Southwest Chicken Bowls [Spicy Chipotle]

February 14, 2024

Southwest Chicken Bowls [Spicy Chipotle]

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Southwest Chicken Bowls are loaded with fresh, wholesome ingredients! In the bowls, you’ll find chipotle-seasoned chicken, southwest-style sauteed veggies, fluffy rice, and a delicious cilantro lime crema.

Customize your bowl and add more toppings such as avocado, pickled jalapenos, shredded cheese, fried plantains, or salsa (more suggestions below)!

Southwest Chicken Bowls are perfect for meal prep and are so nutritious and delicious. They offer forty-six grams of protein per serving and are filled with vitamins and minerals. 🙌🏽

If you love high-protein chicken recipes, you’ll love my Protein Pasta Salad with Chicken!


This post includes affiliate links. When I find a product I love and use daily, I like sharing it with my readers. Sometimes I use affiliate links to earn a commission for my recommendations. I appreciate your support! 😊

I’ve been on a “bowls” kick lately. I just love a good, high-protein bowl with all the goods. I love it when acidity, salt, fat, and heat come together in an explosion of flavors!

If you are a fan of the Chipotle restaurant, then I think you’ll love these Southwest Chicken Bowls.

Whenever my husband and I make a batch of this recipe, we can eat it for dinner, then again for lunch and dinner the next day without getting sick of it. The combination of flavors and textures is just so satisfying!

Now, let’s break down each component that makes these bowls so perfect. 🙂

You can either follow the stovetop instructions on your bag of rice or try my new favorite rice cooking method: Easy Oven Baked Rice. It results in the fluffiest, most delicious rice! I highly recommend trying it!

I love the coconut rice I linked in my Shrimp Poke Bowl recipe as well. Or you can use cauliflower rice, quinoa, or another favorite as a base. Add chopped cilantro and lime juice to the rice after it’s finished cooking, and you’re all set!

Cilantro and a halved lime with a bowl of uncooked jasmine rice and a pot with water.

You can use either chicken thighs or chicken breast – the choice is yours! I prefer the taste and juiciness of chicken thighs (dark meat) but it’s hard not to want to use chicken breast due to the higher protein content (more on this below).

How to Prepare/Cook the Chipotle Chicken:

  • Place the chicken in a baking dish or on a sheet baking pan. Spray/drizzle oil (I use avocado oil but olive oil works) on both sides of the chicken. Season the chicken with chipotle chili powder, salt, and pepper.

  • Cooking the chicken in the Oven: Preheat the oven to three-hundred seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit (two-hundred-four degrees Celsius) and bake for about forty minutes.

  • Cooking the chicken in the Air Fryer: Set the chicken in the air fryer and cook at four-hundred twenty degrees Fahrenheit (two-hundred sixteen degrees Celsius) for about twenty-seven minutes

The chicken should reach an internal temperature of one-hundred sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit before eating. Once the chicken has rested and cooled a bit, dice it into cubes or slice it. Toss with a bit of the flavorful drippings from the pan (if desired)!

Ingredients for southwest chicken bowls: scallions, bell pepper, corn beans, etc.

You’ll need:

  • Oil – I like to use avocado oil because it’s versatile and has a mild, neutral flavor. It has numerous health benefits, rich in monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid, which is associated with heart health, and reduced inflammation. It also contains vitamins E and K, along with antioxidants. Olive oil or another one of your favorite oils works, too.

  • Seasonings – Bold and flavorful spices such as cumin, chipotle chili powder, and cayenne make this dish earthy and smokey with a little kick!

  • Beans – Beans are a cornerstone ingredient in Southwestern cuisine. They are versatile, have nutritional value, and have a rich flavor profile. In this Southwest Chicken Bowls recipe I use black beans; however, pinto beans, kidney beans, or navy beans are other favorites.

  • Bell Pepper – Bell peppers play a prominent role, adding vibrant color, sweet flavor, and texture. I usually try to use red and/or orange bell peppers so there is a good mix of colors in the veggie mixture!

  • Corn – Corn is a staple in Southwestern cuisine, adding sweetness and texture to dishes. You can use corn cut from the cob (I like to char it in a pan or on the grill), fire-roasted or regular canned corn, or frozen corn. Whatever is available to you!

  • Scallions – Also known as green onions or spring onions, they add a mild onion flavor to the Southwest Chicken Bowls – both cooked with the Southwest vegetables and as a garnish.

To cook the vegetables, heat a cast iron or other pan over medium/high heat. Pour in the avocado oil and once warm, stir in the cumin, chili powders, garlic powder, and onion powder and cook for ten seconds to bloom the spices. Add in the diced bell peppers, corn, beans, and scallions. Saute for about five minutes. Stir in cilantro and set aside.

Southwest chicken bowls vegetables (beans, corn, bell pepper, scallions) in a cast iron.

This cilantro lime crema recipe is from my Chorizo Breakfast Tacos with Cilantro Lime Crema recipe.

In a food processor, combine the sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, and seasonings. Blend for about 20 seconds. You can stir in a splash of milk if you prefer a thinner sauce. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve!

Cilantro lime crema ingredients (sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper, and garlic poweder) in a food processor.

Numerous toppings make the bowls even more special. You can mix and match and choose your favorites! Here are some ideas:

  • Chopped Cilantro & Scallions

  • Avocado Slices

  • Pickled Jalapenos and/or Onions

  • Guacamole

  • Pico de Gallo

  • Salsa Verdes

  • Corn Salsa

  • Baked or Fried Plantain Chips

  • Shredded Cheese (Monterey, pepper jack, colby jack, queso fresco etc.)

