The other day I was thinking about how different my eating has been since two years ago. I’ve discovered this amazing accomplishment of balance and clean focused eating in my diet. I’ve stayed away from the extremes of overeating and undereating and somehow just seem to be in this happy place. Before I would conceptualize what it would feel like to enjoy the benefits of eating wholesome, nutritious foods while still enjoying a burger or a giant chocolate chip cookie every now and then. It seemed so distant. Now my feet are in the place I wished I always could be; it feels like a wonderful, significant achievement.
As I’ve mentioned before, there are several things I’ve done to find this balance. One of them was nourishing my body with nutritious food every few hours. The second was prepping meals and snack ahead of time. The third was always making sure to enjoy a treat every now and then, because life’s too short not to. We’re never going to be perfect eaters. Perhaps the perfection in eating, is choosing balance? Food for thought, I suppose.
Today I’m sharing an incredibly simple and delicious recipe for chicken burrito bowls inspired by the ever-popular Chipotle. Surprisingly, I didn’t have Chipotle until I was a sophomore in college. I ordered a burrito, not knowing how GIANT they are and nearly passed out from stuffing myself silly. These days I settle for the lighter burrito bowls, and sometimes I make them right at home. They’re easy, flavorful and an amazing way to meal prep for the week.
First things first, I’m the realest. Wait, that’s an Iggy song lyric. Back up.
First things first, we make chicken!
I usually make the chicken in the slow cooker for ease, but if you want you can simply bake it. I’ve included directions for both so you aren’t limited.
Next, there’s always beans. I vote black beans, but pinto are also drop dead delicious.
What about that absolutely amazing corn salsa? I can’t get enough. Mine is full of sweet corn, red onion, cilantro & more lime juice.
Oh and the brown rice? I make a coconut lime brown rice that’s basically the most addicting thing you’ll ever sink your teeth into. Trust the Ambitious lady. It tastes like fluffy coconut magic on your tongue. (Yes, I’m extra descriptive today.)
Cheese! I vote for Go Veggie’s Lactose Free Monterey Jack & Cheddar Shreds.
Topping are endless. I always go with a few slices of avocado, jalapenos (I like dat spice), and sometimes greek yogurt.
After I’m done cooking my chicken and rice, I evenly divide everything into individual containers and stick them in the fridge for easy reheating.
I hope you love this simple meal prep idea. Not only does it save time, but also money (and probably calories). Enjoy! xo
If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment below and rate the recipe! You can also snap and picture and post it on Instagram using the hashtag #ambitiouskitchen. And of course be sure to follow Ambitious Kitchen on Instagram. xo!
Cheap & Healthy Meal Prep Idea: Better Than Chipotle DIY Chicken Burrito Bowls
- For the chicken:
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (or chicken breasts will also work)
- 1 cup chunky salsa
- 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- For the rice:
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- 1 cup dry short grain brown rice
- 2 cups water or vegetarian broth
- 1 small lime, juiced
- For the corn salsa:
- 1 cup organic sweet corn
- 1 small red onion, diced (or about 1/2 cup diced red onion)
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 small lime, juiced
- Freshly ground salt and black pepper, to taste
- For the beans:
- 1 (15 oz) can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
- To garnish:
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese shreds (dairy free if desired)
- For garnish: Extra salsa, avocado slices (or guacamole), jalapenos if you like spice, cilantro, greek yogurt, hot sauce, etc
Make the chicken: Place chicken, salsa and chipotle chili powder in a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Once done cooking, shred chicken with two forks and place back in the slow cooker until ready to serve. If you don't have a slow cooker, refer to the notes section in the recipe for baking instructions.
To make the brown rice: Place a medium pot over medium heat and add in coconut oil and brown rice. Toast rice with the coconut oil for 5 minutes; stirring frequently to toast the rice and infused the coconut oil flavor in. After 5 minutes add in water and bring mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, remove heat, add lime juice, then recover and let stand for 10 more minutes. Once done, season with a little salt to taste.
To make the corn salsa: In a medium bowl, combine corn, red onion, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper.
