These healthful, protein-rich Chimichurri Chicken Bowls are full of flavor and good-for-you fats. Quick to make and with simple ingredients, ground chicken breast is transformed into a herby, smoky delight with a chimichurri that offers tangy flavor and beautiful green hues!
it’s the last week of school with today being the last FULL day of the year. CRAZZZZZY. I’m about to have a 3rd grader and a 1st grader and that is just crazy to me. A long time ago, I asked my girls to stay little forever and they have not followed through on my request, at all, whatsoever. They are, however, quite the little swimmers and will be some of the younger ones in the “Intermediate” group for practice this summer. We’re gearing up for summer and a major overhaul in all of our schedules – swim team and YMCA with pick-ups, drop-offs, and midday transports versus busing to and from school. Field trips every Tuesday. It’s going to be fun! Chaotic, but fun! Bring on the summertime!
I am heading to Madison, Wisconsin this weekend for a 40th birthday party. I’m stopping in Chicago to pick-up my mom and it should be a fun weekend in a city I’ve never been to. We’re staying on a goat farm! I’m excited! But, it’s not quite the weekend yet. Before then, there’s plenty of adulting and packing to do and soaking in the final days of the school year.
ROLL CALL FOR THIS RECIPE
- No-More-Boring Chicken Breast: I admit it – ground chicken breast isn’t my favorite. It can be a bit dry…and a bit bland, let’s be honest. The addition of chimichurri in cooking, however, creates an incredibly flavorful and most definitely NOT dry finished chicken product. The ground chicken breast takes on all of the delicious chimichurri flavors with enough added wholesome fat to create a great meal with so much flavor!
- Chimichurri Lovers: Originating from Argentina and Uruguay, this incredibly flavorful “raw” sauce has become popular in many cuisines found in Latin America. Comprised of fresh herbs (generally parsley and/or cilantro), garlic, olive oil, and spices, this chimichurri offers a tangy punch from the red wine vinegar and a smoky bit of heat from the ancho chile powder. A quick little whiz in the food processor makes chimichurri a quick sauce to whip up and to use beyond its traditional placement over grilled meat. If you REALLY love sauces and flavor, be sure to make a bit of extra chimichurri sauce!
- Weeknight Warriors: Ready in under 30 minutes, this meal is perfect for the busiest of weeknights! The leftovers (if there are any!) are delicious for the days to follow, too. I highly recommend a mini food processor to expedite and limit dishes and to use a single skillet for the cauliflower rice and chicken preparation.
- Carb-Conscious Friends: The tender cauliflower rice serves as a low-carb vehicle to heap the flavorful chicken and avocado over. I love bowl recipes that start with a base of rice or quinoa, but cauliflower rice is next-level healthy, delicious, and in recent years, incredibly easy to find at most grocery stores (freezer section).
KEY INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Cauliflower Rice: You can buy riced cauliflower (or rice it yourself), but easier yet is to purchase from the freezer section. No need to thaw, simply sauté in a pan or skillet over medium heat until translucent and hot. You can also steam, microwave, or bake your cauliflower rice. Sautéing in a bit of olive oil gives the “rice” great flavor! Feel free to use rice (brown rice, short grain rice, wild rice, white rice, whatever you prefer), quinoa, or even pasta, if you like!
- Ground Chicken Breast: There is very, very little fat in ground chicken breast so while it tends to get dried out and lack flavor, the chimichurri in this recipe rectifies that issue! Therefore, the fat in this recipe is nearly all from wholesome, unsaturated sources. If you prefer to use ground chicken, ground turkey, or ground turkey breast, those all work great! You may also use diced chicken breasts or chicken thighs, however using a ground poultry eliminates the need to chop and cooks even faster!
- Fresh Parsley: Traditional chimichurri contains parsley with its hearty nature and slightly earthy flavor. Feel free to use flat-leaf (Italian) parsley or traditional, curly parsley.
- Fresh Cilantro: I love the combination of the fresh cilantro with the ancho chile powder, however you can certainly swap in all parsley, if you prefer or do not have fresh cilantro.
- Red Wine Vinegar: White wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, lime juice, or lemon juice will work great in place of red wine vinegar.
- Garlic Cloves: Feel free to omit or swap in 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. Fresh garlic is always the best, but jarred, chopped garlic or garlic paste works too (1 teaspoon per clove of garlic).
- Onion: This addition to the chimichurri provides great flavor — feel free to use red onion, white onion, yellow onion, or sweet onion. Shallots work great, as well. but you’ll need 3-4 shallots.
- Red Bell Pepper: I love the sweetness and color contrast against the beautiful green chimichurri, however yellow or orange bell pepper works, too!
- High-Fiber: With 8 grams of fiber per serving, this meal is rich in fiber.
- Low-Carb: Coming in at 16.5 grams of carbohydrate per serving, this meal is quite low in carbohydrate and ample in both protein and fat. Protein and fat are very satisfying and offer great staying power and satiety.
- Allergen-Friendly: This recipe is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free.
- Unsaturated Fats: The fats from the avocado and olive oil are largely unsaturated and heart healthy. Replacing the animal fat with the olive oil-based chimichurri ensures a quality meal while offering impressive nutritional information and value.
VARIATIONS, STORAGE, and TIPS
- The ancho chile powder provides a bit of smoky heat, however you can certainly make this dish spicy by adding crushed red pepper flakes or hot sauce to the chimichurri.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can store the cauliflower rice with the chicken and chimichurri on top which makes for quick and easy meal prep, or you can store the components separately – up to you!
- While this recipe calls only for a red bell pepper to be added to the chicken mixture, you can certainly add whatever fresh vegetables you like. Broccoli, bok choy, brussels sprouts, par-cooked and diced sweet potatoes, and/or chili peppers would all make great additions!
- If you love beans or are looking to increase the fiber further, adding black beans would be a great addition. Simply add with the red pepper to warm through.
- In place of cauliflower rice or another rice/seed/grain, you can also swap in zucchini noodles as a base for the chicken chimichurri.
- 3/4 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ancho chili powder
- 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 (10 oz) bags frozen riced cauliflower
- 20 oz ground chicken breast
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 large avocado, sliced or diced
- Combine parsley and cilantro in a mini food processor and pulse 5-10 times to roughly chop the herbs. Add the remaining chimichurri ingredients and pulse 10-20 times or until combined.
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower rice and cook according to packate directions, stirring often. Once heated through, remove to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or foil to keep warm. Alternately, you can use a second skillet.
- Return skillet to heat and heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon into a crumble.
- When the meat is beginning to lose its pink, add half the chimichurri and continue to break into a crumble as it cooks. When nearly cooked through, add the diced bell pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the meat is cooked through and the bell pepper is crisp-tender and hot.
- Serve the chicken over the cauliflower rice and topped with avocado and the remaining chimichurri drizzled over the top.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 462Total Fat: 29.5gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 476mgCarbohydrates: 16.5gFiber: 8.0gSugar: 5.5gProtein: 37.0g
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