Southwestern Caprese Chicken

I sometimes get asked how I make meals that are gluten free, dairy free, and still appeal to kids. Well, the truth is...I don't try to make the meals appeal to my kids, I try to help my kids appeal to the meal. In other words, I've just gotten good at tricking them into eating whatever's for dinner.

When the kids throw out the usual question (in a mildly whiny voice) of what's for dinner, I tell them what I'm making. I tell them how I'm making it. I ask what kind of seasoning or vegetable they think would taste good in it. And I sometimes have to be a little sneaky when I'm adding things that my more pickier eaters aren't so sure about.

This Southwestern inspired twist on a classic caprese is a prime example of this. When they asked what's for dinner I said, chicken. Then we started talking about the original version of this dish that involves mozzarella. However, I tell them, since we're giving Miah's tummy a break and cutting out cheese (a little cheese used to be okay, but either we over did it or for some reason she's gotten more sensitive we've had to cut cheese out.) So I ask what else we could use instead of cheese. Miah the avocado lover chimed in with the perfect solution. Avocado!

My oldest suggested salsa instead of just tomatoes because he really likes salsa. Which left us with my poor picky eater middle child refusing anything on her chicken at all. This girl of mine has quite the sweet tooth so I suggested a sweet balsamic reduction drizzled on top. She was skeptical..."vinegar? Ewww!" But I insisted and she seemed to feel better about things when she realized there was honey involved. We served our Southwestern Caprese Chicken along with some warm seasoned quinoa and a green salad. 

So dinner became a new, beautiful, tasty dish. Something the kids helped put together despite their very different preferences. And guess what? They ate it all!


Southwestern Caprese Chicken

4-6 chicken breasts (or one per person)

2 tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil

1 garlic clove

1-2 tbsp. lime juice

sea salt to taste

pinch red pepper flakes

smoked paprika, lightly dusted

1 large ripe avocado, sliced

fresh salsa or pico de gallo

fresh cilantro

Sweet Balsamic Reduction
4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. water

In a large skillet heat the oil and garlic. Pat the chicken breast dry, season with salt, red pepper flakes ,and smoked paprika and set in the pan (*regular or sweet paprika will give it a very different flavor. Smoked makes it taste a little like barbecue. Yummy!) Brown the chicken on medium-high heat for several minutes on both sides until the outside is a caramel color and the inside in no longer pink. Half way through cooking squeeze the lime juice over top the chicken.

While the chicken's working whisk together the vinegar, honey, and water in a small sauce pan. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly for a 3-5 minutes or until it is slightly reduced. Turn the heat off and allow it to cool and thicken.

Place a piece of chicken, a few slices of avocado, some fresh cilantro if you want, and a scoop of salsa or pico on each plate. Drizzle sweet balsamic reduction over top and serve right away.


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Friday, 23 April 2021

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Melissa Moore has spent years researching and implementing nutritionally-based approaches to health and wellness. Her lifelong love of food and health evolved from a hobby to a passion when her daughter was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease.

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