking sheet or large nonstick skillet in the oven while it’s heating.
2. Meanwhile, peel and seed a butternut squash and slice into thin, french-fry-like strips.
3. Cook the butternut fries in the boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and place in an ice bath to stop the cooking. Drain, place on a dish towel, and pat dry.
4. Remove the baking sheet or skillet from the oven, and spray lightly nonstick spray. Dump the fries onto the pan, spray with nonstick spray, and sprinkle on your favorite seasoning (I like a southwestern blend.)
5. Roast for 20-30 minutes total, turning occasionally, until evenly browned.
  Pin It

38 Responses to “Chicken Tequila Burgers”

  1. 1

    Erin — January 11, 2010 @ 4:59 pm Reply

    These look like a great twist on chicken burgers! I just set some out to thaw last night in the fridge. Perhaps I can convince my BF to make these!

  2. 2

    Stephanie — January 11, 2010 @ 5:08 pm Reply

    This sounds absolutely fabulous! Thanks for posting about the bnut fries too. I have trouble getting mine to be crispy, so I willdefinitely try boiling them first. You are so talented, by the way. Such a great job on deconstructing a fave meal and totally recreating a new healthy one!

  3. 3

    Meghan — January 11, 2010 @ 5:42 pm Reply

    I love everything about this meal! I would love to try the butternut squash fries. I never thought to buy frozen tri-color pepper mix – what a great idea! I'm cooking for 2 also and it's a waste (and expense!) to buy whole ones for one recipe.

  4. 4

    Naomi — January 11, 2010 @ 6:54 pm Reply

    what a great idea! I love twists on the normal chicken or turkey burger!!

  5. 5

    Gelareh — January 11, 2010 @ 10:07 pm Reply

    That's a tasty looking burger. I try to go seasonal as well.. I just create recipes in my head.. I have been lucky so far

  6. 6

    Lisa "One Mom's Weight Loss" — January 11, 2010 @ 11:13 pm Reply

    That looks so good!!!

  7. 7

    Dawn — January 12, 2010 @ 12:52 am Reply

    You are so creative. I love all the colors!

  8. 8

    GF Gidget — January 12, 2010 @ 1:01 am Reply

    This sounds fabulous!

  9. 9

    preventionrd — January 12, 2010 @ 3:05 am Reply

    What a great idea! Love it…saving that recipe!

  10. 10

    Kelly — January 12, 2010 @ 3:27 pm Reply

    I love how now days we have so many different places to draw from for recipe inspiration. Sometimes ideas randomly come to me when I'm sitting in a meeting and then I find myself having to jot them down.I also happen to love that tequila chicken fettucini they have at CPK. I make a similar recipe and I really need to work at skinnying it down because the sauce is unbelievably good.

  11. 11

    Bridget — January 12, 2010 @ 6:18 pm Reply

    When I was in high school and worked at a pizza restaurant, I used to eat pizza topped with bacon. It was delicious. Oh, how I miss the days when I could eat stuff like that…

  12. 12

    Erin — January 12, 2010 @ 6:50 pm Reply

    What a great combination! This looks delicious!

  13. 13

    Erin — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    What a great combination! This looks delicious!

  14. 14

    Erin — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    What a great combination! This looks delicious!

  15. 15

    Bridget — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    When I was in high school and worked at a pizza restaurant, I used to eat pizza topped with bacon. It was delicious. Oh, how I miss the days when I could eat stuff like that…

  16. 16

    Bridget — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    When I was in high school and worked at a pizza restaurant, I used to eat pizza topped with bacon. It was delicious. Oh, how I miss the days when I could eat stuff like that…

  17. 17

    Kelly — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    I love how now days we have so many different places to draw from for recipe inspiration. Sometimes ideas randomly come to me when I'm sitting in a meeting and then I find myself having to jot them down.I also happen to love that tequila chicken fettucini they have at CPK. I make a similar recipe and I really need to work at skinnying it down because the sauce is unbelievably good.

