I’ve been talking about this bowl for LITERALLY months and kept saying I was going to share it and haven’t. But, I’m hoping that if you read my recent post on what life has been like in my house for the past few months, that you will be able to forgive my tardiness on getting this delicousness up here on the blog.
But, I promise it is so good that it is worth the wait (to me, anyway).
I am not exaggerating when I say that I’ve eaten this for lunch almost daily for…..3 months now? And I’m not tired of it.
I’ll like, intentionally take a week off and have something else to make sure I don’t get sick of it. And then, when I do, I miss it and am mad that I didn’t make it by like Wednesday.
This, for me, is the perfect lunch. It’s delicious; obvi, and it’s loaded with protein and just enough carbs that it keeps me full all afternoon until dinner, so I don’t have to deal with that random 3:00pm snack craving. Ya’ll know what I mean.
I started making this a few months ago when I was working with my fitness coach and I was looking for a more protein-heavy lunch because I was realizing that most of my lunches tend to be really light and unsubstantial and that left my ravenous by mid-afternoon.
This was around the time that I was having an unnecessary hankering for all things BBQ (it was summer after all), so I was trying to figure out how to satisfy my BBQ craving in a lunch that was still simple enough to have/assembly when I’m working.
Then I thought about how much I love burrito bowls, so I sort of threw those ideas together and then….here we are.
I feel it’s one of my greatest life creations to this point.
One of the reasons why I love this so much is because it’s so easy to meal prep; you literally have to cook two things and you’re just assembling the rest. It also makes this a really easy weeknight dinner as well, but I most prefer it as lunch.
I almost feel bad calling it a “recipe” because it’s mostly, literally just assembly.
Since I, really, only meal prep this, I can tell you, this meal is really easily portable depending on how you prepare it.
Once you have cooked the chicken and the rice; you could assemble the entire bowl in a food storage/meal prep container, put it in the fridge and warm it up when you’re ready to eat.
I personally, prefer (especially since I’m working from home) to keep the components separate and assemble the bowls right before I eat them. I know that’s probably “extra” to some, but since I’m home and have the ability to be a little “extra” at lunch, I take it.
Plus, it’s prettier.
Like I said; this feels like the easiest thing on the planet, to me.
You take take your chicken tenderloins and coat them with salt, pepper, onion & garlic powders, dried basil and barbecue seasoning.
I love this McCormick Barbecue seasoning; it has so much flavor and even adds a little smokey-ness to the meat. Don’t sleep on this seasoning! I promise, it’s delicious. (#notsponsored)
I’m lazy, so I just lay the chicken out on a sheet pan, sprinkle the seasonings over top, flip the chicken and repeat as opposed to actually doing an “authentic” dry rub more often than not. The flavor is still delicious, though you will obviously get a deeper flavor if you take the time to rub it into the chicken.
Throw the chicken in the oven at 425 for about 25 minutes (or until the chicken’s internal temp is 165F) and it comes out perfectly cooked and juicy.
While the chicken is cooking I take the time to make my grain and prep everything else.
I almost always make white rice with this just because that’s what I prefer. I’ve tried quinoa (which is also really good) and cauliflower rice (which is good if you’re looking to make this low-carb, but it wasn’t my favorite). But you could also make farro or brown rice, even couscous (which will turn this gluten-free meal into a meal full of the gluten). Depending on how long your grain takes may dictate whether you want to start cooking that before or after you put the chicken in the oven, but since I make white rice, it’s typically done about 5 minutes after the chicken comes out of the oven.
Once the rice is cooking, I also make sure my canned beans and corn are drained and rinsed (the beans anyway) and I also chop the red onion finely.
I know raw red onion isn’t everyone’s jam, but I promise it’s actually really good in this. It adds a nice little bite and crunch that I feel like this mostly soft-foods bowl needs.
Since I don’t typically assemble until right before I eat, I usually go ahead and store these components in containers once they’ve been prepped. If you’re assembling immediately, you can skip this.
Once the chicken and rice are done, I usually let them both rest for a few minutes.
Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, you can either chop all of it into bite size chunks or shred it, pulled chicken style; whichever you prefer. Once it’s chopped, pour the BBQ sauce over it to coat.
If you’re waiting to assemble, I would just store the chicken tenderloins, whole, in a container and then chop and coat in BBQ sauce when you’re ready to serve.
Also, if you’re waiting to assemble, go ahead and let the rice cool completely and then store that in a container until you’re ready to serve.
If you’re eating this immediately after assembly; I love these shallow bowls for this kind of meal. It lets you see and access all of the different components easily and it really just makes it prettier (because we do eat with our eyes first). I got this 6 pack on Amazon a few months ago and they have lasted extremely well.
You can also put this in a deep meal prep container like these if you’re planning to make this as a “grab and go” kind of lunch. I’ve done this on the few times that I’ve gone to work with this and it works perfectly.
Whether you’re assembling in a bowl or a meal prep container; first lay down your rice – that will serve as a bed for the rest of your ingredients.
Then, I like to keep the ingredients separate on top of the rice so I can mix and match the components as I wish while I’m eating. So, I arrange about 1/3-1/2 cup, each, of the corn, black beans and onion on the top, as well as about a cup of the BBQ chicken (or about two tenderloins worth). I add about a tablespoon or two of the Santa Fe tortilla strips on the very top and then drizzle ranch dressing over the entire bowl to dress.
(If you’re assembling later, make sure to warm the chicken and the rice prior to assembly. I usually put the rice in the microwave for maybe a minute and the chicken in the microwave for about two minutes.)
I swear, I have been eating this for months, daily, and I’m not tired of it. It’s so good. And there is so much protein, and just enough carbs that I am not hungry again until dinner time.
Let me know what you think if you try it (and you should try it)!