Inspired by our favorite restaurant Southwest bowls, this recipe makes an easy, healthy meal for busy nights. Chicken and rice bowls are loaded with protein, grains, and veggies to fill you up without weighing you down.
Some nights are just packed with activities, from work events to kids’ sports. Getting everyone around the table for a healthy meal can feel impossible. These Southwest bowls are made for busy nights!
Ingredients are easy to meal prep ahead of time, and the recipe itself is super flexible. Everyone can build their bowl to order based on their flavor preferences and what is leftover in your refrigerator!
It didn’t take many visits to Applebee’s and Moe’s for me to realize that this chicken and rice bowl recipe could be made as easily in my kitchen as my mild taco seasoning. We usually have most of the ingredients on-hand as normal pantry staples. Plus, this Southwestern chicken bowl recipe is a fantastic way to use up leftover rice or chicken from a previous meal!
How to Make Southwest Bowls
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Stir together your taco seasoning, salsa, and sour cream, then set the mixture aside for later.
STEP TWO: Split the cooked rice between 4 bowls. Top with cooked chicken, corn, black beans, peppers, and cheese.
STEP THREE: Top each Southwest chicken bowl with sauce and serve!
What to Serve with a Southwest Bowl
- Air Fryer Corn on the Cob
- Air Fryer Avocado Fries
- Air Fryer Rice
- Ninja Foodi Rice
- Air Fryer Grilled Chicken
Variations for Southwest Bowls
- Meal prep your Southwest chicken bowl for lunch during the week. Make rice, chicken, black beans, and veggies ahead of time, then portion them into bowls. Just add the sauce after heating up your lunch.
- Want to change it up? Switch out your rice for quinoa or a rice and quinoa blend. You’ll get the same Southwest bowl flavor with more wholegrain texture and flavor.
- If you are a vegetarian and prefer a meatless Southwest bowl, quinoa and some extra black beans will give you a nice dose of protein and fiber in your burrito bowl.
- Add fresh avocado to your bowl! It really takes it to the next level!
- Do you have leftovers after you serve your Southwest bowls? Pile them into a tortilla for a quick, healthy chicken burrito the next day.
- Grilling on the weekend? Throw a few chicken breasts on the grill, then pop them in the fridge for the week. You’re halfway done with your Southwest bowl meal prep already!
- Don’t like black beans? We like the taste of lentils and white beans in this Southwestern bowl recipe as well.
What Are Southwest Chicken Bowls?
Southwest chicken bowls are a great solution for healthy eating. Each Southwest bowl starts with a base of fluffy, cooked rice and is topped with a combination of chicken, vegetables, and black beans.
Then, each chicken and rice bowl is topped with an easy sauce that is beyond delicious and brings the whole dish together!
How Do You Cook Corn For A Southwest Chicken Bowl?
No need to cook corn separately for this Southwestern chicken bowl recipe — simply open up a can and call it a day!
However, it is also delicious to slice freshly grilled or roasted corn off the cob for these bowls. I’ve even used leftover air fryer corn on the cob in a pinch!
Can I Use Leftover Chicken In Southwest Bowls?
Absolutely — the only rule is your chicken needs to be cooked. If I know this recipe is in my meal plan, I cook extra chicken earlier in the week.
Then, all I have to do is dice it up when I’m making each chicken and rice bowl. You can also use rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to save extra time.
Other Southwest-Inspired Recipes You’ll Love:
- Southwest Chicken Wrap
- Chicken Fajita Wrap
- Leftover Steak Fajitas
- Carne Asada Quesadilla
- Instant Pot Chicken Taco Bowls
- Avocado Crema
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ cup salsa
- 4 cups cooked white rice (about 1.5 cups raw)
- 2 cups diced chicken, cooked
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 can corn, drained
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup shredded tex mex cheese or Mexican cheese
- Lime wedges
- In a small bowl stir together the taco seasoning, sour cream, and salsa; set aside
- divide the white rice in the bottom of 4 bowls, then top each with an even amount of chicken, black beans, corn, pepper and cheese
- Add the sauce, toss when ready to eat, and serve with lime wedges (optional)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 777Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 128mgSodium: 1546mgCarbohydrates: 85gFiber: 12gSugar: 8gProtein: 38g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.