To make the bowls, evenly distribute rice, chicken, black beans and corn salsa into bowls (or containers if meal prepping.) Garnish with cheese, cilantro, hot sauce and extra salsa, if desired. If you are planning on enjoying the meal later, do not add the avocado. Add once ready to eat.
Makes 4 servings. One for Monday-Thursday if you like.
To bake the chicken in the oven instead of the slow cooker: Place chicken in a 9x9 inch greased baking pan. Cover the top of the chicken with salsa. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size/thickness of your chicken.
Nutrition information does not include garnishes such as avocado or greek yogurt.
This recipe is in partnership with GO Veggie! All recipes, opinions and text are my own. Thanks for continuing to support AK and the brands that help make this site possible!
I love making my own burrito bowls at home. I will have to give that corn salsa a try though, sounds delicious
I loved these bowls!! Definitely using in my dinner rotation. Thanks for the delicious recipes and for all you share with us!
PS I think step 2 has a grammatical error. In the second to last sentence, it should say “add lime juice” instead of “and”. 😉
So happy to hear that! And thanks for the catch 🙂
Sounds delicious! Where do you find organic sweet corn? Why does this recipe contain so many carbs?
Organic sweet corn can be found either canned or frozen! If you use frozen, simply thaw out the corn before making the salsa, or you can saute it. Also, this recipe contains carbs from brown rice, black beans and corn.
Ever since Chipotle had their E.coli incident I haven’t been back and I’ve been missing it like crazy! These look perfect!
Such an awesome idea Monique! Chipotle is LOVEEEE but I’m always in favor for the DIY versions. Thanks for sharing! <3
I have yet to make a copycat burrito bowl! I would also really like to try making a copycat sofritas recipe! 😀 This is gonna be GREAT!
I saw this while in was making my grocery list this morning and decided to add it to the meal plan for the week. We had it tonight and it was fabulous! Especially the corn salsa! My kids loved it too, and asked if we could make it again next week! It’s definitely a keeper!
I’m new to your blog. A friend made your paleo chocolate chunk cookies for me (which I am going to make tonight; they are seriously one of my favorite cookies ever!) which is how I found your blog! I’m really enjoying trying your recipes!!!
I could eat this every day for lunch and dinner, no questions asked.
I didn’t have Chipotle until I was a sophomore in college either! I actually used to hate it and thought Moe’s was way better lolol what was wrong with me? These look deeelish. Definitely a staple in my house!
This needs to be added to our rotation, my boys would go crazy for these!
I want this chicken burrito bowl RIGHT NOW and I just got done with dinner. This baby is gorgeous and packed full of deliciousness.
Made these burrito bowls this week and ate them so fast I didn’t have time to take a picture! Also, new favorite way to cook brown rice! Thanks for the recipe!
I just stumbled upon this recipe and happened to have all of the ingredients handy so I gave it a try. It was so nummy! A few ingredients really go a long way.
So I absolutely love this recipe!!
I did add a few things so the family would be ok eating it! One thing I added for some crunch was some wheat tortilla shells bake in the oven and seasoned with some salt and pepper .. And I added some tomatoes and Black beans to the salsa and used pinto beans in the bowl it was crazy good both ways it is such a hit when people come over for dinner!!
Thanks so much
Looks yummy! Does it actually taste like Chipotle? Like is it comparable?
Hi! I am new to this cooking business lol Do you mind explaining what you mean towards the end for the rice? “Remove heat? (As in turn off the stove) Add lime juice (got that) and recover? (Recover what lol) plus when you say let it stand for 10 minutes, you mean to cool down? Like I said… I’m new at this!! 🙂
Yes, remove from the heat — just turn it off! 🙂 Recover the pot with a lid. Hope this helps!
Made these earlier this week. Substituted cauliflower rice for brown rice! Super delicious and easy to make!! Loved it! Thanks!
This is wonderful! I didn’t have the coconut oil on hand so I made the rice plain in water ( forgot the broth) but seasoned with lime juice, salt, and pepper- so good. Normally I don’t like to crockpot chicken but this turned out nicely. Also doubled the amount of rice since I noticed there wasn’t much in recipe. This will become a staple recipe in my home. Leftovers are just as good as the initial plate which is a rarity in my opinion. I calculated my adjustments at 482 calories per 1/4 batch. The serving was an entire cereal bowl full- portion was good. Also I found the flavors to be good enough that I didn’t need sour cream or cheese but I did add jalapeño.
