Grilled Lemon Chicken

This is the juiciest & most flavorful grilled lemon chicken I have ever made. Packed with charred vegetables, a briny lemon vinaigrette, serve this chicken on a dollop of labneh for a grilled dinner that will keep your friends and family asking for more.

a blue and white transferware plate with grilled chicken sliced on a diagonal on top of a bed of roasted vegetables and a smear of greek yogurt

Just the facts:

  • Total Time to make this recipe: 25 hours 15 minutes Labneh- 24 hours, prep time- 30 minutes, grilling time 20-30 minutes, resting time 15 minutes.
  • Time saver short cut- use Greek yogurt or store bought Labneh- times savings- 24 hours
  • Dietary notes: grain free, Keto friendly, diabetic friendly, high protein, high fiber
  • Equipment needed– cheesecloth, bowl, grill, instant read thermometer, sharp knife, heavy foil, metal pan, grilling utensils
a plate of grilled chicken and vegetables on a bed of greek yogurt or labneh

Ingredients in this recipe:

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • nectarines
  • red and orange bell peppers
  • asparagus- thick
  • large purple onion
  • lemons
  • garlic
  • dill, flat leaf parsley, rosemary and thyme
  • 5% fat Greek yogurt or Labneh
  • salt & pepper
  • flakey sea salt
  • smoked paprika
  • garlic powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • olive oil
a dark metal tray filled with chopped peppers, onions and asparagus

What is Labneh and how to make it:

  • Labneh is nothing more than a Mediterranean condiment of salt and greek yogurt that is strained for 24 hours to remove excess moisture.
  • It is creamy, slightly salty and tangy. It adds a ton of protein to any meal and makes for a great spread instead of bar-b-que sauce to make your summer grilling a lot healthier.
  • I take a few pieces of cheesecloth, plop 1 cup or more of greek yogurt mixed with 1 tsp kosher salt and place it over a bowl. Cover tightly with plastic and chill for 24 hours. Liquid will seep through the cheesecloth creating an extra thick and creamy labneh. Store in the fridge until needed.
  • If you do not have time to strain this overnight, even an hour or two in the fridge will make the yogurt extra thick.
  • OR Buy Labneh in the organic refrigerated section or cheese section of your grocery store. Here are a few brands I like: Dairy-free version: Cocojune, Karoun, Cedar.
  • Once you make the labneh, it will last in the fridge up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.

7 great items to serve with this dish:

  1. Blistered Shitshito Peppers
  2. Homemade pita chips
  3. Raw Carrot Salad
  4. Tropical Fruit Salad
  5. 30-Minute Roasted Feta and Lentil Bowl
  6. Grilled Pita Bread
  7. Grilled Naan Bread
two chicken breasts in a pan of olive oil and coated with fresh herbs

Quick summary on how to make this grilled lemon chicken:

  1. Strain the greek yogurt overnight. Add smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper to labneh ( strained greek yogurt).
  2. Marinate the chicken in olive oil, smoked paprika, garlic powder and chopped herbs.
  3. Chop vegetables and fruit into large pieces, add olive oil and seasonings to coat
  4. Pre-heat grill to 400 degrees
  5. Grill vegetables and chicken until done- check with instant read thermometer.
  6. Grill bread with a touch of olive oil and salt
  7. Make a vinaigrette with lemon juice olive oil garlic, seasonings and herbs. Blend until emulsified
  8. Spread labneh on the plate, top with vegetables and chicken- pour vinaigrette over the chicken and serve with grilled bread.
a blue and white plate with a smear of greek yogurt

Special equipment needed for this recipe:

  • Blender or jar for vinaigrette
  • Grill
  • Cheesecloth for straining the greek yogurt/labneh
  • Heavy duty foil
  • Instant-read thermometer – buy my favorite here
  • Brush for the olive oil
grilled chicken and vegetables on a tray

Let’s talk about the importance of temping chicken-

Cooking boneless skinless chicken breasts on the grill often results in a piece of meat you have to drown in BBQ sauce because it is so dry. No-one wants to give their friends and family food poisoning, so we tend to overcook chicken. I’m here to liberate you from dry chicken breast forever. Buy and use an instant-read digital thermometer.

According to the USDA, chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165. But anyone who knows about heat and cooked food, knows food continues to cook after it is removed from the oven or the grill. Temp your chicken and remove it just shy of 165 and place on a warm metal baking sheet, cover tightly with foil and let it rest 10 minutes. The heat inside the chicken will continue to cook it to 165 degrees. No more dry chicken.

Slice the chicken on the diagonal, add the vinaigrette and serve warm.

