Quick, easy and healthy is the name of the game with these Mexican Rice Bowls! These rice bowls feature Cilantro Lime Brown Rice and a saucy chicken (or turkey!) fajita mixture to create a meal that’s flavorful and satisfying. 

If there’s one meal that’s on constant rotation in our house, it would have to be some kind of version of these Mexican Rice Bowls. The versatility of this recipe is one of the many reasons I love it and rely on it so often.

Keeping in mind the basic ratio of ingredients, the main components can easily be substituted to make use of what you already have on hand. Swap the chicken or turkey out for pork or beef, try using quinoa in place of the brown rice, use fresh chopped parsley instead of cilantro, or use a can of black beans instead of Navy beans. The options are endless—this one is all about making the cooking process easy on you!

How to make Mexican Rice Bowls 

For these bowls, I chose to keep the “formula” simple. For Mexican rice bowls you need just four main components. 

  1. A grain base (rice, quinoa, millet)
  2. Protein (chicken, turkey, beef, pork, tofu, tempeh)
  3. Fajita veggie mix (bell pepper, onion, tomatoes, beans, hearty greens, etc.)
  4. Toppings (avocado, cilantro, limes, toasted nuts, cheese, etc.)

This recipe for Mexican rice bowls features Cilantro Lime Brown Rice as the grain base, cooked chicken or turkey (hello Thanksgiving leftovers!) for the protein, and a mixture of bell pepper, onion, tomato and Navy beans for the fajita mix. Everything then gets topped with fresh cilantro, avocado and lime wedges. If you’re looking to add a bit of cheese, try Cotija, Chihuhua or Queso Fresco.

Something I recommend often—make this recipe a couple of times as written, then come back and take a look at the substitution ideas above and make a unique version of your own. The more you cook, the more confident you’ll become in the kitchen. And it all starts by following a recipe, making it multiple times, and eventually putting your own spin on it. Just my two cents. 😉

Using pre-cooked turkey or chicken

These rice bowls call for cooked chicken or turkey in an effort to help you use up leftovers (aka Thanksgiving turkey). Reducing waste and saving money! 

If you don’t have cooked turkey or chicken on hand but need something convenient, stop by the grocery store and pick up a rotisserie chicken—a great shortcut!

Otherwise, I like to grab a turkey breast tor a few chicken breast and cook those up on the stove top. 

Got leftover turkey? Try these recipes that feature cooked turkey…

Creamy Slow Cooker Turkey Wild Rice Soup

Chinese Turkey Lettuce Wraps

Turkey & Fig Paninis

Overhead image of a while bowl filled with brown rice, a saucy veggie mixture, diced avocado and lime wedges.Make sure to tag me @ZESTFULKITCHEN ON INSTAGRAM or comment below if you make these healthy Mexican Rice Bowls!

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Overhead image of a while bowl filled with brown rice, a saucy veggie mixture, diced avocado and lime wedges.

Mexican Rice Bowls

  • Author: Lauren
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings (4 cups fajita mixture; 3 cups rice) 1x
  • Category: Lunch/Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

Mexican rice bowls featuring Cilantro Lime Brown Rice and a saucy fajita mixture! Quick to make, healthy and packed with flavor!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil 
  • 1 bell pepper, diced 
  • 1 cup diced white onion 
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin 
  • 1 can diced tomatoes in juice (15 ounces)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken or turkey 
  • 1 can Navy or Cannellini Beans (14.5 ounces), drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch 
  • ½ cup water 
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 recipe Cilantro Lime Brown Rice or Mexican Cauliflower Rice
  • 1 avocado, diced 
  • Fresh cilantro and lime wedges, for serving

Instructions

Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add pepper and onion and cook until softened and starting to brown, 5–8 minutes. 

Add garlic and cumin and cook 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and chicken or turkey (depending on what you’re using) and cook until heated through, 3–5 minutes; stir in beans. 

Whisk together water and cornstarch, stir cornstarch slurry into tomato mixture, bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Serve chicken and veggie mixture over Cilantro Lime Brown Rice and top with diced avocado, cilantro and lime wedges.


Notes

Make it low-carb: use cauliflower rice in place of the brown rice.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup fajita mix + ¾ cup rice
  • Calories: 483
  • Sugar: 6.5
  • Sodium: 668mg
  • Fat: 14g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 61g
  • Fiber: 12g
  • Protein: 28g
  • Cholesterol: 54mg

Keywords: Mexican Rice Bowls, Fajita Bowls, Chicken Rice Bowls, Turkey Rice Bowls, Meal Prep Rice Bowls

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Overhead image of a while bowl filled with brown rice, a saucy veggie mixture, diced avocado and lime wedges with text overlay

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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