  18. 18

    Kelly — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    I love how now days we have so many different places to draw from for recipe inspiration. Sometimes ideas randomly come to me when I'm sitting in a meeting and then I find myself having to jot them down.I also happen to love that tequila chicken fettucini they have at CPK. I make a similar recipe and I really need to work at skinnying it down because the sauce is unbelievably good.

  19. 19

    preventionrd — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    What a great idea! Love it…saving that recipe!

  20. 20

    preventionrd — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    What a great idea! Love it…saving that recipe!

  21. 21

    GF Gidget — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    This sounds fabulous!

  22. 22

    Dawn — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    You are so creative. I love all the colors!

  23. 23

    Dawn — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    You are so creative. I love all the colors!

  24. 24

    Lisa "One Mom's Weight Loss" — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    That looks so good!!!

  25. 25

    Gelareh — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    That's a tasty looking burger. I try to go seasonal as well.. I just create recipes in my head.. I have been lucky so far

  26. 26

    Gelareh — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    That's a tasty looking burger. I try to go seasonal as well.. I just create recipes in my head.. I have been lucky so far

  27. 27

    Naomi — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    what a great idea! I love twists on the normal chicken or turkey burger!!

  28. 28

    Naomi — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    what a great idea! I love twists on the normal chicken or turkey burger!!

  29. 29

    Meghan — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    I love everything about this meal! I would love to try the butternut squash fries. I never thought to buy frozen tri-color pepper mix – what a great idea! I'm cooking for 2 also and it's a waste (and expense!) to buy whole ones for one recipe.

  30. 30

    Stephanie — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    This sounds absolutely fabulous! Thanks for posting about the bnut fries too. I have trouble getting mine to be crispy, so I willdefinitely try boiling them first. You are so talented, by the way. Such a great job on deconstructing a fave meal and totally recreating a new healthy one!

  31. 31

    Erin — March 28, 2011 @ 8:53 pm Reply

    These look like a great twist on chicken burgers! I just set some out to thaw last night in the fridge. Perhaps I can convince my BF to make these!

  32. 32

    Erin — March 29, 2011 @ 2:07 am Reply

    What a great combination! This looks delicious!

  33. 33

    preventionrd — March 29, 2011 @ 2:07 am Reply

    What a great idea! Love it…saving that recipe!

  34. 34

    Kelly — March 29, 2011 @ 2:07 am Reply

    I love how now days we have so many different places to draw from for recipe inspiration. Sometimes ideas randomly come to me when I'm sitting in a meeting and then I find myself having to jot them down.I also happen to love that tequila chicken fettucini they have at CPK. I make a similar recipe and I really need to work at skinnying it down because the sauce is unbelievably good.

  35. 35

    Meghan — March 29, 2011 @ 2:07 am Reply

    I love everything about this meal! I would love to try the butternut squash fries. I never thought to buy frozen tri-color pepper mix – what a great idea! I'm cooking for 2 also and it's a waste (and expense!) to buy whole ones for one recipe.

  36. 36

    Meghan — April 5, 2011 @ 1:23 am Reply

    I love everything about this meal! I would love to try the butternut squash fries. I never thought to buy frozen tri-color pepper mix – what a great idea! I'm cooking for 2 also and it's a waste (and expense!) to buy whole ones for one recipe.

  37. 37

    Gelareh — April 5, 2011 @ 1:23 am Reply

    That's a tasty looking burger. I try to go seasonal as well.. I just create recipes in my head.. I have been lucky so far

  38. 38

    Meghan — April 5, 2011 @ 1:23 am Reply

    I love everything about this meal! I would love to try the butternut squash fries. I never thought to buy frozen tri-color pepper mix – what a great idea! I'm cooking for 2 also and it's a waste (and expense!) to buy whole ones for one recipe.

Leave a Comment