Chicken Burrito Bowls with Pico de Gallo

By Lilian Dikmans

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These loaded Chicken Burrito Bowls make a perfect gluten-free and dairy-free lunch or dinner. With rice, black beans, spiced chicken, fresh pico de gallo and a simple guacamole, the bowls are filling and satisfying.

The bowls are made up of burrito ingredients that would otherwise be wrapped in a flour tortilla. I love traditional burritos, but if you want a gluten-free and dairy-free option, you have to try these bowls.

I’ve written the recipe to serve two people, with one medium chicken thigh each. This gives around 38g protein per bowl (see nutrition estimate below), as the black beans also provide protein.

Homemade pico de gallo
Freshly made pico de gallo

If you can’t eat legumes, you could leave out the black beans and double the chicken. If you want to make the bowls grain-free, just leave out the rice and perhaps add some more chicken or a rice alternative like cauliflower rice.

Ingredients for Chicken Burrito Bowls with Pico de Gallo

Free-range chicken thighs: I use boneless and skinless chicken thighs in this recipe. If you have leftover chicken or other leftover meat, you can easily use that instead as a short-cut. Just warm it up before adding to the bowls. If you’re looking for a chicken breast recipe, you might like to try my Gluten Free Cashew Chicken with Broccoli.

Rice: You can use any sort of rice in this recipe. I like to use long grain white rice, but you can use brown rice if you prefer. Just keep in mind that brown rice takes longer to cook and usually requires more water. You could also use instant packet rice for an even quicker solution. But if you have a rice cooker, cooking fresh rice is a breeze. I highly recommend buying one if you eat rice regularly like I do.

Black beans: I use canned black beans for convenience and buy brands that come in a BPA-free can. We warm them up in the pan used to fry the chicken so they get coated in the cooking juices for a boost of flavour.

Ingredients for Chicken Burrito Bowls with Pico de Gallo
Rice, black beans, spices, olive oil, chicken, lime, avocado, coriander, red onion, jalapeño and tomato

Avocado: For the best guacamole, your avocado must be ripe. There’s nothing worse than hard lumps of avocado! If you can’t get a ripe avocado, I would just leave out the guacamole and add some grated cheese to the bowls instead.

Lime: Lime juice brings life to the guacamole and pico de gallo. Before cutting your lime, roll it on the bench by pressing down firmly and moving it forward and backwards. This helps to release the juices. If you can’t get limes, you could use lemon juice instead.

Tomato: Any ripe tomato will work in the pico de gallo. I like to use roma, vine or truss tomatoes. We remove the seeds and watery part of the tomato before chopping up the flesh because they’ll make the salsa too wet.

Red onion: I like to use red onion in the pico de gallo, but you could use white or brown onion if you prefer.

Jalapeño pepper: Remove the seeds and inner ribs from the jalapeño if you don’t want the pico de gallo too hot. Don’t touch your eyes after doing this and wash your hand well. If you want the salsa hotter, you can add some of the seeds or use serrano peppers (which are hotter). If you don’t want the salsa spicy at all, you can leave the jalapeño out completely.

Chicken Burrito Bowls with Pico de Gallo
Served with a simple guacamole and pico de gallo

Fresh coriander: Coriander is the traditional herb used for pico do gallo. If you don’t like coriander, you can use flat leaf parsley instead. When I made the bowls for the photos, I only had parsley and it still worked out well. If you have any leftover parsley, you might like to try my Parsley Pine Nut Pesto.

Pantry staples: This recipe uses quite a few seasonings in addition to the fresh ingredients to give lots of flavour. They are all staples that I keep in my pantry and use regularly – garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, ground chilli, extra virgin olive oil and fine sea salt.

Serves
2

Prep time
30 mins

Cook time
12 mins

Ingredients

For the rice and beans

  • 1/2 cup (100g) long grain white rice
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • 1 x 400g can of black beans (to give 240g drained weight)

For the pico de gallo

  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/4 – 1/2 jalapeño pepper
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 medium tomato
  • Handful of fresh coriander

For the chicken

  • 250g (about 2 medium) free-range chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon ground chilli
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

For the guacamole

  • 1/2 medium avocado
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Method

  • 1
    Get the rice cooking in a rice cooker or according to the packet instructions. Most white rice will need a ratio of 2:1 water to rice. This is the ratio I have given above.
  • 2
    Next, prepare the pico de gallo. Finely chop the red onion and jalapeño. Add to a bowl with the lime juice and salt. Remove and discard the seeds from the tomato, then finely chop the tomato flesh. Pick the coriander leaves off the stalks and finely chop the leaves. Add the tomato and coriander to the bowl and stir everything to combine. Taste, and add more salt and/or jalapeño if needed to suit your taste. Cover and leave in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • 3
    Place the chicken thighs on a plate. Sprinkle over the salt, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, chilli and oil. Mix until each thigh is evenly coated. Heat a non-stick fry pan on a medium heat. Fry the chicken for 6 minutes each side (12 minutes total) or until cooked through.
  • 4
    While the chicken is cooking, prepare the guacamole. Scoop the avocado into a bowl and mash with a fork. Add the lime juice and salt. Taste, and add more salt if needed.
  • 5
    Once the chicken is done, remove from the pan and cut into each thigh to confirm they are cooked through. Drain the black beans, rinse them well and place them in the pan, which should still be coated with the chicken cooking juices. Heat the beans over a medium heat, stirring to coat them in the juices.
  • 6
    To serve, get out two serving bowls and add half of the cooked rice and beans into each. Chop the chicken into bite sized pieces and add to the bowls. Top each bowl with the pico de gallo and guacamole. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving size: 1 bowl
Energy: 2678kJ (640Cal)
Protein: 38.5g
Total Fat: 17.9g
Saturated Fat: 3.8g
Total Carbohydrate: 79.4g
Sugars: 3.2g
Dietary Fibre: 15.8g
Sodium: 1227mg
Potassium: 945mg

Nutrition information is an estimate only. It may vary depending on the brand of ingredients used.

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Lilian Dikmans

Lilian Dikmans is an Australian model, Muay Thai fighter and founder of Real Food Healthy Body

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