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Try My Southwestern Inspired Quinoa Chicken Bowl—

A Very Versatile Recipe. Use it Three Different Ways.

My Southwestern Inspired Quinoa Chicken Bowl has three main components—grilled chicken, quinoa with a lime vinaigrette, and veggies. You can assemble all the parts into a tasty, healthy bowl, or each part of the recipe is delicious enough to stand alone. I love the versatility!

If you want to grill chicken and not make a bowl, this marinade makes a chicken breast that is to die for—full of the flavors of the southwest. Perfect when you have a Mexican themed barbecue.

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken Breasts

Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken Serves 2 to 4

For the chicken:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons garlic, minced 1 tablespoon honey 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 ½ teaspoons paprika 1 teaspoon dried cilantro ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon large grind black pepper 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts Cooking spray for grilling chicken In a medium bowl, combine olive oil, lime juice, garlic, honey, cumin, paprika, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Add chicken breasts and marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Using a fork, poke the chicken breasts several times to allow the marinade to seep into the chicken. Turn breasts over and poke again and continue marinating.

Remove chicken from the marinade. Heat a grill to a high heat. Spray a grill pan with cooking spray, place chicken breasts on the grill pan, and place the pan on the grill. Grill chicken until grill marks appear, about 5 minutes. Turn and grill the second side until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breasts registers 165 degrees F. Let chicken sit for 3 to 5 minutes before slicing.

Tips on deboning chicken breasts: If you are on a budget where every penny counts, it is cheaper to buy chicken breasts that still have their bones and skin. If the rib bones of the chicken are large, use a pair of poultry scissors to remove them. Cut out enough of the rib so that the breast will lay flat. Using a sharp knife, cut the breast away, keeping as close to the bone as possible. You should feel the bone with every cut. To remove the wishbone, simply cut around it and remove it. To remove the skin, simply slide your fingers underneath it and pull it off. Trim any excess fat.

Quinoa with a Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

If you are looking for a side dish to serve with Mexican fare, my lime vinaigrette adds a zing to quinoa.

Quinoa with a Lime Vinaigrette Serves 2 to 4

For the quinoa: 2 cups quinoa 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped Dash cayenne pepper, or to taste Minced garlic, to taste ⅛ teaspoon salt ⅛ teaspoon large grind black pepper

Cook quinoa according to package directions. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, cayenne, garlic, salt, and pepper. When ready to assemble the bowl, toss the vinaigrette with the quinoa.

Tips on shopping for cilantro: Select leaves with a bright, even color with no sign of wilting or yellowing. Cilantro will keep 1 week in a reusable, paper, or plastic bag when refrigerated.

Tips on storing cilantro: To help prolong the life of cilantro, place it in a glass of water, stems down, cover with a plastic bag, secure the glass with a rubber band, and refrigerate. Change the water every 2 days. This also works nicely with basil, mint, and parsley.

Southwestern Inspired Quinoa Chicken Bowl

If you are a vegetarian and don’t want to include chicken in your bowl, the quinoa with vegetables alone is quite yummy. Or top it with my Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken. You can double the chicken recipe, grill the breasts one day, eat half the chicken, and save the rest and make bowls the following day. See my tip at the end of the recipe on how to reheat chicken breasts so they don’t dry out.

Southwestern Inspired Quinoa Chicken Bowl Serves 2

For the bowl:

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon butter 1 cup frozen sweet corn 1 cup red onion, chopped 1 cup green or red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped 1 tablespoon garlic, minced Quinoa with a Cilantro Lime vinaigrette 1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed Grilled Cilantro Lime Chicken Breasts, sliced ⅓ cup queso fresco, crumbled, for garnish 1 avocado, peeled, seeded, and chopped, for garnish Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish In a medium skillet, place olive oil and butter over a medium heat. When the olive oil mixture sizzles, add corn, onion, bell pepper, and garlic and sauté until onion is transparent and corn browns slightly. To assemble the bowl:

Using 2 soup bowls, place half of quinoa tossed with vinaigrette in each bowl. Add the sweet corn mixture and black beans and toss. Place sliced chicken breasts on top and garnish with queso fresco, avocado, and cilantro.

Tips on reheating chicken breasts so they don’t dry out: To reheat the breasts, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish with just enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 10 minutes.

Carol Ann

Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at and explore her website,

Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates

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