Home > Dinner > Uncategorized > Chicken and Wild Rice Chicken and Wild Rice July 7, 2020 | 8 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. Chicken and Wild Rice bowls combine seasoned wild rice, grilled chicken, tender sweet potatoes, and the most addictive cilantro-lime sauce. Chicken and Wild Rice Say hello to my latest meal prep obsession! The last few months, I’ve gotten out of the habit of meal prepping so a few Sundays ago I made this recipe with meal prep in mind. And since then, it has been on repeat three weeks in a row. Which is pretty unlike me, since I like to change out my meal prep quite a bit. But I cannot get enough of these Chicken and Wild Rice bowls! That, and, my sister who just moved here for school (but is waiting things out due to Covid) keeps stealing a few prepped meal bowls from my fridge — ha! So what is supposed to last most of the week has only been lasting me one or two days. I don’t blame her though; these are so addictive. Plus, they’re a meal you just feel great eating, since they’re loaded with nutritious ingredients. The original inspiration for this recipe came from a lunch at Aubergine and Company cafe here in Utah– their wild rice chicken bowls are delicious! They have a few more components, so I’ve simplified things and will share a few ways to streamline this recipe even more. Let’s get started! Wild rice While I don’t use too many boxed ingredients for meals, I’ll admit I do enjoy packaged wild rice. It’s convenient, tasty, and fast to make (particularly when making these bowls that have quite a few of components). I use two boxes of wild rice for this recipe, but I’ve also made wild rice from scratch. If you prefer to make the wild rice from scratch, here’s my go to recipe: Ingredients 2/3 cup wild rice* 1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil) 1 and 2/3 cup chicken broth 1/2 teaspoon EACH: salt and dried parsley 1/4 teaspoon EACH: cracked pepper, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder 1 teaspoon white sugar Instructions In a fine-mesh sieve, thoroughly rinse the wild rice. Combine all of the ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a low simmer (a few notches above lowest temperature). Cover the pot, simmer for about 45 minutes, and then check. If tender, stop cooking; if not, cook for another 10-15 minutes or until it is tender. Add additional broth as needed (if the liquid has all evaporated but rice is not yet tender). When the rice is cooked through, drain off any additional liquid and fluff it with a fork. *Alternatively, you could use 1/3 cup wild rice and 1/3 cup parboiled long white rice. It has to be the parboiled long white rice to cook evenly with the wild rice. Wild rice can be tricky sometimes, since cooking time varies by the brand, so you’ll want to keep an eye on it as it does cook. Cilantro-lime sauce This sauce is the ultimate chicken-sweet potato-wild rice topping. It’s tangy, acidic, a little spicy, and packed with flavor. I started out aiming to copycat the sauce at Aubergine, but have to admit, we like this sauce even better! A few ingredient notes: Lime juice and zest: Use about four or five big, juicy limes for this sauce. I like using this electric juicer to make juicing them a breeze. This microplane is my favorite for zesting. These two tools make the sauce for Chicken and Wild Rice bowls come together in a cinch. Olive oil: The better your olive oil, the better the flavor of the sauce, so be sure to use good quality, extra virgin olive oil. Cilantro: To get 1/2 cup, you’ll need about one bunch (unless you have an especially large bunch!) To prepare for this sauce, I simply hold the base of the bunch with one hand and use my other hand to twist off the leafy tops. It’s fine to get some smaller stems in the sauce as well — they have loads of flavor. Jalapeño: I only add in 1 tablespoon, but if you like it spicy, add more jalapeños– as much as you want! Honey: This ingredient adds some much-needed sweetness to offset all of the acidity going on. Almond butter: It sounds weird, I know, but almond butter adds the perfect balancing flavor and a nice thickness to the sauce. If you don’t have almond butter, it will be okay without it. I would not