Spicy, sweet honey chipotle chicken skewers served atop a bed of fresh zucchini rice studded with corn and finished with a thick and creamy avocado cilantro sauce. These Grilled Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls are healthy and light, yet packed with flavor and perfect for summer!
Today we are going to live our best summer life and celebrate two things I absolutely love – skewers and bowl food.
Because food on a stick and layered food in a bowl NEVER gets old.
I’m also going to skip all the small talk and get right to the recipe, because we have some serious summer grubbing to do!
Grilled Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls
Like 92.345% of the dishes I make, these bowls are all about the layers of flavors and textures.
Here’s what’s happening up in these bowls:
- Smoky, slightly sweet and spicy, tender chicken skewers generously kissed with sticky honey during the last couple minutes of grilling.
- Fluffy rice mixed with fresh, shredded zucchini, juicy kernels of corn, herbaceous cilantro and zesty lime. This zucchini rice situation is a refreshing and light way to do rice!
- Creamy, luscious, thick and slightly tangy avocado cilantro cream sauce that is straight up divine!
These bowls are healthy and light, yet filling and packed with ALL the flavor!
Perfect for lunch, dinner and summer entertaining, these spicy, sweet and sassy healthy chicken zucchini rice bowls most definitely need to be on your summer rotation!
How to make Honey Chipotle Chicken Breasts?
Honey chipotle chicken is ridiculously easy to make! All that’s required is to marinate the chicken in a mixture of oil, chipotle peppers in adobe, honey, garlic and a couple pantry dried seasonings and then cook it!
The key is to let the chicken hang out in the marinade for at least one hour, or up to 12 hours for maximum flavor. If you are in a pinch, you could marinate the chicken for as little as 30 minutes, however the marinade doesn’t just flavor the chicken, it also tenderizes the chicken, so you would be missing out of both flavor and juicy, moist texture. Basically, the longer you allow the chicken to marinate, the better! (<– Well, up to a certain point. You don’t want to marinate chicken for days or anything crazy!)
In this recipe we are using cubed chicken breast, skewering it and then cooking the chicken on the grill. However, you can keep the chicken breasts whole and grill them, or bake them! And, you can even use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if that is your jam!
How to rice zucchini?
Zucchini rice is a great way to use up any abundance of fresh zucchini you have hanging around in the summer!
Turning zucchini into “rice” is not only simple and easy, it’s also a great way to sneak more vegetables into your (or your kid’s) diet!
There are two different methods to rice zucchini. The first way, which is the quickest and easiest, is to use your food processor. Attach the shredding blade to the food processor and watch the machine do all the heavy lifting for you!
The other way to rice zucchini, is to use a box grater. Just make sure you are using the side of the grater with the largest holes.
How to make Grilled Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls? (tips & tricks)
1. While the recipe below indicates chicken breasts, you can absolutely use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if desired! As well, if you are pressed for time and don’t feel like cubing and skewering the chicken, you can marinate and grill whole chicken breasts or thighs!
2. If you are using wooden skewers for your honey chipotle chicken kebabs, make sure you soak the skewers in water for at least 30 minutes prior to using.
3. To shred zucchini you can either use a food processor with the shredding attachment, or you can use the coarse side of a box grater.
4. Make sure you use a tea towel or cheesecloth to squeeze and drain off any excess liquid from the shredded zucchini! If you skip this step, it will cause your rice to be runny and watery. While this is completely optional, if you would like to take it a step further you can transfer the squeezed zucchini rice (in its cheesecloth) to a fine-mesh strainer and salt it lightly. Toss the zucchini to coat and suspend the strainer over a bowl. Allow the zucchini to sit for 15-30 minutes, squeezing occasionally. The salt will draw out moisture from the shredded zucchini.
5. If you would like to make the creamy avocado cilantro sauce in advance, mix the yogurt, lime, cilantro and garlic in a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Once ready, transfer the yogurt mixture to a food processor and add in the avocado. If you make the sauce in its entirety, with the avocado, too far in advance, the avocado will oxidize and your sauce will turn brown. The fully prepare sauce will keep for about 5 hours, covered and stored in the refrigerator.
6. You can use either strainer Greek yogurt or sour cream in the sauce recipe. If you are looking for a tangier flavor, use sour cream.
Healthy, delicious and packed with flavor, these Grilled Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls are sure to be summer hit!
Until next week, friends, cheers – to chicken on a stick and food in a bowl!
The best Grilled Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls recipe 👇
- 1 ½ pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts cut into 1’’ pieces (can substitute boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
- ¼ cup Olive Oil
- 2 large Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce finely chopped (about 2 heaping TBS)
- 2 TBS Honey plus more for brushing chicken
- 2 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- Kosher Salt & Ground Black Pepper
- ¾ cup Uncooked White Rice
- 2 large Zucchini ends trimmed, shredded & squeezed of excess moisture*
- 1 (15 ounce) can Whole Kernel Corn , drained
- 2 TBS Unsalted Butter
- 1 Lime juice + zest
- 3 TBS Fresh Cilantro chopped
- 1 Avocado halved & pitted
- ½ cup Strained Greek Yogurt or Sour Cream (I used lowfat)
- 1 lime juiced (2 TBS)
- 2 TBS Cilantro chopped or more to taste
- 1 clove Garlic minced
- Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl combine the oil through chili powder. Season with a teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Whisk until well combined. Add in the chicken and toss to coat. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to allow the flavors to marry, at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.
- Make the sauce: Place all the ingredients for the sauce in the bowl of a food processor. Add ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Taste and adjust for seasoning. If a thinner sauce is desired, stream in a bit of olive oil, 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.*
- For the rice: In a medium sized saucepan, cook rice according to package instructions. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded zucchini, corn, butter, lime juice and zest. Season generously with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and adjust for seasoning to taste.
- Once ready to grill: Thread the chicken on to skewers*, discarding marinade. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat. Grill chicken skewers until all sides are lightly charred and chicken is cooked through, turning once or twice during grilling, about 10-12 minutes. OPTIONAL: Brush chicken skewers with honey during last minute or two of grilling.
- Assemble the bowls: Divide the zucchini rice among serving bowls, top with chicken skewers, and dollop with sauce. Serve with optional garnishes as desired. Enjoy!
- While the recipe below indicates chicken breasts, you can absolutely use boneless, skinless chicken thighs if desired! As well, if you are pressed for time and don’t feel like cubing and skewering the chicken, you can marinate and grill whole chicken breasts or thighs!
- To shred zucchini, use a food processor with the shredding attachment or the coarse side of a box grater. Place the grated zucchini in a tea towel or cheesecloth and squeeze to drain off any excess liquid. Optional - Transfer the squeezed zucchini (in it’s cheesecloth) to a fine-mesh strainer and salt lightly. Toss to coat and suspend the strainer over a bowl. Allow to sit for 15-30 minutes, squeezing occasionally.
- If using wooden skewers, make sure you allow them to soak in water for at least 30 minutes prior to use to prevent them from burning. (I used 6 large wooden skewers in all)
- Avocado sauce will oxidize if stored for too long in the refrigerator. If you make the avocado sauce in its entirety, use it within 5 hours. To make the sauce in advance, whisk together all the ingredients EXPECT the avocado. Process in the avocado once ready to use.
- You can use either strainer Greek yogurt or sour cream in the sauce recipe. If you are looking for a tangier flavor, use sour cream.
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