Weeknight dinners can be the most difficult to cook. After a long day of work, I don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen figuring out what to make for dinner.
That’s why Sunday meal prepping can be a beautiful thing, and these easy BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowls are a perfect example.
What I do for meal prep is not complicated most weeks. I usually cook some protein like chicken, make a big batch of grains or homemade beans, roast a few pounds of potatoes, and mix several jars of sauces and dressings.
During the week, I mix and match these different ingredients with freshly cooked vegetables for quick, easy meals – like these BBQ chicken burrito bowls. They make a great lunch, too!
I usually make my own barbecue sauce because store-bought versions can contain too much sugar or vinegar for my taste, but feel free to use another recipe you like or your favorite bottled sauce.
I usually use a reduced sugar ketchup so that the barbecue sauce will be less sweet. Also, don’t skip the Worcestershire sauce! It makes a big difference in flavor.
BBQ Chicken Burrito Bowl Recipe
If you're making this for lunch, assemble the bowls in a lunch container, but pack the lettuce and salsa separately. Heat the bowls, then add top with the lettuce and salsa.
For the BBQ sauce (or substitute 3/4 to 1 cup bottled sauce):
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar (apple cider vinegar also works)
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey (light brown sugar or maple syrup also works)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
For the burrito bowls:
- 1 pound (450g) chicken breasts (or substitute 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken)
- 4 cups chicken broth or water, for cooking the chicken
- 1 cup uncooked brown rice (or substitute 3 cups cooked rice)
- 1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 1 15-ounce (425g) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 6 to 8 romaine lettuce leaves, chopped into strips
- 1 cup pico de gallo or your favorite salsa
- 1 cup shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese, optional
- Crushed tortilla chips, for topping
1 Make the barbecue sauce (or substitute 3/4 to 1 cup bottled sauce): Mix all of the ingredients for the BBQ sauce (ketchup through cumin) in a saucepan and heat over medium heat. When the sauce starts bubbling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. (This sauce splatters everywhere once it heats up. Be prepared to wipe down your stovetop and countertops after making this!) Remove from heat.
You should have about 1 2/3 cups of sauce. The sauce will keep for 1 to 2 weeks refrigerated.
2 Cook the chicken (or substitute 2 cups shredded cooked chicken): Place the chicken breasts in a 4-quart or larger pot with a lid and pour the chicken broth over top. The chicken should be covered by about an inch; add additional broth or water if needed. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Check that the chicken is cooked through and registers 165F in the thickest part. Cook another few minutes if needed. Use tongs to transfer the cooked chicken breasts to a cutting board to cool briefly.
When the chicken is cool, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to 5 days.
3 Cook the rice (or substitute 3 cups cooked rice): Combine the rice with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 cups of water (or enough to cover by about an inch). Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then lower the heat and cover. Cook until the rice is tender, 35 to 45 minutes (or according to package instructions). Check occasionally and add more water if the pan seems dry before the rice is cooked.
Cool the cooked rice, and then transfer to a storage container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
To assemble the burrito bowls:
1 Mix the chicken with the barbecue sauce: Warm the barbecue sauce for a few minutes in a small pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shredded chicken and stir to coat with the barbecue sauce. Leave the chicken in the pan until it has warmed through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn off heat.
2 Warm the corn and beans: Heat the corn and black beans together or separately in a pan or skillet over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt to your corn and beans and turn off heat.
3 Warm the rice in the microwave or on a pan. If you are using the microwave, pour the rice into a large bowl and cover it with a damp paper towel. Microwave the rice on high for about 1 minute. Check to see if the rice has warmed through. If it is still cold in some spots, give everything a stir and continue microwaving at 15-second intervals, until the rice is heated to your liking.
4 Assemble the burrito bowls: Divide the rice, chicken, corn, beans, romaine lettuce, and pico de gallo into 4 bowls. Top with cheese, if using, and then crush a few tortilla chips on top of each bowl for extra crunch.
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