My gluten free chicken enchilada bowls have all of the bold flavor of enchiladas, in a weeknight-friendly form. Easy homemade enchilada sauce included!
If you love Tex-Mex flavors as much as I do, you're in for a treat today.
I love the flavor of enchiladas but sometimes I just don't have time to make them. Enter, enchilada bowls!
My homemade (gluten free!) enchilada sauce gives this dish tons of flavor. And since you don't have to actually roll enchiladas, it comes together surprisingly quickly!
Another plus side to enchilada bowls versus traditional enchiladas? I find they're more kid-friendly. Many young kids shy away from foods like casseroles or enchiladas where many ingredients are combined together. They can't really tell what the food is and that's overwhelming for a lot of developing eaters.
In bowl-form though, it's easy to deconstruct the meal for them. Simply serve the components separately and offer the homemade enchilada sauce for dipping. This method gives the child more control over what they're eating, without you creating a separate “kid meal.” A win-win!
Make sure to check out the variation ideas below the recipe for Paleo-friendly and low carb versions!
Chicken Enchilada Bowls
For the Homemade Enchilada Sauce:
- 8 oz tomato sauce*
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 T cumin
- 1 T chili powder
- 1 T oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
For the Chicken Enchilada Bowls:
- 2 avocados
- 1 red onion
- 1 # boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 T olive oil
- 4 oz green chiles
- 1 cup rice
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional
For the Homemade Enchilada Sauce:
- In a blender, add: 8oz tomato sauce, 1/4 cup water, 1 T cumin, 1 T chili powder, 1 T oregano, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp pepper.
- Place enchilada sauce in small pot and heat over med heat.
For the Chicken Enchilada Bowls:
- Add 1 cup rice & 2 cups water to a medium pot and bring to a boil, turn heat down, cover and simmer for ~20 mins or water is absorbed.
- Finely chop 1 red onion. Set aside ¼ of the onion for garnish.
- Slice 2 avocados.
- Cut 1# chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
- In a large saute pan over medium heat, add 1 T olive oil, chopped chicken, chopped red onion, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper & 4oz green chiles. Saute until chicken is fully cooked.
- Make bowls w/ rice, chicken mix, enchilada sauce, avocado & red onion for garnish. Option to sprinkle w/ shredded cheddar.
Nutrition – What makes this Tex Mex chicken recipe healthy?
I know Tex-Mes does not exactly bring to mind health food but, trust me, this Tex Mex chicken recipe is an exception!
First of all, it's super customizable. I'll go into this more below but if you don't feel like rice is healthy for you, use cauli rice or shredded lettuce! If dairy doesn't sit well with you, omit the optional cheese! You can also easily add extra veggies like zucchini, raw or cooked bell peppers, or mushrooms.
Ingredients like chicken, avocado, red onion and spices pack in a ton of nutrition. Here are some of the highlights:
Chicken Breast (Selenium, Zinc, B Vitamins)
In addition to being packed with protein, chicken is a good source of several vitamins and nutrients. Selenium is beneficial for both your immune system and your thyroid. B vitamins promote a healthy brain and high energy levels. Chicken is also considered a good food for weight loss due to its high protein content and relatively low calories, depending on the cut of chicken.
Avocado (Vitamin K, Folate, Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Potassium, Folate, Healthy Fats)
Loaded with nutrients like potassium, folate and healthy fats, avocados are good for your heart, your eye health, and even your mood. Moreover, they also benefit your brain, bone density and blood sugar levels.
Red Onion (Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Folate, Potassium)
Onions in general are super healthy as they're full of antioxidants, B vitamins and potassium. Red onions in particular contain anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid believed to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Tomatoes (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Potassium, Antioxidants)
Packed with antioxidants, tomatoes may help reduce the risk of several kinds of cancer. Furthermore, they contain vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium, many of which most people don't get enough of.
Bonus tip? Combining tomatoes with healthy fats like the avocado in this recipe boosts absorption of tomatoes' phytochemicals!
Cumin (Iron, Antioxidants)
Cumin is known for a variety of health benefits including aiding in indigestion. Cumin is also an excellent source of iron and antioxidants.
Chile Peppers (Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Copper)
Contained in both the chili powder and the green chiles in this recipe, chili peppers are very high in Vitamin C and are also a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Potassium and Copper. Of course, since you won't generally consume large quantities of chili peppers, their contribution to your overall nutrition is limited.
Oregano (Vitamin K, Vitamin E, Calcium, Iron)
Like most herbs, oregano is a super healthy addition to your diet. In addition to being antibacterial, it contains antioxidants, vitamin K, vitamin E, calcium and iron.
Variations on Chicken Enchilada Bowls
One of my favorite things about “bowl meals” like this one is how easy it is to mix it up!
Especially when I have a variety of eaters present, I like to lay out all of the toppings and let everyone build their own bowl. You may find that kids enjoy the components separated on a plate rather than all mixed together, and that's just fine!
Here are some easy variations on chicken enchilada bowls:
- Serve over cauli rice, quinoa or even lettuce for an enchilada-inspired salad
- Add pinto beans – this is a great grocery budget hack, as it really helps meals stretch further!
- Add extra veggies like bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, spinach or sweet potatoes
- Switch up the protein with ground beef, sliced steak or pork
- Use queso fresco or crumbled feta cheese instead of cheddar
- Top with sour cream or Greek yogurt if you like
If you make your own creation, I'd love to see it! Share with me @prepdish on Instagram.
Do chicken enchilada bowls work for meal prep?
Yes! These chicken enchilada bowls are perfect for meal prep.
If you do weekly meal prep, make the rice, chicken mixture and enchilada sauce ahead of time. All you'll have to do on the day you want to serve is reheat and assemble the bowls.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about with meal prep, make sure to check out How to Start Meal Prepping – Everything You Need to Know!
I want more healthy Tex Mex recipes!
I hear ya! We love healthy Tex Mex in my house. Living right outside of Austin, TX, I have plenty of inspiration! Here are a few of my favorite healthy Tex Mex recipes:
Beef & Bean Burritos
With only 7 ingredients, these burritos could not be any easier! Serve with a simple green salad or some roasted vegetables and you have the perfect weeknight dinner!
Turkey Taco Soup
This recipe frequently makes our subscriber favorites list. It packs all of the beloved flavor from tacos into a healthy, family-friendly soup.
Fish Taco Bowls
Light, citrusy and perfect for summer, these fish taco bowls are everything I love about healthy Tex Mex! Bold flavors that won't leave you feeling over-full.