This Salsa Fresca Chicken makes an unbelievably delicious meal full of fresh flavors. The tender chicken is seasoned with spices, then smothered in freshly made salsa and baked with rich cheese over top, for dinner that is equally wholesome and Tasty. Since it only has a few simple ingredients and is all baked in one dish, you can have Salsa Fresca Chicken prepped and to the oven in as little as 15 minutes! This recipe is delicious, healthy and a crowd pleaser, so it is perfect for both an everyday family dinner or for entertaining.
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Salsa Fresca Chicken Bake Recipe
Growing up in Texas I have that deep rooted love of Tex-mex cuisine pretty much running through my blood. If it is wrapped in a tortilla, covered in cheese or doused in salsa, chances are it is something I am dreaming of eating 98% of the time. Tex-mex doesn’t tend to be the lightest or healthiest cuisine, but this Salsa Fresca Chicken changes all that.
I will take your enchilada and raise you an easy one dish meal of this Salsa Fresca Chicken.
The ingredients are so simple, but in the end you come out with such a bang with this dish. The chicken is seasoned with the familiar spices from Tex-Mex cuisine and then smothered in fresh pico de gallo and topped with Monterey Jack cheese to finish of the Salsa Fresca Chicken. The result is all the flavor of delicious Mexican food in a light and healthy dinner.
Make sure and hop over to my Baked Chicken Fajitas too for another easy and healthy Tex-Mex dinner idea!
How to Serve Salsa Fresca Chicken
True to the roots of it’s name, Salsa Fresca Chicken is perfect with fresh and flavorful sides. There are plenty of options that allow you to find something that everyone in the family can be happy with. Serve it with one, or pick 2-3 to make a complete well rounded meal. I will share some of my favorites below, and if you have any other favorites, please let me know in the comments so I can try them out!
Traditional Serving Ideas:
- Mexican or spanish rice- I like this Spanish Rice Recipe
- Beans- black or refried are our favorites. My kiddos really love their refried beans like this!
- Sliced up inside tortillas
- With a side of mexican corn
Low Carb Serving Options:
- Cauliflower Mexican Rice– We love this recipe. I also mix it half and half with regular rice for the kids and they don’t ever know they are eating tons of veggies!
- Side salad- Try it with a creamy cilantro ranch dressing! Yum!
- With a side of grilled peppers and oninons
- On a bed of sautéed spinach or other greens
How to Make Salsa Fresca Chicken
This recipe is simple to make and packed with fresh delicious ingredients. I am going to walk you through some of the highlights of the recipe and offer my tips and preferences on how to make it. Hopefully this will answer any questions you may have on how to prepare the Salsa Fresca Chicken. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments section down below. Also, if you just want the quick version of the recipe feel free to jump down to the bottom of the post for the printable recipe card.
Salsa Fresca Chicken Ingredients
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast- If your chicken breasts are thick I recommend cutting them in half so they are more thin. This will help the chicken to cook more quickly and evenly.
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 2 cups fresh pico de gallo- I use this recipe for homemade pico de gallo here. I think it is best because the flavors are so much fresh when it is newly made and it is super easy (and fool proof!) to make! If you are short on time, you can usually find fresh pico de gallo either in the refrigerated produce section at the grocery store, or you can often but it at Mexican restaurants by the pint.
- 1 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded- I think Monterey Jack is one of the tastiest cheese out there. It can be a little more challenging to find pre-shredded sometimes but almost all stores have it at least in block form. I was able to find the Cabot brand in pre-shredded when I made this recipe.
- Fresh cilantro, chopped– This is really optional but it gives the dish a finished and beautiful look and also a little dash of freshness so I love to include it.
Salsa Fresca Instructions
You can pre cut the meat into 4 oz servings before cooking if preferred, or use chicken tenderloins instead. If you use smaller cuts of meat the cooking time will be reduced. Some people like to do this so it is easier to serve at the correct portion size.
Once you have the dish ready to go into the oven I recommend baking it on the middle rack uncovered. Every oven and climate differs, but I have found that I am almost always able to cook my chicken dishes uncovered for the entirety of the cooking time. This helps the dish to cook off additional moisture that is released while cooking and avoid being too watery in the end.
If you find that your chicken is getting more browned than you prefer, you can at that point in the cooking process loosely cover it with foil so that steam can still escape but it is shielded from the direct heat to protect it from browning more.
What to do with Salsa Fresca Leftovers
Now you very well might not have any leftovers because it is so good the family may lick their plates and go back for more. However if you do find yourself with extra Salsa Fresca Chicken at the end of the meal, you are in luck because there are lots of yummy things you can do with it.
You can store the leftovers of the chicken in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the refrigerator or up to a month in the freezer. I like to keep the Salsa Fresca Chicken leftovers in the fridge if I don’t have much, but if there is quite a bit leftover, I prefer to break it up into meal sized portions and freeze individually so I can use it for new meals throughout the month.
Here are some ideas on what to make with the leftovers:
- Salsa Fresca Chicken Salad– add chopped chicken with black beans, corn, avocado, corn chips and your favorite dressing
- Quesadillas– I love chopping up the leftover chicken and stuffing it into a tortilla with some chopped peppers and extra cheese and grilling it on both sides for an easy meal for the kids. Everyone cleans their plate on quesadilla night! You can top them with sour cream, guacamole and additional pico de gallo.
- Burrito bowls– Make up a big pot of cilantro lime rice and grill up some peppers and onions and have a build your own burrito bowl with the leftover chicken.
- Tacos– If it is Tuesday or any day shred up the leftovers and use it as the meat filling for taco night.
With all of these options you might just find yourself doubling the recipe to make sure that you have leftovers! I sincerely hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we do! If you get a chance to make it, I would love to hear about it in the comments below! It absolutely makes my day to hear that others are making and enjoying the recipes I share here on my little blog. Or if you post a picture on Instagram, make sure to tag me @easyfamilyrecipes so that I can see what you are cooking up!
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Salsa Fresca Chicken
- 2 lbs chicken breast boneless skinless
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 2 cups fresh pico de gallo
- 1 cup monterey jack cheese shredded
- Fresh cilantro chopped
- Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
- Lay the chicken flat in a large baking dish and sprinkle evenly with the cumin, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Cover chicken with the pico then top with cheese.
- Bake on middle rack for 35-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through (internal temp of 165˚F.
- Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve hot with your favorite side dish.
- You can cut the chicken in half, chunks, or use chicken tenderloins in lieu of full chicken breasts to make serving easier. Cooking time may be reduced.
- Leftovers can be placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)