Gluten Free Southwest Chicken Bowls

If you love that popular chain restaurant with the “irresistible” rice bowls, you know that this started out as a copycat recipe.  I love everything about this meal- the chicken and rice, the Pico de Gallo, the beans and corn, and that chimichurri sauce!

So, I used the restaurant entree as my inspiration, but the best part of cooking at home is that you can adapt a recipe to suit your own taste and preferences.  For instance, I left out the lettuce as we eat enough salads.  I added more chicken and much less rice, because we need to balance those carbs.  I used way less salt and hold the guac please (we just don’t do avocado).

The verdict, we both really liked it, and the recipe was not difficult.

So, are you ready to cook?  Let’s break it down into easy steps.

Dinner for two

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Ingredients:

Seasoning Blend

  • 1/2 tsp. Cipotle Chile
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. onion granules

Chimichurri

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1-1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • pinch red pepper flakes

Pico de Gallo

  • 1 plum tomato, small dice
  • 1/4 cup red onion, small dice
  • 1 tbsp. jalapeno, fine dice

Cilantro Lime Rice

  • 1/2 cup white rice (uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup corn (optional)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. spice

Beans and Corn

  • 1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup corn, thawed
  • 1 tsp. jalapeno, fine dice
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

Grilled Chicken

  • 2 boneless chicken breasts, about 6 oz. each
  • olive oil
  • seasoning
  • lime juice
  • cilantro for garnish

Preparation:

Whisk together the seasoning ingredients.  This is my go-to spice blend for Mexican or Tex-Mex inspired meals.  Read more about it here.  It is bursting with flavor and brings all the components of the recipe together.  You can use as much or as little or you like.

Stir together the chimichurri ingredients.  Since I was making just a very small amount, I used kitchen shears to cut the parsley into small mince.  For a big batch, you could use an electric chopper.  Be sure to do this ahead of time so the flavors have time to meld.

For the Pico de Gallo, dice the tomato, red onion and jalapeno and stir together with a squeeze of lime juice.  You can leave it at room temperature or refrigerate.

Next cook the rice.  Allow 15 minutes cook time and 5 minutes to rest.  Just before serving, stir in chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

If using frozen corn, take it out to defrost.  Drain and rinse the beans.  In a small saucepan, stir together the corn, beans, chicken broth and jalapeno.  Warm over low heat for 5-10 minutes, then keep warm.

Now for the final step, it’s time to cook the chicken breast.  Brush each breast with olive oil and sprinkle seasoning on both sides.  Heat a grill pan over medium heat.

Cook for 8-10 minutes depending on thickness, turning halfway.

Here’s how I assembled the dinner bowls.  I sliced the chicken breast and arranged it down the center of each bowl.  I added a scoop of rice, Pico de Gallo, beans and corn.  I topped everything off with a sprinkle of seasoning and a squeeze of lime juice.  Each bowl was garnished with fresh cilantro and a lime wedge.  I served the chimichurri on the side.

Notes ♪♫ Over the last few years we have drastically cut back on going out to eat.  Initially due to Covid, and now due to rising prices.  The silver lining- when you cook from scratch at home, you have full control over your food and ingredients.  You will not have to weigh the risk of ordering from the “Gluten Sensitive” or “Gluten Friendly” menu or worry if kitchen and serving staff are trained to understand gluten free.  These bowls are absolutely, positively safe and delicious!

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Cilantro Lime Shrimp Bowls

Cilantro Lime Shrimp Bowls are bursting with vibrant color and flavor!  Rice bowls are turning up on restaurant menus everywhere, and many are gluten free.  I’ve been wanting to make something like this at home and today was my first attempt.  The ingredients are simple but flavorful.  A light and refreshing meal, perfect for summer evenings!

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2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1/3 cup corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1 lb. shrimp (about 14 large), peeled and deveined
  • 1 lime
  • 8 slices zucchini, cut into half moons
  • 8 slices summer squash, cut into half moons
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. chipotle chili
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. onion granules
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preparation:

  1. Whisk together 1/4 tsp. chipotle chili, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. onion granules, 1/4 tsp. oregano.  This mixture will be used to season the shrimp and veggies.
  2. Cut the lime in half.  Slice one half for serving and reserve the other half for juicing.
  3. Combine the white rice, corn, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan.  Season with 1/4 tsp. oregano, 1/8 tsp. salt.  Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Slice the zucchini and summer squash and cut slices into half-moons.  Toss with olive oil and 1/4 tsp. of the seasoning mixture.
  5. Defrost the shrimp (if frozen) by running under cool water.  Peel and devein, then toss with olive oil and 1/4 tsp. of the spice blend.

6. Preheat a griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium flame and brush with oil.  Cook the squash and shrimp for 8 minutes, turning once.  Finish with a squeeze of lime juice.

7. Stir 1 tbsp. chopped cilantro into the rice.  To plate, divide the rice mixture between 2 serving bowls.  Arrange half the shrimp and squash beside the rice.

8. Sprinkle with more spice, and garnish with fresh cilantro and lime slices.

Notes ♪♫ This Mexican Spice Blend is my “go-to” for dishes like this one.  No need to buy more expensive blends when you can easily stir this together from individual ingredients that can be used in other recipes.

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