Starting this one off with a hot take: most dips for chicken are horrible and bland!! But, believe me when I tell you that you’ll want to dip chicken, french fries, vegetables, and anything else that’s remotely dippable in this chimichurri ranch. It is PACKED with flavor because it combines two sauces that are each super flavorful on their own. Chimichurri is intensely garlicky and vinegary, with lots of herbs and spice from red pepper flakes, too. Ranch, of course, is the creamy, fatty dressing and dip we all know and love. The two combined are insanely flavorful, almost like they were made for each other from the start!
I kept the spice blend for the chicken super simple so that it wouldn’t compete with the bold flavors of the dip; the turmeric and smoked paprika add a touch of sweetness and smoke, which are basically the only two flavors you don’t get from the chimichurri ranch itself. These skewers are perfect for a party because you can make the dip days in advance, and the chicken tenders grill up in minutes. Skewering them also makes them a perfect appetizer or handheld main dish, and guests can take as many as they want depending on their appetite!
1. What’s Chimichurri?
This is an ingredient and a sauce originally from Argentina. It’s usually served as a table condiment for topping meats, and is made of finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and red wine vinegar.
2. Don’t Overcook Your Chicken!
There’s one all too common problem with grilled chicken, and it’s that it’s usually painfully dry. Chicken tenders are especially prone to this since they’re so small, so be SURE not to overcook your chicken. If you’re never sure when your chicken is done, an instant read thermometer is a very inexpensive investment, and will tell you exactly when your chicken reaches 165°F.
3. Why Skewers?
Skewers ensure small cuts like a chicken tender don’t fall through your grill grates, and they also make this a fun, handheld recipe, perfect for appetizers, small plates, or snacking!
Smoky Chicken Skewers with Chimichurri Ranch
For the Chicken Skewers
- 2 pounds chicken breast tenders
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Vegetable oil as needed
For the Chimichurri Ranch
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup parsley tightly packed, minced
- 3 large garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons oregano leaves tightly packed, minced
- ½ tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ½ cup sour cream I used non-dairy
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Remove chicken tenders from the refrigerator and place on a plate or tray to come toward room temperature.
- Make the chimichurri ranch. In a medium bowl, whisk olive oil, herbs, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes and vinegar until well combined. Add sour cream and mayonnaise, whisk well, then taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Make the chicken skewers. Combine spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle over chicken tenders, then rub spices all over the chicken, coating them well. Thread 1 chicken tender onto each skewer, set aside.
- Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. If using a grill pan, drizzle with vegetable oil. Place skewers on grill, and cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
- Serve chicken skewers immediately, with chimichurri ranch for dipping.