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Chili-Lime Grilled Chicken Tacos with Lime-Herb Crema

Updated: Apr 21, 2021

As we brace for yet another major snowstorm in the Northeast, I find myself longing for warmer weather and the beach! The sun, the sand, the relaxed vibe - and the food! Some of my favorite summer memories are from our family vacations to Cape May, NJ. For the past few years, every summer we pack up our bags and head to the Beach Shack. It is the cutest little hotel/motel right across from the ocean. The service is top notch and it has one of the best beach restaurants on the Jersey Shore right downstairs...the Rusty Nail.

Every year, my whole family looks forward to our trip and to our first meal at the Rusty Nail. And what do I order EVERY. SINGLE. TIME? Their grilled chicken tacos! They are fresh, light and perfect for eating on the outdoor patio along the beach. Sigh...

Since it’s going to be at least 6 more months until I can have them again, I was inspired to try and recreate the recipe on my own. While they aren’t exact, they are very reminiscent of my Rusty Nail faves. And even better, they are a quick weeknight meal. The marinade and crema are prepared ahead of time so all you need to do is grill the chicken and make your taco shells. If you want, you can skip that step and use store-bought corn tortillas. But I love them fresh and homemade. You can adjust the toppings as you like, but the crema…ooh, don’t skip it! You won't be disappointed! Fun fact: my husband hates cilantro so I use fresh flat-leaf parsley. But if you are a cilantro fan - go for it!

If you love beach food and you love tacos you MUST try this recipe with their chili-lime marinated goodness.

Chili-Lime Grilled Chicken Tacos with Lime-Herb Crema


For the chicken:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 1 tsp coconut sugar

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • Pinch oregano

  • 1 lb chicken breast (about 3 breast cut in half lengthwise to make thin pieces

For the crema:

  • 1/2 cup light sour cream

  • 1/3 cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley (if you like cilantro, use it!)

  • 2 tbs diced green chilis

  • Juice from 1 lime

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

For the tacos:

  • Corn tortillas

  • Shredded red cabbage

  • Diced avocado

  • Black beans

  • Pico de Gallo (homemade or storebought)

  • Reduced-fat shredded cheddar


  1. Prepare the marinade by combining all 8 ingredients in a bowl. Mix well. Place chicken in a ziploc bag or dish and add marinade. Cover chicken all over. Place in refrigerator for 2 hrs or at least 30 minutes.

  2. Make you crema by combining all ingredients in a bowl and stirring until creamy. Set aside or place in refrigerator until later.

  3. When you are ready to make your chicken, preheat a grill or grill pan over medium heat. Spray lightly with olive oil and add chicken. Grill until no longer pink inside, about 7 minutes per side.

  4. Make your taco shells. Using corn tortillas, CAREFULLY place over medium-low open flame on stove until crisp and slightly charred.

  5. Assemble tacos by layering cabbage, chicken, black beans, pico de Gallo, diced avocado, and cheddar. Top with crema.


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