Lunch doesn’t have to be a boring affair. True, if you having to transport your lunch to work or school, your choices are somewhat limited, but at the weekend, or if you are lucky enough to be at home, you can really pull out the stops and create something which is not only delicious but quick, easy to make and pretty healthy as well! A Cajun chicken burger fits the bill on all counts!
Crisp and flavor-filled grilled chicken fillets, topped with a crisp and creamy slaw, all sandwiched between garlic toasted soft fresh ciabatta rolls. You can’t go wrong! Simple ingredients done well win every time with me!!
You will find nothing too out of the ordinary here ingredient-wise. Chicken breast fillets, a tasty mix of seasonings and spices, minced garlic, crisp red cabbage, baby gem lettuce, sweet carrot, Greek yogurt, a fresh lime, and some fresh Italian Ciabatta rolls toasted with garlic butter.
Very simple, and they are very quick to make once you have all of the ingredients assembled and the elements of the recipe put together!
These sandwiches are a great way to make a little bit of chicken stretch further, and are a fabulously delicious way to get your children to eat several of their five a day! I don’t know if your children are like mine, but if you put something between a roll and call it a burger, they get really excited about eating it!
For four chicken burgers, you will need two boneless, skinless chicken breast portions. I like to buy the best chicken that I can afford. I always go free-range organic, as well as corn-fed if I can get it.
To me they just taste better, and I like knowing that the food I am eating has been humanely raised. I understand that not everyone has that option, but if you can afford it, I say go for it.
For these Cajun chicken burger, you will need to cut each fillet in half crosswise so that you end up with four thick pieces of chicken meat. You place these pieces between two sheets of wax paper or plastic cling film and pound them lightly to an even thickness throughout.
These Cajun Chicken Burger would be better with a tasty dessert on the side. Check out Marie’s Blueberry Pancake Bites with a Creamy Lemon Dip.
I use a heavy rolling pin to do this. The risk of tearing the chicken using a rolling pin rather than a meat pounder is a lot less. You don’t need to use a lot of force. Just a light pounding does the job perfectly.
A nice mix of spices and seasonings are used to flavor the chicken. Cajun flavors including ground cumin, smoked paprika, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, and some salt and black pepper. Cajun flavors are known to be quite spicy and a bit on the hot side.
If you are not overly fond of heat you can be a bit more judicious in using the cayenne pepper. I, myself, never use the full teaspoon. That’s far too hot for my taste.
Just mix all of the spices and seasonings together in a bowl and then add the chicken pieces, rolling them in the spices and coating them evenly on all sides. You can then place them onto a plate and set them aside in the refrigerator while you prepare the coleslaw ingredients.
This is a very simple basic slaw. I used crisp red cabbage which I like to shred very thinly by hand, using a sharp knife. Don’t be tempted to use a grater for this, as your cabbage will be a bit too fine if you do that, plus grating releases too much of the cabbage juices and will risk the color of your slaw becoming a bit unappealing.
Just use a sharp knife and cut it as thinly as you can. I do grate the carrot using my box grater. I also hand shred the baby gem lettuce with a sharp knife into thin shreds.
Baby Gem is a type of lettuce here in the UK which is very similar to Romaine lettuce but much smaller in size and with a slightly bitter flavor. If you cannot get Baby Gem, feel free to substitute hearts of Romain Lettuce, knife shredded, or even the equivalent of Chinese Cabbage which would also work well. You will need about 2 cups altogether of the lettuce and cabbage, and half again as much of the carrot.
The dressing for the slaw is also very simple. The juice and finely grated zest of one lime, Greek yogurt, salt, pepper and garlic.
Lets talk about the lime for a minute. If you can get them, try to use an unwaxed lime. I know these are not always available, but whether it is unwaxed or not, do make the extra effort to wash them really well before you zest them.
Much of the fruit we buy has been treated with pesticides. You really don’t want to be eating pesticides or bacteria for that matter. This isn’t a problem if you are only using the juice of a fruit or the insides, but when you are going to be using the peel, you really want to make sure that they are scrupulously clean.
Already thinking about dinner? Why not try some Beef Tips with Mushroom Gravy?
You can do this by scrubbing them with a plastic scrubber in warm soapy water. Just scrub them really well without bruising them, then rinse them in some warm water to wash any soap off, finally drying them with a soft cloth. You never know what is on the peel or outside of a fruit. I always say better safe than sorry.
I always use my fine micro-plane grater to zest my fruit. It gets the peel the perfect size without taking any of the pith, which can be rather bitter.
