Use This Green Herb Seasoning and Marinade in Two Dishes for a Versatile Family Meal

BY JeanMarie Brownson TIMEJune 28, 2022 PRINT

Fresh herbs overflow in the garden and at farmers markets in most of the country at this time of year. My 3-year-old granddaughter eats them by the handful straight from her garden. I prefer to scatter them with abandon over salads, roasted vegetables, rice bowls, and anything from the grill.

This season, I’m whirling a variety of fresh herbs in the blender with green chile, garlic, olive oil, and lime juice for a savory seasoning sauce that tastes great on everything from baked sweet potatoes to warm quinoa to grilled chicken. Think of this concoction as a savory green smoothie adding bold flavor to anything it touches.

Baby arugula forms the backbone of the seasoning sauce. From there, you can add whatever’s available. I like a combination of super-tender cilantro and slender chives with just a hint of mint. Fresh basil with a little thyme and oregano is another route to take.

The seasoning will keep in the refrigerator in a covered container for several days. If making in advance, add the fresh lime juice at the last minute so the acid doesn’t cause the herbs to brown.

Turn the seasoning into a marinade for grilled chicken halves for a stunning presentation. Cooking the chicken under a weight, such as a cast-iron skillet or foil-covered brick, speeds up the cooking and ensures golden skin. Stir some of the green seasoning into mayonnaise and yogurt for a table sauce to serve with the chicken.

Green broccoli with the green herb seasoning is also a winning combination. Stir the combo into warm quinoa for a garden-fresh side or pile it over baby arugula for an attractive meatless main.

Green Herb Seasoning and Marinade

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 2 cups packed baby arugula (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 cup loosely packed small tender cilantro sprigs (about 1 ounce), or fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed chopped fresh chives (about 1 ounce)
  • 2 green onions, trimmed, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, or a combination of fresh oregano and thyme
  • 1 or 2 small hot green chiles, stemmed, seeded, chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons agave syrup or light honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon wasabi, optional
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Put everything except lime juice into a blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup water and process until nearly smooth. Adjust with a little water, if needed, so the mixture is the consistency of thin mayonnaise. Taste for salt and sugar. Refrigerate covered up to three days.

Stir in lime juice shortly before using.

Green Herb Grilled Chicken

Makes 6 servings

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups mesquite or apple wood chips for grilling
  • 1 whole young chicken (about 4 pounds), or 4 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken parts such as thighs, breast halves, drumsticks
  • 3/4 cup Green Herb Seasoning and Marinade
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt or sour cream
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, chives, or a combination

Put wood chips in a bowl of water and let soak several hours or overnight.

To grill half-chickens, use kitchen shears to cut along either side of the backbone and remove it (save for making chicken broth). Use the shears to cut the chicken in half through the breastbone. Pat chicken dry.

Put chicken halves or pieces into a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup of the seasoning sauce. Use clean hands to thoroughly coat all sides of the chicken pieces. Sprinkle the chicken generously with coarse salt. Cover the bowl tightly. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

Prepare a charcoal grill and let coals burn until they are at medium heat and covered in gray ash (an oven thermometer will register 325 to 350 degrees F). Or, preheat a gas grill to medium-hot. Drain wood chips and sprinkle over the hot coals. Or, set on a double thickness of foil on the grate over the gas burner. Cover the grill to preheat the grill grates thoroughly.

Use tongs to arrange chicken, skin side up, in an uncrowded layer on the preheated grill grates. Top chicken with a heavy cast-iron skillet or foil-covered brick to weigh it down. Cover grill. Cook, without turning, for 30 minutes for chicken halves and 20 minutes for chicken pieces. Gently loosen chicken and flip. Move pieces around as necessary to adjust for hot spots and so chicken cooks evenly without excess browning. Replace the weight on the chicken. Cover the grill and continue cooking until the juices run clear, 15 to 20 minutes more.

While the chicken cooks, mix remaining seasoning sauce with mayonnaise and yogurt. Season to taste with salt.

Transfer cooked chicken to a serving platter. Drizzle with green sauce and serve.

Quinoa With Green Herbs and Broccoli

Makes 4 to 6 servings

  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed, drained
  • 4 cups (12 ounces) broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup Green Herb Seasoning and Marinade

Put broth and garlic into a medium-size saucepan and heat to boil over medium heat. Stir in quinoa, and cover the pan tightly. Cook on low heat until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat a large pot of salted water to boil. Add broccoli and cook uncovered until broccoli is nearly tender when pierced with a knife, about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Drain. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

Spoon quinoa over broccoli. Add seasoning sauce and toss gently to mix. Serve warm.


©2022 JeanMarie Brownson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

JeanMarie Brownson is a James Beard Award-winning author and the recipient of the IACP Cookbook Award for her latest cookbook, “Dinner at Home.” JeanMarie, a chef and authority on home cooking, Mexican cooking and specialty food, is one of the founding partners of Frontera Foods. She co-authored three cookbooks with chef Rick Bayless, including “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.” JeanMarie has enjoyed developing recipes and writing about food, travel and dining for more than four decades. ©2022 JeanMarie Brownson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
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