Temp your chicken!

grilled chicken on a plate of vegetables and labneh

Pro- tips:

  • Make the labneh a few days in advance.
  • Trim all the chicken the same thickness so they cook at the same amount of time.
  • Make the vinaigrette a day in advance.
  • Buy and use firm nectarines so they do not get too mushy on the grill.
  • Use a mesh or wire vegetable basket to keep your veggies from falling into the flames of your grill.

Grilled Lemon Chicken

Recipe by Meggen Arthur Wilson
Course: MainCuisine: MediterraneanDifficulty: moderate
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

24

hours 
Cooking time

30

minutes
Calories

540

kcal
Total time

24

hours 

30

minutes

Try this mouthwatering grilled lemon chicken recipe. Packed with charred veggies and a tangy lemon vinaigrette, set on a bed of creamy labneh, it’s a perfect summer dish.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 cup olive oil

  • 2 large nectarines, sliced in half, pitted

  • 3 large red and orange bell peppers, seeded, stems removed, cut into thirds,

  • 10 stalk asparagus- thick- ends removed, cut into thirds

  • 1 large purple onion, peeled, cut into 2″ thick rounds

  • 2 large lemons, outer peel removed and chopped fine

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine

  • 1/2 cup dill, flat leaf parsley, rosemary and thyme, chopped

  • 16 ounces 5% fat Greek yogurt or Labneh

  • 3 tsp kosher salt , divided

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 1 tsp flakey sea salt

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika, divided

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

  • 2 TBSP olive oil, for bread

  • 1 package Naan bread or pita bread

Directions

  • For the labneh:
  • Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium size bowl, Add a few layers of cheesecloth to the strainer. Mix 1 tsp of kosher salt and 1/2 tsp smoked paprika with the greek yogurt. Place yogurt mixture in the cheesecloth. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Chill 24 hours. Drain away the excess liquid in the bowl. Place strained yogurt/labneh in a bowl- chill until needed. This mixture keeps up to 2 weeks in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • For the vinaigrette:
  • In the bowl of a blender or a jar with a tightly fitted lid, add 1/2 cup olive oil, juice of 2 lemons, the finely chopped peel of 1 lemon, 3 cloves of garlic, 1 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp pepper. Blend or shake until oil is fully emulsified and the vinaigrette is thick. Set aside.
  • For the grilled vegetables and chicken
  • Place chicken in a deep pan. Toss with 2 TBSP olive oil, remaining smoked paprika, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, cayenne pepper and garlic powder and 1/2 of the chopped herbs. Cover with plastic and let rest for 30 minutes while you prepare the vegetables and the grill. Place chopped vegetables in another pan. Coat well with 2 TBSP olive oil, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Keep onions intact- do not separate into individual rings. Set aside.
  • Pre-heat your grill to 400 degrees. Wipe down grill grates with paper toweling soaked in vegetable oil.
  • Place chicken on the grill and cook for 10 minutes. Flip and cook until the internal temperature reads 160-163 degrees. About another 10-15 minutes. Place chicken in a clean metal pan or baking sheet. Cover tightly with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • Place vegetables and nectarines on the grill over the indirect heat, but near the chicken, and let char slightly on each side. Flip after 3 minutes to have grill marks on both sides. Remove after 5-7 minutes once peppers have softened slightly. Asparagus may need only a few minutes to cook. Use a spatula to remove onions and fruit to keep them intact as much as possible. Use tongs to remove asparagus and peppers. Place on a cutting board and chop into large pieces. Cut nectarines into wedges. They will be slightly jammy. Cover and keep warm until bread is finished.
  • Brush naan or pita bread with olive oil . Grill for 1 minute on each side until grill marks are achieved. Slice into long strips and sprinkle with flakey sea salt.
  • To Serve: Slice chicken on the diagonal. Place a large smear of labneh on each plate, sprinkle with remaining herbs. Top with vegetables and sliced chicken. Pour vinaigrette over top of each plate.

Notes

  • Giving credit where credit is due: I found this gorgeous recipe on Primal Gourmet’s Instagram. In his version, he used only rosemary, but I love herbs and wanted more Summertime freshness. His vinaigrette called for red wine vinegar, but I feel the brininess of the lemon packs tons of flavor and the vinegar is not needed. He also called for toasted almonds, but it added another step, another pan to wash- so my version does not have nuts. He also used zucchini in his recipe but I adore nectarines and peaches and thought they added a gentle amount of sweetness to the recipe.

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4 Comments

  1. Dahlia A. says:

    You had .me at Greek Yogurt 😀 this is a must try for sure.

  2. Kevin Foodie says:

    The lemon grilled chicken is a perfect dish for July 4th. The labneh adds a unique touch to the dish. Thanks for this awesome lunch or dinner idea. It’s looks delicious.