Black Bean & Chicken Rice Bowl
Break away from the sandwich. Black beans, chicken, cheese, salsa and guacamole make for a delicious, simple, quick, and tasty meal. This rice bowl is awesome for lunch or dinner, and your whole family will love it!
Have I mentioned I’m getting a bit tired of sandwiches lately? It used to be how I defined lunch. Sandwich, chips, and fruit. Everyday. But my eyes have been opened to the many possibilities thanks to Pinterest.
The best part of this meal is the simplicity. Rice in the rice cooker. The beans come from a can in the pantry. The cheese and veggies just have to be cut. The hardest part is remembering to thaw the chicken in your fridge the night before. (But even if you don’t get that step done ahead, you can always thaw chicken in the microwave.) The other best part of this meal—left-overs are really good too!
There is nothing particularly special about any part of this meal. The chicken is browned in a skillet with nothing but salt and pepper. That is probably why my oldest liked it so much. She proclaimed it was the best chicken ever as she took her 3rd helping. Truly, though, each ingredient on its own is nothing to brag about. It’s the combination of flavors that makes this amazing.
I am a big fan of “stack meals”—you start with the basic components, and layer on toppings as desired. It allows for rich variety in color, texture and flavor. Also it makes it very easy to customize per family member’s preferences. One thing to caution you on—stack meals get big fast. So start with less rice than you think you need. You will more than double the volume once you add the beans, cheese, chicken and veggies.
My kids don’t like a lot of things mixed together. I’m sure they will someday, but for now, separated is best. That is so easy to do with a recipe like this. See the example below. And beans and rice are almost always a hit with babies. My 10 month old loves to feed himself this one. I definitely had to clean the black beans out of his hair when he was done, but he sure enjoyed the meal!
In the pictures, you’ll see peppers and grape tomatoes. Those were the veggies I happened to have in my fridge the day I made this. Other great additions would be cucumbers, avocado, sugar snap peas, or corn. Really, you can throw in anything you like!
½ cup rice (cooked)
¼ cup black beans
2 ½ oz chicken
1 oz Monterey Jack Cheese (cubed)
¼ cup chopped bell peppers
½ cup halved grape tomatoes
¼ cup salsa
2 Tbsp guacamole
3 large strawberries
2 small stalks of celery
1 Tbsp Ranch Dressing
Recipe Used in this meal:
Black Bean & Chicken Rice Bowl
Serving size: 1 ½ cups (combined beans/rice/chicken/cheese)
Servings per Recipe: 6
1 ½ cups rice (uncooked)
3 cups water
1 tsp chicken bouillon
2 chicken breasts (diced)
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 ½ cups black beans (drained)
6 oz Monterey Jack Cheese (cubed)
Chopped Veggies, salsa, guacamole as desired for toppings
Measure rice and pour into rice cooker. Add water and chicken bouillon. Start rice cooker. (takes about 20 minutes)
While the rice is cooking, dice thawed chicken breasts into bite size pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Spray skillet with cooking spray, then add chicken. Cook thoroughly in a skillet on the stove-top. Once done, remove from heat and set aside.
Chop cheese and veggies. Open and drain a can of black beans. You can heat the beans if desired, but that is not required.
Serve in bowls. Layer ½ cup rice, ¼ cup beans, 2 ½ oz chicken, 1 oz cheese. Top with salsa, guacamole and veggies. Serve warm.
Nutrition Facts Label for Entire Meal:
Nutrition Facts Label For Black Bean & Chicken Rice: (includes cheese, but no other toppings)