This simple 20-minute chicken rice bowl is made with healthy, basic ingredients and tasty southwest flavors. Perfect for meal prep or an easy weeknight dinner. Make it tonight!
This is my 20-minute bowl of comfort. Chicken, fire-roasted tomatoes, black beans, onion, green chiles, and corn served over rice and topped with all the things that make our food souls sing (think avocado, sour cream, cilantro, big squeeze of lime, and some grated cheddar).
Simple, comforting, and tasty.
🌟 Who's ready for an easy weeknight dinner?
I'm ready. And I know you are too.
This is my go-to dinner when I haven't meal planned and the whole family is giving me that awkward silent stare around the 5:00 o'clock hour. Those probing eyes that nonverbally question whether or not this is the night that mom revolts and doesn't make dinner.
That's tomorrow night kids. Plan your take-out preferences accordingly.
But tonight, my basic pantry and freezer staples have got my back. And with minimal prep time, these southwest chicken rice bowls go from skillet to face in a quick 20-minutes.
🛒 Ingredients & suggestions
- Chicken - Something I typically keep stocked in my freezer. I use chicken breast in this recipe but if you want to save a little cash, boneless, skinless chicken thighs are a great option too.
- Corn - I always have a big bag of frozen sweet corn (from Costco) in my freezer.
- Onion - Sweet onions are my fave but any onion will do. We go through a lot of onions in our house so a bag of them can always be found in my pantry.
- Canned Fire Roasted Tomatoes - Regular diced tomatoes would also work but I love the extra flavor boost that fire roasted tomatoes offer to this chicken rice bowl. I always stock a few cans in my pantry.
- Canned Black Beans - Another essential pantry staple.
- Canned Green Chiles - Two words --> Pantry. Staple. A little can of green chiles delivers bold flavor. My family opts for mild chiles (<-- for the kids) but you can definitely crank up the heat with hot chiles.
- Rice - Brown or white, you decide. Jasmine rice is another staple I always have on hand. I actually store a big heap of uncooked jasmine rice in a food-grade 5-gallon bucket in our pantry. Since jasmine rice (as well as any other white rice like basmati or arborio) has an indefinite shelf life, why not?! I buy my rice in bulk at Costco. *Note: Unlike white rice, brown rice will turn rancid after 3-6 months.
For a full list of ingredients and quantities see the recipe card at the end of this post.
👩🍳 Don't forget about the toppings!
The toppings are what really bring these tasty bowls together for a grand halleluiah chorus. Recipes often tell us that the toppings are optional but in this case, don't cheat yourself. Put the toppings on. Just do it. Like now. #notoptional
Essential southwest chicken rice bowl toppings include:
- a big squeeze of fresh lime
- chunks of avocado
- sour cream
- grated cheese (which is not pictured because I ran out and I'm stretching out my visits to the grocery store for the sake of #stayhomestaysafe)
Once you've added all of those glorious toppings to your bowl give it a BIG stir. Allow the sour cream and fresh lime juice to work their way through all of the nooks and crannies. Let the avocado, cilantro, and cheese get right into the mix with the chicken. It will look messy. And that's okay. It's preferable. The segmented and organized chicken rice bowl below that is being cradled by my two hands only looked like that for a brief moment.
It might not be as pretty all stirred up, but it was tasty. And that's what really matters.
💭 Frequently asked questions
Absolutely! Chicken thighs would be great in this recipe! You could also use rotisserie chicken, ground chicken, or ground turkey if you'd like, being aware that the cook time may need to be adjusted slightly.
Yes, you can! Fresh corn would be absolutely delicious. You could also place a few ears of corn on the cob on the grill, get some nice grill marks, cut the corn off the cob and toss the smokey, charred corn into your chicken rice bowl. Yum!
Replace the rice with cauliflower rice. Need a recipe for how to make cauliflower rice? Check out this Slow Cooker Pineapple Pulled Pork recipe that includes recipe instructions for Cilantro Lime Cauliflower 'Rice'.
My food soul is happy. ♡
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