recommend using peanut butter instead, though, as that will overpower the sauce. Cumin: Cumin is a great spice for this sauce that complements the flavors in the chicken. Dijon mustard: Make sure to use Dijon, not yellow mustard. There’s a big flavor difference! Garlic: There’s no need to mince the garlic before adding it into the blender. Just give a few coarse chops to make sure it integrates nicely into the sauce. Sweet potatoes Just like in this Ground Turkey Sweet Potato Skillet recipe, we use a shortcut on the sweet potatoes for these bowls. We use the microwave oven; it totally works, and the texture is still fantastic! Microwaved sweet potatoes have tender flesh and soft skins that peel off in a cinch. The only prep needed is to poke a few small holes in the potato so the steam can escape. Use a fork to pierce the potato a few times. An 8-ounce (1/2 pound) sweet potato takes about 5 minutes to cook on 100% power. Larger sweet potatoes will take longer, and when cooking multiple potatoes at the same time, you will need even more time. Continue to microwave the potatoes in 1-minute bursts until the potatoes are cooked through. You’ll know the potatoes are ready when they pierce easily in the center with a fork. Tip: When purchasing sweet potatoes, choose two or three of the smallest potatoes you can find. I try to pick 5-or-6-ounce potatoes. This will ensure they fully cook in a timely manner. If you’re not microwaving the potatoes, I’d recommend cooking the potatoes according to this baked sweet potatoes recipe first. Once the potatoes are cooked, the skins peel off easily. I then like to place them on the grill alongside the chicken for a crispier exterior. Give them a quick spritz with olive oil cooking spray, a sprinkle of salt, and then grill for a couple of minutes per side. Chicken Since there are quite a few other things going on, I wanted the chicken to be as simple as possible. Pick your favorite chicken seasoning and add it to the chicken liberally, along with some salt and pepper! Although it’s technically a veggie rub, this seasoning is one of my favorites for quick grilled chicken. I also love Mrs. Dash’s® chicken grilling blend. (Neither brand is sponsored on this site.) Chicken and Wild Rice toppings While these bowls are phenomenal with just the main components (chicken, wild rice, sweet potatoes, and sauce), a few tasty toppings take these Chicken and Wild Rice bowls to the next level. Arugula/spinach blend: To get in a few more greens, I like to add a couple handfuls of whatever lettuce I’ve got in my fridge; lately that’s been arugula and spinach, which work great in these bowls. Avocado: I’m sure you’re not surprised this ingredient makes it in the bowl; I love avocados! A good, ripe avocado adds healthy fats to these bowls, as well as a nice creaminess. Sliced almonds: For a crunch, add in some nuts! Any type will work, but I’m partial to sliced almonds in these Chicken and Wild Rice bowls. Dried cranberries or dried tart cherries: Just a small handful goes a long way; dried fruit adds a touch of sweetness and a little extra tartness. Storing Chicken and Wild Rice As the sauce chills, it thickens quite a bit. Don’t be alarmed, but the sauce can also form clumps–it’s just the olive oil solidifying at the cold temps. Take the sauce out of the fridge about 20-30 minutes or so before you need it, to bring it back up to temperature, then shake it up (or stir vigorously) to remix. Portion for meal prep. After making all the components for this meal (chicken, rice, sweet potatoes, and sauce) I evenly separate everything into five meal prep containers. Start by layering even amounts of rice, then chopped chicken, and then chopped sweet potato. I spoon the sauce into five smaller sauce containers. I add any other ingredients (like lettuce and toppings) to a small plastic bag. If adding avocado, I prefer to add that each day since pre-portioning it will cause it to brown and change texture. 