Our easy Southwest chicken bowl is one of our favorite easy weeknight meals to make because it tastes so amazing, it's healthy AND it is economical. The trifecta! The flavors from lime and southwest seasoning are so good and this weeknight chicken rice bowl is one that can be made in under an hour (including marinating time). I highly suggest you try this recipe and get it on your weeknight meal rotation ASAP.
About This Easy Weeknight Dinner
This southwest chicken bowl makes the perfect easy weeknight recipe and it is on rotation often at our house. It has an American Southwest spice along with fresh lime juice which imparts the most amazing flavor.
The marinating time when making the Southwest chicken will only take about 20-30 minutes depending on how much time you have. While the chicken marinates, you can prepare the rice and beans portion of the recipe.
Pinto beans in this chicken rice bowl
Now, let's talk about the beans! We love fresh beans but for an easy weeknight meal we often turn to canned beans for our chicken bowls.
For this Southwest bowl, canned pinto beans are jazzed up with spices and tomato paste and taste like they have been cooking all day. They are really delicious. I love pinto beans so much and even make an entire pinto bean salad with them.
We love adding extra flavor to canned beans and if you've tried our popular Spanish black beans or our cannellini beans with pancetta, you will know this method works!
- Boneless chicken breasts. I like to slice the chicken breast in half length wise so that the chicken cooks faster.
- Basmati rice. If you want a delicious fluffy in your chicken bowl, basmati is the best rice to use.
- Canned pinto beans. You can also use any variety of canned pink beans (kidney beans, pink beans, etc.)
- Southwest spice mix (kosher salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, chili powder, garlic powder, coriander). This spice mix is used in the chicken marinade and to season the beans. It's so good!
- Limes. For the marinade and for serving.
- Tomato paste. A little is used to create a richness with the pinto beans.
You do not need to have every single spice listed for the southwest spice mix, use what you have on hand. It will come out amazing either way.
For the beans, if you do not have tomato paste you can substitute finely diced tomatoes. Just add the tomatoes to the beans when the recipe states tomato paste.
Substitutions for these Southwest Chicken Bowls
When making these chicken bowls, if you do not have all of the spices for the Southwestern spice mix, you can easily use what you have on hand. The great thing about this spice mix is most people will have these spices in their pantry.
If you would prefer to make this chicken bowl even more healthy, you can substitute quinoa for the rice or any other high protein grain. You could also use a fish like salmon in place of the chicken and it would be amazing.
This really easy and healthy chicken bowl is so much better that what you can buy and the perfect quick weeknight meal.
Additions and Toppings Ideas
I always plan meals around what is the minimal amount needed for the meal to taste amazing. This does not mean that additional toppings are not welcome with these chicken and rice bowls.
If you want to pull off the whole Chipotle chicken bowl instead of eating out, go ahead and add your favorite toppings like shredded cheese, pico de gallo and avocados.
Roasted salsa, poblano cream sauce, fresh corn or sour cream are great additions too. Enjoy these Southwest chicken bowls as is or make it your own 🙂
More really easy weeknight chicken recipes
If you love this easy southwest chicken bowl recipe, you will love these really easy recipes too:
Absolutely. Just follow the recipe the same and know that you may need to add a little cooking time for the chicken thighs.
You can make these chicken and rice bowls low carb by substituting cauliflower rice for the rice in the recipe. You could also omit the rice completely and serve the chicken over the beans.
Easy Southwest Chicken Bowls
Tried the Recipe? We Would Love To Hear From You In The Comments Below!
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 limes
- 15 ounces pinto beans canned or fresh
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste you can substitute with a small finely chopped tomato.
- ½ cup water for the beans
- 2 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon Sweet paprika
- ½ tablespoon Chili Powder
- ½ teaspoon Black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon Cumin Powder
- ⅛ teaspoon Coriander
- 1 cup basmati rice Or any long grain rice
Making the Rice
- Grab the rice recipe here.1 cup basmati rice
Making the Southwest Spice Mix
- Add all the ingredients for the spice mix into a small bowl and mix well.1 tablespoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon Sweet paprika, ½ tablespoon Chili Powder, ½ teaspoon Black pepper, ½ teaspoon Garlic powder, ½ teaspoon Onion powder, ¼ teaspoon Cumin Powder, ⅛ teaspoon Coriander
Marinating the Chicken
- Slice your chicken breasts in half lengthwise making 2 thin chicken breasts out of one.3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Add chicken breasts to a large sealable bag or in a shallow flat bottom bowl.
- Squeeze the juice of one of the limes over the chicken.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the chicken.
- Add ¾ of the spice mix to the chicken.
- Seal the bag and mix the chicken around in the marinade and then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
Making the Beans
- Rinse and drain the canned beans.15 ounces pinto beans
- Add beans to a small pan over medium low heat.
- Add tomato paste, water and remaining spice mixture.½ cup water, 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Heat for 5 minutes over a gentle simmer then remove beans from the heat and cover.
- Pre-heat a grill pan or large flat bottom pan over medium heat.
- Once pan is hot, add a little olive oil to the pan.
- Place chicken in the pan and pour the remaining marinade over the chicken then cook for 5 minutes on the first side.
- Flip the chicken and cook for another 4 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Remove chicken from the heat and let rest for a few minutes.
- Once rested, slice the chicken into thin strips.
- Add cooked rice to bowl.
- Place a couple spoonfuls of beans over the rice.
- Add chicken over the rice.
- Serve with a lime wedge for squeezing over the meat.
Nutrition Values are estimates only.See full nutrition disclaimer here
Everyone really enjoyed this chicken bowl 🙂
I am so glad to hear that 🙂
Easy and very tasty!
I am glad you enjoyed it!
Everyone really enjoyed this. The spices in this chicken bowl were so good. A really great recipe