Some would say that lunch is my life. Ok, maybe no one would say that, but sometimes I certainly think it. For the last year and a half I have been catering lunch to the fine folks of my small town and this has really forced me to explore the possibilities of the midday meal (it has also made me develop an unhealthy obsession with take-out containers that only someone who delivers lunch to people on a regular basis could understand). In this year and a half, I have made hundreds (maybe thousands) of salads, sandwiches and soups. I have tried my best to think outside the box by putting lunch in a box fit for adult appetites. Let me tell you, a creative lunch is harder than you think.
I realize that the majority of people in the world are perfectly happy eating the same lunch every day with no change in routine. It takes the guess work out of it; simplicity is the “happy place” of a busy life. But I love to try different things and a fresh and exciting lunch break is sometimes exactly the change of pace I need.
Lately, I have been thinking a lot about “gluten-free”. Not because I particularly want to follow a gluten-free lifestyle, but because there are so many people out there that have to and I think that they are probably ready for something different to eat that isn’t just a salad or some strange medley of lunchmeat and hard-boiled eggs. This thinking led me to rice and what I could put on top of it. Let me tell you that there are a million possibilities and I am eager to explore each one. This Southwest Rice Bowl is a crazy-delicious start that I hope you give a try.
- 2 limes
- ¼-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 T chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- 1 t . honey
- ½ t . chili powder
- 1 t . cumin
- ½ t . kosher salt
- ½ t . pepper
- 2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
- 1 oz can black beans rinsed and drained, 15 .
- 1 cup frozen kernel corn
- 1 tomato diced
- 1 oz can diced green chilies 4
- ½ c . light sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- 2 in chipotles adobo sauce minced
- 2 cups hot cooked brown rice
- Shredded romaine lettuce to serve
- Diced avocado to serve
- Sliced jalapeno to serve
- Lime wedges
- In a small bowl, add the juice of both limes, ¼ cup olive oil, cilantro, honey, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and whisk until emulsified. Taste to see if more oil is needed. Add half of the vinaigrette to the shredded chicken and toss to combine. Heat the chicken for 1 minute on HIGH in the microwave, set aside.
- In a large bowl mix together the beans, corn, tomato and green chilies and toss with the remaining vinaigrette. Microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes until the corn is hot. Toss again and set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk together the sour cream, a squeeze of lime juice ( you should be able to get a little more from those used limes) and the chipotles. Stir well and set aside.
- To assemble: Spoon 1 cup of hot rice into a shallow bowl. Arrange ½ cup shredded romaine on top of the rice. Top with ½ cup of the black bean salad and top with ½ cup of shredded chicken. Add diced avocado and a couple of spoonfuls of the chipotle cream and enjoy!
- Tip: Substitute cooked quinoa for the brown rice for a little extra protein!