Peruvian Cilantro Green Rice, Chicken & Salsa Criolla

Do you LOVE cilantro? Well I have a delicious and authentic recipe just in time for you to impress your family this St. Patrick’s Day. Green green green!  What family wouldn’t love to see this vibrant green rice? My mom would make this frequently when we were kids, it was one of my favorites! It is basically the Peruvian version of Arroz con Pollo (rice with chicken). It gets is green color from liquified cilantro and my kids love eating green rice! It doesn’t hurt that it’s super tasty too. Try something different and I bet you’ll add it to your recipe collection.  My Mama would use a measuring cup to shape the rice into a little mound and it made me feel all fancy. Kind of fun! The Salsa Criolla is an amazing and simple puple onion salad that goes so perfectly with the rice and chicken. Soaking the onion neutralizes the strong onion flavor but I won’t lie, this does give you onion breath for daaaaayyss. Just kidding, only a couple hours. I don’t even care, it’s worth it. Even my two older boys eat the salad.  Full recipes below.




Peruvian Cilantro Green Rice & Chicken

1 1/2 cup cilantro leaves

6 skinless boneless chicken thighs (You can definitely use breasts, tenderloins or any chicken you prefer!)

Salt and pepper for chicken

3 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1/2 roughly chopped onion

2 tablespoon minced garlic

1 1/2 tsp. salt (for rice)

2 teaspoons yellow pepper paste, if desired***

4 cups chicken broth, divided

1 tsp. cumin


1/2 cup of fresh or frozen peas & carrots

1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

2 cups long-grain rice

  1. Heat up 2 Tablespoons over medium high heat, season thighs with salt and pepper and throw in pot, cook until golden brown and turn and cook until juices run clear and temp reaches 160 degrees. Remove and put aside.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, place 1/2 onion and cilantro in blender with 1/2 cup of broth and blend until liquified.
  3. Put 1 Tablespoon oil in the pot and throw in the garlic, peas and carrots, cumin, red bell pepper, salt, yellow pepper paste and rice and cook for just a couple minutes.
  4. Add in liquified cilantro and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add in 3 1/2 cups broth, stir well and taste water to confirm you have the right saltiness.
  6. Bring to boil, stir one more time and cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes until rice is tender.
  7. Service with sliced chicken thighs and Salsa Criolla.

*** Yellow pepper paste is made from a Peruvian specific yellow hot pepper, you can definitely leave it out if you don’t have it.  I get mine in a jarred form from Amazon but it’s not necessary to have this taste amazing.  It does add a little zing though.

Salsa Criolla:

To make the salsa criolla: Cut 1/2 red onion lengthwise into very thin slices, soak in salted water for 10-15 minutes. Drain, rinse and add cilantro leaves, salt, pepper, lemon juice from one lemon and one tablespoon of olive oil. If you wish, you may add finely diced jalapeño.

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