  • Sour Cream

  • Shredded Lettuce

  • Lime Wedges
Southwest chicken bowls close up with side of salsa verdes.

You may wonder how much protein is in a Southwest Chicken Bowl? This answer depends on the cut of chicken used. Chicken breast has fifty-four grams of protein in one breast or thirty-one grams per one hundred grams. Chicken thigh has thirteen and a half grams in one thigh or twenty-six grams per one hundred grams. Read more in the Healthline article: “How Much Protein in Chicken?”, if you’re interested!

Other than chicken, beans also add protein and are a great source of fiber-rich nutrients.

Close up shot of assembled southwest chicken bowls.

So, skip the line at Chipotle and make your own Southwest Chicken Bowls at home! Exactly the way you want them. 🙂

I’d love to hear from you! About your experience with this dish, any alterations you may have made and loved (or didn’t love), or just life and cooking in general. Please leave a question, comment, and/or review below, or get in touch via email.

Follow me on social media to stay connected and keep up with the fun! I sometimes post different recipes my husband and I make that I don’t share here on the blog, other cooking, and lifestyle tips, and more.

I hope you enjoy the Southwest Chicken Bowls!! – Jenna G.

MORE RICE BOWL RECIPES:

Assembled shrimp poke bowl recipe with sweet soy glaze in a white jar, sesame seeds, and toppings on a plate.
Shrimp Poke Bowl Recipe [Sweet Soy Glaze + Spicy Mayonnaise]

MEAL PREP RECIPE COLLECTIONS:

HEAVENLY SPICED PUBLISHED BOOKS:

15 Quick & Easy Air Fryer Appetizer Recipes on Amazon!
No Juicer? No Problem. A Beginner’s Guide to Hand Juicing for Health, Creative DIY Recipes, and Flavor Pairings on Amazon!
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Close up shot of assembled southwest chicken bowls.

Southwest Chicken Bowls.


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Jenna
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 bowls 1x

Description

Southwest Chicken Bowls are loaded with fresh, wholesome ingredients! In the bowls, you’ll find chipotle-seasoned chicken, southwest-style sauteed veggies, fluffy rice, and a delicious cilantro lime crema.


Ingredients

Units Scale

CHIPOTLE CHICKEN:

  • 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs (breast for higher protein, thighs for better flavor)
  • cooking spray or drizzled oil (I use avocado oil)
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

SAUTEED SOUTHWEST VEGGIES:

  • 1/4 cup avocado or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed if canned
  • 1 cup corn (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup scallions
  • 1/4 cup cilantro

CILANTRO LIME RICE (OR USE YOUR FAV BASE):

CILANTRO LIME CREMA:

EXTRA BOWLS TOPPING IDEAS/CUSTOMIZATIONS:

  • Chopped Cilantro/Scallions
  • Avocado Slices
  • Pickled Jalapenos and/or Onions
  • Guacamole
  • Pico de Gallo
  • Salsa Verdes
  • Corn Salsa
  • Baked or Fried Plantain Chips
  • Shredded Cheese (Monterey, pepper jack, colby jack, queso fresco etc.)
  • Sour Cream
  • Shredded Lettuce
  • Lime Wedges

Instructions

  1. Season and cook the chipotle chicken. Spray/drizzle oil on both sides of the chicken. Season the chicken with chipotle chili powder, salt, and pepper. You can either cook the chicken in a preheated 375° F/204° C oven for about 40 minutes or cook it in the air fryer at 420 degrees F for about 26 minutes. Cook in a baking dish or on a sheet baking pan. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F before eating. Once the chicken has rested and cooled a bit, dice it into cubes or slice. Toss with a bit of the flavorful drippings from the pan if desired.
    Seasoned chicken thighs on a tray for southwest chicken bowls.
  2. Cook the rice. You can follow the instructions on your bag of rice or try this Easy Oven Baked Rice recipe (double the recipe). Baked rice comes out much fluffier and less clumpy than stovetop rice – highly recommended! You can also use cauliflower rice, quinoa, coconut rice, or another favorite as a base. Add chopped cilantro and lime juice after the rice is cooked.
    Southwest chicken bowls cilantro lime rice in a pot.
  3. Saute the southwest veggies. Heat a cast iron or other pan over medium/high heat. Pour in the avocado oil and once warm, stir in the cumin, chili powders, garlic powder, and onion powder. Stir for 10 seconds to bloom the spices. Add in the diced bell peppers, corn, beans, and scallions. Saute for about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and set aside.
    Southwest chicken bowls vegetables (beans, corn, bell pepper, scallions) in a cast iron.
  4. Make the cilantro lime crema from this recipe. You can also blend in some chipotle in adobo sauce or one of the whole chipotles for an extra kick!
  5. Cilantro lime crema ingredients (sour cream, cilantro, lime juice, salt, pepper, and garlic poweder) in a food processor.
  6. Gather additional toppings and assemble. There are so many ways to customize according to your preferences (see ingredients above to choose your favorites)! Mine below has avocado slices, salsa verdes, baked plantain chips, colby jack cheese, chopped cilantro, sliced scallions, and a squeeze of lime juice. 
    Southwest Chicken Bowls assembled in a black bowl.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Category: Bowls, Main Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop, Oven
  • Cuisine: Southwestern
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