I don’t add my dressing to the coleslaw until just before I go to assemble my burgers. That way none of the vegetables get soggy. So just whisk the dressing ingredients together and set it aside until you need it.
For my rolls, I used frozen partially baked Ciabatta rolls which I then baked at home. They were really lovely and fresh, and not overly large. You don’t want to overwhelm your chicken with too much bread.
I would say mine were about 3 inches square in total, just the perfect size. You could also cut larger ciabatta rolls in half to about the same size. I sliced the ciabatta in half through the middle horizontally and then spread them lightly with some garlic butter, which I had made myself.
I simply stirred some crushed garlic and parsley through some softened butter. The amount of garlic you use is up to you and depends on how garlicky you want them to be.
For this number of rolls, I would use 1 small clove of garlic. I toasted my buns, just on the cut sides, under a heated grill/broiler. I only lightly toast them so that they maintain some of their lovely softness. You don’t want them to become hard.
Now that you have all of your elements ready to go, it is time to cook your chicken. There are three ways you can do this. In the warmer, summer months you could cook them outside on an outdoor grill. In the winter months, you can either use a heated grill pan or, like me, use an electric grill. All work very well.
My electric grill is a bit on the small side, but it was the perfect size for cooking these. On an electric grill they are being cooked from both sides at once, so bear this in mind when you are timing the cooking time.
Mine took about 5 minutes altogether. The main criteria, no matter how you choose to cook them, is that the chicken is thoroughly cooked through and that no pink juices remain. In a grill pan, or on an outdoor grill, this will take approximately 4 minutes per side. The inside temperature should read 165*F.
You can toss the slaw vegetables together with the dressing now, making sure that they are well combined. I just do it with my hands. You can’t do much better than to use the tools God gave you for this!
Now that you have all of the elements ready it is time to assemble your delicious burgers. Place the toasted bottoms of the bun halves on a plate, and top each with a piece of that fabulously flavored grilled chicken.
Top the chicken with a healthy portion of the slaw. As you can see, I am very generous with this. I think a good burger should always be a bit messy to eat! End with popping the top of the grilled buns on over the slaw, grilled side down and that’s it!! Your delicious burgers are done now and ready to serve!
I served these cajun chicken burger the other day with some lightly salted potato chips on the side. You could use baked ones to be a bit healthier or go completely healthy and use vegetable chips!
You could also serve raw vegetable sticks on the side. One thing for sure is your family won’t be complaining when you set a fabulously tasty cajun chicken burger down in front of them! Quick, easy, delicious and healthy! You don’t get much better than that!
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets
- 1 TBS ground cumin
- 1 TBS smoked paprika
- 1 TBS ground coriander
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- Pinch each of fine sea salt and black pepper
For the slaw:
- 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
- ¼ of a small head of red cabbage, shredded
- 1 head of baby gem lettuce, shredded
- 3 TBS plain Greek yogurt
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- The juice and zest of one lime
You Will Also Need:
- 4 fresh ciabatta rolls to serve
- 4 TBS garlic butter
Cut each chicken breast in half to give you two pieces. Pound the chicken breast halves between two pieces of cling film or wax paper until they are an even thickness. Mix together all of the spices and then roll each piece of chicken in them until they are evenly coated.
Put the carrot, cabbage and lettuce into a bowl. Whisk together the yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper, and juice and zest of the lime. Add this dressing to the vegetables and toss together to coat the vegetables thoroughly.
Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush lightly with oil. Add the chicken breasts. Grill on both sides until golden brown and cooked through. (Inside temperature of the chicken should measure
165*F) Remove from the grill pan and allow to sit for a few minutes so that the juices settle.
While the chicken is resting, cut your ciabatta buns in half and spread the cut sides with some garlic butter. Heat the broiler of your oven to high. Pop the buns onto a baking tray, buttered sides up. Pop under the heated broiler. Grill until just golden brown. Remove.
Place one cooked chicken breast onto each ciabatta bun bottom, toasted side up. Top each chicken breast with a portion of slaw and then place the top bun on top, toasted side down. Serve immediately with your favorite sides.
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- Traditional English Yorkshire Pudding Recipe
Marie Rayner is a retired Chef, freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and Cookbook author. She makes her home in Chester, UK, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their much beloved English Cocker, Mitzie. Her motto is “Life is far too short to eat bad food,” and her goal is to share delicious and easy recipes which anyone can enjoy and cook in the comfort of their own home.