Skip to content

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

June 4, 2014

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos involve a bit of prep work (slicing and dicing), but they are so addictively delicious! They are actually very easy to make and are worth the time that it takes.

Laura discovered the recipe and highly recommended it to me. She used ground turkey, which is sometimes easier to find than ground chicken, and said it was great.

Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos was originally published in Nordstrom Flavors An Artful Celebration of Food, by Nordstrom corporate chef,  Michael Northern. The recipe was recently recreated by the Nordstrom blogs editor,  Jeff Powell. Jeff published it, along with his beautiful professional photographs, on The Thread.

In his blog post, Jeff recommends using ground thigh meat because ground chicken that is 100% breast meat makes the filling too dry. If you can only find breast meat, he suggests grinding boneless chicken thighs in a food processor. I used Smart Chicken 95% lean ground chicken and it worked fine.

It’s really the Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette that puts these tacos over the top. As the blog post on The Thread says, it is a “bold, well-balanced dressing that’s a little sweet, a little sour and a little spicy”.

The original recipe uses corn tortillas that are fried to make taco shells. We prefer soft tacos, so I simply heated corn tortillas in a dry cast iron skillet. Hop on over to The Thread if you’d like to see how Jeff makes the taco shells.

These Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos definitely belong in my A+ Favorite Recipes category. In fact, just writing about them makes me want to make them again. Soon!


Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos


Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

(Adapted from Chef Michael Northern’s recipe in Nordstrom Flavors and Jeff Powell’s version on The Thread, a Nordstrom blog)

(print the recipe)

Serves 4 – 6


When chopping the cilantro, there is no need to first painstakingly remove the leaves from the stems. Cut the bottom part that is mostly stems off and then just chop the remaining stems with the leaves.

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

3 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon honey

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce

Pinch of kosher salt

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon light olive oil (or canola oil)

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Chicken Taco Filling

2 tablespoons light olive oil (or canola oil)

1 pound ground dark-meat chicken (turkey can be substituted)

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 cloves garlic, minced

1½ teaspoons kosher salt (if using table salt, reduce to ¾ teaspoon)

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons lime juice

1 tablespoon soy sauce (use wheat free tamari for gluten free)

Tortillas and toppings

12 corn tortillas

½ head romaine or iceberg lettuce, finely shredded crosswise

4 plum tomatoes, cored, seeded, and cut into ½-inch dice (about 1 cup)

1/3 cup finely chopped yellow bell pepper

1 cup crumbled queso fresco

Fresh cilantro springs for garnish


Toppings: Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette, diced tomatoes, lettuce, diced yellow pepper, crumbled queso fresco

Taco toppings


1. In a blender or mini food processor, blend the first 6 ingredients for the vinaigrette.

2. With the blender or food processor running, slowly add the oil in a steady stream so the vinaigrette is emulsified.

3. Add the ½ cup cilantro to the vinaigrette and process until it is well blended with just a few small flecks of cilantro. Pour into a bowl and set aside.

4. For the chicken filling, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken, ½ cup cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat as it cooks.

5. When the chicken is fully cooked (It takes 7 – 8 minutes.), add the lime juice and soy sauce. Stir well and cook until the juice and soy sauce are almost evaporated, about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

6. Using your favorite method, warm the corn tortillas. (I like to heat them 2 at a time in a dry cast iron skillet for about 20 seconds on each side. I wrap them in foil as I finish each batch to keep them warm.)

heating tortillas

7. To assemble the tacos, put some chicken filling in each tortilla; top with some lettuce and then add about 1 tablespoon of the vinaigrette. Add some tomato and yellow pepper, some cheese, and a cilantro sprig. Offer the extra vinaigrette at the table for serving.


Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos 2


6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2014 2:43 pm

    Kath, I’m so glad to see you tried these tacos and enjoyed them as much as I did. A+ Favorite for sure. Thank you for sharing the love on your blog with wonderful photos!

    • June 4, 2014 3:09 pm

      I so appreciate your comment, Jeff! It was an “aha” moment for me to realize that you recreated the recipe and took the gorgeous photos for the blog. I have updated my post to give you credit for your involvement.

      I’ll be following your blog to see what other delicious things you develop. I may have to try my hand at the Bistro Crab Bisque. It is definitely one of my favorite things at the Nordstrom Grill. 🙂

  2. June 5, 2014 11:10 am

    Wish Cilantro didn’t suck so bad. This looks tasty for sure

    • June 5, 2014 11:34 am

      This recipe is definitely for cilantro lovers, Aaron. And you’re definitely not alone in the haters club. A New York Times article says even Julia Child hated it.

  3. Candace Weixel permalink
    June 6, 2014 5:14 pm

    I love cilantro!! The fragrances of the leaves are wonderful. I just made guacamole with 2 huge Tablespoons of cilantro. Yummy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: