Caribbean Chicken Bowls with Coconut Rice

Let’s chat a sunshine-filled, tropical recipe! In the form of caribbean chicken bowls! Filled with coconut rice … plenty of colorful veggies … fresh pineapple. So happy and bright!

Which is all rather ironic considering we’ve had more rain, thunderstorms and just downright gloomy weather than I can handle over the last two weeks. It’s raining on my parade. Quite literally.

Tropical & bright caribbean chicken bowls! This recipe is filled with creamy coconut rice, crisp colorful veggies and juicy citrus chicken!

Clearly we need to counteract all this miserable weather with food. And mayyyybe a drink. With one of those adorable little umbrellas. Um yes. I think that will cheer us up nicely.

So. Let’s talk dinner. Specifically this recipe! The base of these bowls is a total staple at our house – creamy coconut brown rice! So good, so tropical. A perfect starting point.

To that rice, we add on some citrus-y chicken. It’s nice and browned and has a touch of char-like flavor. Then! We throw in some crisp tender colorful veggies, some sweet fresh pineapple, creamy dreamy avocado and a quick drizzle of lime vinaigrette (which we also used to marinate the chicken!).

We throw it all into a bowl and serve with a big ol’ handful of plantain chips. Largely because my obsession with them has reached epic levels. But also because they are just downright delicious and add a nice bit of extra crunch! Crunch, crunch, crunch.

Tropical & bright caribbean chicken bowls! This recipe is filled with creamy coconut rice, crisp colorful veggies and juicy citrus chicken!

Now, let’s settle in and talk a few tips & tricks for this recipe!

  1. I know the recipe time is a little on the longer side, BUT it does include time for the chicken to marinate. So, make the marinade and get the chicken all up in it. While it is hanging out in the fridge, start the rice and prep everything else (all the veggies, etc.!). Cook the veggies, transfer to a bowl, and then use the same skillet to cook the chicken. Badda bing, badda boom!
  2. DO NOT let the chicken marinate for longer than the 25 minutes. The citrus will start to actually cook the chicken. No bueno.
  3. The cooking time for the chicken will vary slightly depending on how large your chicken breasts are. An instant thermometer is your best friend here and will help make sure you don’t overcook and dry it out. No one wants that.
  4. If your coconut milk is separated, just stick it in a saucepan on the stove and heat until combined (it doesn’t need to be warm or hot!). Then use as directed.
  5. I totally think the chicken and veggies would be AWESOME grilled. But I’m not allowed around the grill without supervision. Complete klutz.
  6. Don’t like chicken? I think this recipe could work nicely with other proteins! If you do try something else, share and let us know!

And with that, I’m done talking. Now, who wants to come bring me a drink? I’m looking at the weather forecast and it ain’t pretty.

Tropical & bright caribbean chicken bowls! This recipe is filled with creamy coconut rice, crisp colorful veggies and juicy citrus chicken!

Yield: about 4 servings

Caribbean Chicken Bowls with Coconut Rice

Prep Time:35 minutes

Cook Time:40 minutes

Total Time:1 hour 15 minutes

Tropical & bright caribbean chicken bowls! This recipe is filled with creamy coconut rice, crisp colorful veggies and juicy citrus chicken!

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

  • ⅓ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (1-inch) piece ginger, grated
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, butterflied in half all the way through

For the rice:

  • 1 ½ cups uncooked brown basmati rice
  • 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 ¾ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

For the veggies / bowls:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium orange bell pepper, sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1 large avocado, pitted and sliced
  • plantain chips (optional)
  • lime wedges (optional)

Directions:

For the chicken:

  1. Add the ⅓ cup olive oil, lime juice, garlic, ginger, maple syrup, salt and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Add the chicken to a large ziplock plastic bag and pour in the majority of the marinade, reserving about ¼ cup for later. Seal the bag and use your fingers to mix everything together. Transfer the chicken to the refrigerator and let sit for 25 minutes.
  2. When the chicken is done marinating, set a large nonstick skillet over medium / medium high heat. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil (if you used the pan for the veggies and it still has some oil, you can add a bit less). Add the chicken to the pan (shake off the excess marinade first) and sear for about 3 to 4 minutes, until lightly browned and the chicken releases easily. Flip the chicken pieces over and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned and the internal temperature registers 165ºF. Remove from the pan and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing (or you can cut into chunks).

For the rice:

  1. While the chicken is marinating, add the rice, coconut milk, water and salt to a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, give it a stir, then cover and turn down the heat to medium-low / low. Let simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes untouched. Fluff the rice with a fork and stir in the fresh cilantro.

For the veggies:

  1. Set a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When hot, add in the onion, both peppers, the salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, until crisp tender. Remove to a bowl and cover loosely to keep warm (use this same skillet to cook the chicken!).

To serve:

  1. Scoop some of the coconut rice into a bowl. Top with some of the chicken, the sauteed veggies, some pineapple and avocado. Drizzle with a touch of the reserved lime vinaigrette. Serve with the plantain chips and lime wedges, if desired.

The amount of liquid required and the cooking time for the brown rice can vary a bit depending on the brand. If your package suggests something different, use the same amount of coconut milk listed above and then adjust the water accordingly. You may also need to adjust the cooking time slightly.

Prep time includes 25 minutes to let the chicken marinate. See post above for more tips for this recipe.

Be sure that the plantain chips you buy are certified gluten free if needed for your diet!

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