Fall Mexican Rice Bowls

Beans and Legumes, Main Dish, Mexican, Poultry, Rice | 15 comments

These Fall Mexican Rice Bowls are an easy recipe that I put together a few weeks ago after I had the opportunity to chat with Chef Connie Guttersen about putting together a new, simple family meal idea.

Connie challenged me to create a recipe that aimed for simple, easy, and everyday with ingredients that could be found at any common, non-specialty grocery store.

She suggested that I develop a recipe that contained 2 varieties of beans, plus at least 2 vegetables and 1 grain for a nutritionally dense recipe. And, of course, it shouldn’t take too long to prepare.

Fall Mexican Rice Bowls

I am a fan of simple and easy. Although I wanted my recipe to be everyday enough that it was accessible to readers, I didn’t want it to taste ordinary and everyday.

I chose to work on a Mexican Rice Bowl that could easily be adapted depending on what vegetables were on hand. Because we are in the middle of fall and merging into winter, I wanted to feature seasonal vegetables to create a Fall Mexican Rice Bowl. That called for sweet potatoes and kale.

Kale and sweet potatoes offer bright appealing colors and interest while also providing a diverse nutritional palate. The also paired really well with kidney and black beans and the Mexican flavors of cumin and chili.

Fall Mexican Rice Bowls

Tips for Simple, Easy, Everyday Meals

Make a Plan

We’ve all been there. Dangerously near 5:00 pm. No plan. Minimal groceries on hand. Panic sets in. I do this far more than I care to admit (although sometimes that panic allows me to create something truly delicious, it is stressful). Planning and shopping ahead make weeknight meals come together easily.

Fresh Is Best

I find that when I use fresh, seasonal ingredients I can really let the flavors of those vegetables shine. You don’t have to do a lot to make in season produce taste great.

Prepare in Advance

Any chopping, slicing, or dicing that can be done in advance during less busy periods of the day will save you time during the dinner rush. In this meal, kale can be pre-chopped and the sweet potatoes can be peeled and diced ahead of time.

Cook Once, Eat Twice

Connie shared some great words of advice for all busy parents out there. She said “As far as busy night… one concept which works for me, is the cook once, eat twice.”

To simplify these Fall Mexican Rice Bowls one step further, Connie suggests cooking extra meat the night before with plans to use the leftover meat, ” and do a “shredded” meat with the dish you are describing.” My Crock Pot Shredded Mexican Chicken would be perfect to prepare ahead of time to add on top of this rice dish.

What are your favorite tips for simple, easy, and everyday meals?

Share Your Recipes for Simple, Easy, Everyday Meals

Fall Mexican Rice Bowls

Yield: serves 4 - 6

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Print Save Recipe


For the Rice:
1 1/4 cup uncooked basmati rice
2 cups water
1/2 cup salsa
1/2 of a purple onion, diced
8 ounces peeled and diced sweet potato
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 teaspoon chili powder
3.5 ounces chopped kale
1 can Bush's Kidney Beans, drained
1 can Bush's Black Beans, drained
salt and pepper, to taste

For the Chicken:
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
[Optional - or use leftover meat from a previous night's dinner or rotisserie chicken]

Topping Ideas:
Lime Wedges
Avocado Slices
Shredded Pepper Jack Cheese


In a saucepan, add the water, salsa, and rice. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover with a lid, and turn the heat all the way to low. Allow to cook for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large cast iron skillet or stainless steel pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Add the diced onion and saute for 5-7 minutes, or until tender.

Then add the sweet potato, cumin, and chili powder and saute until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add the chopped kale and cook just until wilted. Stir in the beans. Turn heat to low and set aside while you prepare the chicken.

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a cast iron skillet or stainless steel pan. Add the chicken and seasonings and cook until the chicken is done. Set aside.

In a large bowl (or your skillet if it is large enough), combine the cooked rice with the vegetables.

To serve, scoop the rice and vegetable mixture into bowls, top with cubed chicken. Although not necessary, serve with any toppings that you prefer.


This recipe is very forgiving. You can easily swap out vegetables according to season or personal preference. Other great vegetable additions or substitutions include red bell pepper, sliced mushrooms, diced butternut squash, spinach, or tomatoes.

If you like extra heat, try including fire roasted green chiles or minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the rice.

Vegetarian option may omit the chicken.

A variety of rice can be used as well. If your family prefers brown rice, that is a suitable substitute. Quinoa is another great grain substitution.

I enjoy a paid partnership with Bush’s Beans. All opinions expressed are my own.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Allison - November 05, 2012 @ 10:46 am

    I’m all about simple + healthy! These look perfect and I can’t wait to add them in to the dinner rotation. I know for me, having a plan is key. Thanks for the great tips and the recipe.


  • 2
    Ali | Gimme Some Oven - November 05, 2012 @ 11:19 am

    These look wonderful! I especially love the kale and sweet potatoes — beautiful colors, and great fall flavors!


  • 3
    Julia - November 05, 2012 @ 2:35 pm

    I love recipes that make enough to eat for a few days. When I find myself really busy I love to be able to pull something out that is pre-made and heat it up. I can’t wait to try this out in the coming weeks. It kind of reminds me of Chipotle’s burrito bowl but better!!


  • 4
    Bev @ Bev Cooks - November 05, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

    Hoooooooly. I need 45 thousand bowls.


  • 5
    Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana - November 05, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

    I love the idea about cooking once and eating twice, it’s nice when ingredients can do double duty! I’m all about simplifying my cooking now that we have two kids. It’s hard to get dinner ready just at the right time, without someone clamoring for attention or needing to be fed! My slow-cooker has been a God send for that reason and I’ve been developing a lot more recipes using it :)


  • 6
    Shaina - November 06, 2012 @ 7:14 am

    Wonderful tips, and what a vibrant dinner.


  • 7
    Karen @ low-carb diets - November 06, 2012 @ 8:26 am

    I love Mexican food! Thanks for the great recipe. and I don’t have to cook again tomorrow!


  • 8
    Sarah - November 12, 2012 @ 10:59 am

    I love all the fall flavors in these Mexican rice bowls. Yum!


  • 9
    Jess @ Cook Smarts - November 12, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

    Love this dish – it looks beautiful and tasty. I totally agree with you on the make once / eat twice. Thinking of creative ways to “re-purpose” your meals definitely will make the week so much easier. I’ve been providing meal plans for folks, and I definitely try to use this philosophy!


  • 10
    Ruby @ The Ruby Red Apron - November 12, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

    These rice bowls sound delicious and nutritious!


  • 11
    Renee - November 14, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

    I made these this week with these changes: brown rice, chard (from my garden) instead of kale, and I left out the chicken. What a tasty dinner! I loved the sweet potatoes and the greens together. I was going to have the leftovers for lunch but I couldn’t wait and had them for breakfast instead!


  • 12
    Julie @ This Gal Cooks - September 19, 2014 @ 3:33 am

    These look amazing, Katie! I love all of the fresh veggies, basmati rice and the sweet potatoes!


  • 13
    Janet Fazio - September 23, 2014 @ 11:33 am

    Just in time for fall. I work at home, so leftovers are a must in my life. Looking forward to trying this.


  • 14
    Sarah - February 02, 2015 @ 8:57 pm

    Are the potatoes suppose to be boiled first, or are they just peeled, diced, and thrown into the skillet without boiling?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie Goodman replied: — February 4th, 2015 @ 9:50 AM

      they are not boiled first.

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