Thanks for sharing!
I tried this recipe tonight for dinner. It was delicious! We will definitely have it again. Lots of flavor and easy to make.
Love this recipe. My kids and husband will eat it several days in a row with slight variations. Easiest way to start chicken in the morning with extra salsa from the fridge or any variety I have canned or jarred in the pantry. I adjust the spices depending on if it’s hot salsa, green salsa, corn salsa etc. I might add in fresh garlic or onion, canned chipotle peppers or fresh cilantro to the slow cooker. Too much spice? I toss in a cut up potatoes for the final hour. Just make sure to take it out before serving.
If we’re lucky enough to have left overs I make breakfast burritos by adding scrambled egg. Also use chicken for enchiladas or street tacos. Our favorite is the chicken bowls with the chili like ride and all the toppings. Yum
Thanks for the great recipe!
So awesome Christine! 🙂
Question – could you add tomatoes to the Salsa part of the recipe?
This is my son’s favorite dinner, thank you for the recipe and idea. We love that everyone can personalize their bowl to their liking, we just throw out the ingredients and everyone makes their own. With a rice cooker, it’s great for kids coming in at different times too. Thanks!
So great to hear, Robyn! Yes – I love how customizable it is. Perfect for feeding a crowd!
This is seriously good. I’ve baked a lot of your recipes, but this is the first meal I’ve made. It didn’t disappoint! The flavors are incredible- and I agree, better than Chipotle!
So happy to hear that! This is definitely a go-to for me during the week 🙂 Glad you enjoyed!
I’m so mad – I bought already cooked rotisserie chickens. What do I do now?
Hey Monique! I love this recipe. I’ve tried this in the slow cooker and it came out so good! I was wondering if this could be made in an instant pot? And for how long? Thank you!!!
Hi Christy! I’m sure this could be made in an Instant Pot – I don’t actually own one, so I’m not sure how long it will take to cook in there. I’d suggest looking up how long chicken typically takes in the IP and on what setting!
How long will these bowls last in the fridge? I’ve been trying quite a few of your recipes lately and loving them!
They should last about 3-4 days! So glad you’re loving these recipes 🙂
I just made this recipe to use as a lunch for work and I only have good things to say! It was a great meal to reheat and will be a go-to for me. I can’t imagine how good it tastes fresh out of the slow cooker if it tastes on point the next day.
What is the chunky salsa that you use for this recipe?
Can’t wait to try it!
The ingredients + instructions for the corn salsa are in the recipe! It’s delicious 🙂 Enjoy!
Hey MONIQUE! Perfect recipe apt for a veggie diet follower with low carbs and high protein + fibre!!! Will it affect the recipe whole taste if I am gonna replace the cheddar cheese with Mozzarella?
Hi! Feel free to use any cheese you’d like 🙂
I just devoured this bowl….YUM!!! I’ll be making it again and again. I made exactly as directed and added Cholula hot sauce, Bolthouse farms avocado ranch dressing, cheese and crumbled tortilla chips on top. I love everything from ambitious kitchen but this was super amazing!! Thank you!
Delicious! The perfect combo 🙂 glad you’re loving the recipes here!
I made this for meal prep for my boyfriend and I. I got several comments from my coworkers on how good it smelled. It tasted even better! It was the perfect warm meal I needed on a cold day. I used guac as a topping (that way I wouldn’t have to cut an avocado everyday). Highly recommend this one!
Amazing! So happy to hear that 🙂
Didn’t have brown rice so I subbed with quinoa and still followed the directions as is. Turned out INCREDIBLE. I love this MORE than Chipotle!!!!!
Quinoa’s a great sub! I’m so happy you loved this one YAY!!
Delicious! (I DID mix the black beans and chopped jalapeno into the corn salsa! And blanched the fresh corn)
Nice! I’m so happy you loved it, Carol. Thanks for commenting!