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Coconut Lime Chicken and Vegetables combines chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, spinach, and red bell peppers in a luscious coconut-infused sauce with fresh lime and herb flavors.
Super Flavorful and Easy Chicken Dinner
Like most people, Jack and I have often dabbled in different diets – sometimes to lose weight, other times to simply feel better because we have some sensitivities to certain foods. We both feel better following eating guidelines under the Whole30 program (you can read more about that here) – so we sometimes go back to it when we need a little bit of a reset.
This Coconut Lime Chicken and Vegetables recipe is a variation of one we first tried awhile back while on a Whole30. And it’s so good, we still make it from time to time – just because we love it – so we finally decided to share the recipe here.
All diets aside, this dish has tons of delicious flavor, and you’ll be licking your lips after every bite! A variety of vegetables and cooked chicken thighs are combined in a luscious, creamy sauce made with coconut oil and coconut cream, bone broth, lime juice and zest, plus fresh herbs and spices.
Serve it over basmati rice (if you aren’t on a Whole30), or swap in cauliflower rice to make this meal Whole30 compliant.
Why You’ll Love Coconut Lime Chicken and Vegetables
- The fresh flavors in this easy chicken thigh recipe are out of this world – especially the sauce!
- This recipe makes a generous amount, so you can feed a hungry family and still have leftovers the next day.
- If you are so inclined, without the rice, this recipe fits in a Whole30 diet.
Key Ingredients & Substitutions
- Coconut Oil – Sold in jars at most supermarkets, coconut oil is used in place of butter or other saturated oils.
- Coconut Cream – Sold in cans, this adds both flavor and creaminess to the sauce. Note that coconut cream is unsweetened – don’t confuse it with cream of coconut used in some drinks and cocktails.
- Chicken Thighs – Buy boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts can also be used in this dish but thigh meat is more moist and flavorful.
- Sweet Potatoes – We chose sweet potatoes for both the flavor and creamy consistency
- Red Onion
- Red Bell Pepper – We liked the sweetness of the red bell peppers in this dish, as well as the contrasting red color. Yellow or orange bell peppers can also be used.
- Baby Spinach
- Fresh Garlic
- Broth – Look specifically for bone broth (cans, jars, or cartons in the soup aisle) for the nutritional benefits, or you can substitute with chicken stock or beef stock. The bone broth versions have more collagen which is good for bones, joints, nails and hair.
- Herbs and spices – Kosher salt, black pepper, dried oregano, and fresh cilantro.
- Lime – Both lime zest and lime juice are used in this recipe.
- Rice – Basmati recipe, with its light texture and wonderful flavor and aroma, goes very nicely with this dish – plus it soaks up some of the sauce too. If you want to stay Whole30 compliant, swap in cauliflower rice instead.
Special Tools Needed
- Large skillet, braiser or medium Dutch oven with lid
- Cutting board and knife
- Citrus zester and juicer
- Rice cooker or saucepan with lid – to cook the rice
How do I make Coconut Lime Chicken and Vegetables?
- Begin cooking the rice as you prepare the rest of the dish (see Chef’s Tip below).
- Sear sweet potatoes, onions and bell pepper, then set aside on a plate.
- Sear the chicken thighs.
- Add back the cooked vegetables to the skillet, plus all other ingredients and stir to combine.
- Simmer 15 minutes.
- Serve over rice. You can leave the chicken thighs whole, or shred the meat and mix together with the vegetables.
Tips & Tricks
You can cook the rice ahead of time and reheat just before serving.
Or, if using a rice cooker, keep the rice in the cooker on the warm setting.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I make Coconut Lime Chicken ahead of time? Yes, this dish reheats very well.
- How do I store leftovers? Store covered and in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- How do I reheat leftovers? Reheat in a skillet, or heat individual portions in the microwave.
- Can I freeze? No, the vegetables (especially the sweet potatoes) will get mushy after being frozen and thawed.
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Basmati Rice or Cauliflower Rice, for serving (optional)
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs trimmed of excess fat
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into quarter slices, about a half inch thick
1 medium to large red onion, cut into thick strips
1 large red bell pepper, cut into thick strips
1 large garlic clove, sliced
3 ounces baby spinach
1/4 cup fresh lime juice, about 2–3 limes
1 tablespoon lime zest, about 2–3 limes
1/2 cup bone broth (or chicken stock)
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/4 cup cilantro leaves plus more for garnish
- Cook the rice or cauliflower rice, if you are planning to serve it.
- Trim chicken, pat dry and coat both sides with the salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat one tablespoon of the coconut oil in a very large skillet, braiser or medium Dutch oven over medium heat and once hot, cook sweet potato slices for about three minutes on each side, until slightly browned. Remove to a bowl or platter.
- Add another tablespoon of coconut oil and add the onions and bell pepper strips and cook for three minutes.
- Add garlic and spinach and cook just to wilt the spinach, about one minute.
- Remove all of this to the same platter or bowl as the sweet potatoes.
- Add the last tablespoon of coconut oil and sear the chicken in two batches. Cook each batch about 1-2 minutes on each side. Add to the bowl with the other ingredients.
- With the heat still on the pan, add the lime juice to deglaze then add all of the precooked vegetables and meat along with the zest, broth, coconut cream and cilantro.
- Heat to bubbling, then cover and lower heat to a slow simmer on low and cook 15 minutes.
- Remove cover and serve with the rice.
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You can serve this dish two ways:
- Leave the chicken thighs whole, or
- Remove them from the pot, shred the meat, then return to the pan.