(Healthy) Piri Piri Chicken

Forget Nando’s, this is better and healthier for you

For all the frustration and worry caused by going into lockdown, I never understood why some people made such a fuss about no longer being able to visit their favourite fast food joints. But it prompted some to discover how easily they could recreate their favourite convenience meals at home, and also realise how much these joints were having their pants down in terms of what they were being charged for the quality of food being served – not to mention the higher calories!

Piri Piri Chicken from Justine Pattison is a lighter take on a Nando’s institution and it tastes damn good. But you must remember to follow the golden rules to create the authentic piri piri taste. Firstly, you must marinade the chicken for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight to allow for the flavours to intensify. Secondly, and above all, make sure you use proper hot chillies like red bird’s eye instead of regular ones otherwise your food will be lacking the heat you crave.

This is great with a big side salad or some naughty chippies / potato wedges on the side.

Recipe: Piri Piri Chicken

Calories: 220 per serving

Serves: 4

Book: Justine Pattison: Without the Calories – Takeaway Favourites

Prep time: Approx 15 mins

Cooking time: Approx 25 mins


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (each about 175g)
  • Oil for spraying or brushing
  • 1 large red onion (cut into thin wedges)
  • 4 short cherry tomato vines

Piri Piri Marinade:

  • 3 red bird’s eye chillies (sliced)
  • 3 garlic cloves (halved)
  • 20g fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt

Cost per portion: Approx £1.81


To make the marinade, put the chillies, garlic, parsley with its stalks, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, paprika, oregano, sugar and salt in a small food processor and blitz until well combined and chopped up very finely.

Slash each chicken breast 3-4 times with a knife and place in a large, non-metallic bowl. Pour over the marinade and turn the chicken until well coated. Cover the dish with cling film, then leave to marinade for at least 4 hours or ideally overnight.

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C / Fan 190 degrees C / Gas 6 ½ . Take the chicken out of the bowl and place it on a lightly oiled baking tray. Roast the chicken for 10 minutes before adding the red onion and tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through (there should be no pinkness remaining).


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