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Course Dinner, Main Course Cuisine American Keyword wild rice and chicken Prep Time 45 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Total Time 1 hour Servings 6 servings Calories 441kcal Cost $7.49 IngredientsChicken2 pounds (907g) boneless skinless chicken breast3 tablespoons olive oil1 and 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt2 teaspoons chicken grilling blend (See Note 1)1/4 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin and freshly cracked pepperWild Rice, Sweet Potatoes, & Optional Bowl Toppings2 packages (6 oz; 170g EACH) Long Grain and Wild Rice packaged mix (See Note 2)2 pounds (907g) small sweet potatoes (7-8 oz. each)Optional: handful of arugula spinach blend; 1 large avocado, sliced almonds, dried cranberries or dried tart cherriesSauce1/2 cup EACH: freshly squeezed lime juice (106g) and olive oil (98g)1/2 teaspoon lime zest1/2 cup (13g) gently packed cilantro (about 1 bunch; some stems are fine, I just twist off the tops typically)1 tablespoon EACH: coarsely chopped jalapeño, honey, almond butter1 teaspoon ground cumin1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard1 clove coarsely chopped garlic clove InstructionsSAUCE: In a small blender, combine all of the sauce ingredients except the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste (I add 1/4 teaspoon of each). Pulse to combine ingredients. Once combined, drizzle in the olive oil and pulse just to incorporate. Transfer sauce to a mason jar and refrigerate until ready to use.WILD RICE: Follow package directions to prepare wild rice. Once cooked, fluff with a fork. Keep the lid on to keep warm while preparing the chicken and potatoes.SWEET POTATOES: Wash and scrub four to five (2 pounds total) sweet potatoes. Use a fork to pierce the skin-- about 6-8 pierces per potato. Cook on a microwave-safe plate for 5 minutes. Flip and microwave for another 3-5 minutes, or until potatoes are tender and can easily be pierced by a fork in the center. The time will vary, depending on the size of the potatoes. I have tested this recipe with 6, 7, and 8-ounce sweet potatoes; larger potatoes take longer. Remove from the microwave and let cool slightly. Once cool enough to handle, cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Peel the skins off with your fingers (they should easily slip off). Spray both sides of the potatoes with cooking spray and lightly sprinkle both sides with salt. CHICKEN: Stir together the olive oil, salt, pepper, chicken seasoning, and cumin in a small bowl and set aside. Slice large chicken breasts in half horizontally. Cover chicken breasts with plastic wrap (to avoid splatter). Using a meat mallet or the bottom of a frying pan, pound breasts to even thickness (you don't want to flatten the meat, just even it in thickness). Pat chicken dry with a paper towel. With a pastry brush (or your hands) brush both sides of all the chicken breast pieces with the seasoning and oil blend. Set aside.GRILL: Preheat grill to medium high (400-450 degrees F.) Add chicken to cleaned and greased grill (I rub grill grates with a vegetable oil-drenched paper towel). Grill for 4-5 minutes per side, flipping over halfway in between or until chicken registers 160 degrees F. Remove to a plate and tent with foil. If needed, add an extra sprinkle of salt to the chicken breasts off the grill. Add the sweet potatoes to the grill and cook for 2 minutes per side, using tongs to flip potatoes halfway in between. Remove to a plate to slightly cool. Coarsely chop sweet potatoes. Thinly slice or chop chicken breasts.ASSEMBLE: Set out even amounts of wild rice and top with chicken and sweet potatoes. Add any other optional toppings; I like a small handful of an arugula/spinach mix, sliced almonds, dried cranberries, and a thinly sliced (or chopped) ripe avocado. Drizzle with sauce and enjoy! Recipe NotesNote 1: I like Mrs. Dash's® chicken grilling blend, which does not have salt added. Whatever chicken seasoning blend you use, make sure it doesn't have salt added or you'll need to adjust the salt amount in the rub. Note 2: Here's what I use when making wild rice; if you'd rather not used packaged wild rice, read the blog post for a homemade wild rice recipe. Nutrition FactsServing: 6g | Calories: 441kcal | Carbohydrates: 47.3g | Protein: 37.7g | Fat: 12.6g | Cholesterol: 110.3mg | Sodium: 162.7mg | Fiber: 4.9g | Sugar: 9.7g DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.