Cilantro-Lime Chicken Meatball Bowls with Sweet Corn Pico de Gallo and Cauli-Rice are a fresh and flavorful gluten-free lunch or dinner recipe. Prep once and enjoy all week long!
Hello, hello – I hope you had a wonderful weekend and start to your week! Our weekend absolutely flew by which is surprising because I only left the house once, to go to Target (never again on a Saturday!) to get Lincoln a big storage bin for all his Legos. Anyone else’s 4 year old’s life completely revolve around bricks, bad guys, and Lego Batman? Mmkay, good.
At any rate, I’m making good on my promise to share more recipes on the healthier side with you in 2018. Though if you like steak and caramelized onions, or steak and seasoned butter, or steak and chevre – or any combination of the three – I’ve got a Valentine’s Day recipe you’re going to go absolutely nuts for. Staaay tuned!
In the meantime, we feast on this bowl of healthy goodness – Cilantro-Lime Chicken Meatball Bowls with Sweet Corn Pico de Gallo and Cauli-Rice. Hello could I FIT anymore descriptive words into this recipe title? It’s just that, this dish is made up of four delicious components that I wanted to make you aware of because each is better than the last.
First up – Cilantro-Lime Chicken Meatballs. If you like my then you’ll love these meatballs because it’s the burger in meatball form – ha! Ground chicken breast is jazzed up with cilantro, garlic, lime, red pepper, and jalapeno then baked. Easy. Healthy. Yummy.
Next, Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice – soooo so good!! If you’ve never tried cauliflower rice before, or are on the fence about the entire concept, this version will turn you into a believer. The best flavor and super easy. Rice cauliflower (or buy cauliflower crumbles) then saute in a skillet and stir in lime juice and cilantro. The end.
Rounding out the cast of characters is a giant thwack of guacamole, ‘nuf said, followed by a generous scoop of Sweet Corn Pico De Gallo. I love using citrus to add craveable flavor to healthy dishes made without a lot of fat, which is why lime juice is included in each of the components of this dish, and the sweet corn in this pico de gallo tames it down to just the right level.
Now, don’t get scared by the length of ingredient list in this recipe. Like I said, lime juice is used in all the components, and cilantro and jalapeno are used multiple times too. Totally worth it to get these fresh and flavorful bowls on the table for dinner tonight. Or lunch tomorrow! This recipe makes great meal kits. Combine the meatballs and rice in a container to be warmed in the microwave, then pack the pico and guacamole in separate containers to add cold on top. Let me know if you give it a try?
Start by making the Cilantro-Lime Chicken Meatballs. To a large bowl add 1lb ground chicken breast (could also use ground chicken which includes the dark meat) with 2 chopped green onions, 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper, 1/2 minced jalapeno, 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro, 2 cloves minced garlic, the juice of 1/2 lime, 1 whisked egg, 1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (I use pulverized Rice Chex) 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste.
Mix with your hands until just combined then form into 16 meatballs and place onto a nonstick-sprayed, foil-lined sheet pan and bake for 16-18 minutes at 400 degrees. Tip: barely wet your hands to make rolling this slightly sticky mixture super easy.
While the meatballs are baking, make the Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice. First send 1 small head cauliflower through a food processor fitted with the grating attachment – you’ll need 4-6 cups cauliflower rice total. Alternatively you could use a box grater or buy a package of cauliflower crumbles. Whichever way you go, you can prep the cauliflower a day ahead of time. The smell will be strong as you open the container of riced cauliflower, but it will taste just fine!
Heat 1 Tablespoon coconut oil in a large skillet over heat that’s just a touch above medium then add the cauliflower rice, season with salt, and saute until the cauliflower is tender, 8-10 minutes. Pull the skillet off the heat then stir in 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro and a drizzle of lime juice, and then mix to combine. I’m telling you – this stuff is SO good!!
Last couple of steps include mixing up a batch of guacamole – 2 ripe avocados mashed with 1 large clove garlic, tons of salt, and lime juice – and the Sweet Corn Pico de Gallo. The pops of sweet corn in this fresh salsa totally make the dish.
In a medium-sized bowl whisk together 2 teaspoons honey plus the juice of 1/2 lime and lots of salt. Add 2 vine-ripened tomatoes that have been seeded and chopped, 3/4 cup sweet corn (raw or frozen/thawed) 1/4 minced red onion, 1/2 minced jalapeño, and 1/4 cup packed cilantro that’s been chopped then mix to combine. You can do this a day ahead of time to save time, btw!
Last step, assembly! Scoop the cauliflower rice into bowls then top with the chicken meatballs and a big scoop each of guacamole and sweet corn pico de gallo. I hope you love this healthy, fresh and flavorful dish – enjoy!
- For the Cilantro-Lime Chicken Meatballs:
- 1lb ground chicken breast
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
- 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
- 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (I use pulverized Rice Chex)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste
- For the Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice:
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 small head cauliflower, grated (4-6 cups)
- 2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
- juice of 1/2 lime
- For the Sweet Corn Pico de Gallo:
- juice of 1 lime (start with 1/2 lime)
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 3/4 cup sweet corn, raw or frozen/thawed
- 1/4 red onion, minced
- 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 1/4 cup packed cilantro, chopped
- For the Guacamole:
- 2 ripe avocados
- juice of 1/2 lime
- 1/2 cup sweet corn, raw or frozen/thawed
- 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- For the Cilantro-Lime Chicken Meatballs: Preheat oven to 400 degrees then line a half sheet pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Set aside. To a large bowl add all ingredients then mix with your hands until just combined. Form into 16 meatballs (helps to wet hands slightly while rolling) then place onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes then set aside.
- For the Cilantro-Lime Cauliflower Rice: Melt coconut oil in a large skillet over heat that’s just a touch above medium. Add riced cauliflower, season with salt, then saute until crisp-tender, 8-10 minutes. Remove skillet from heat then stir in chopped cilantro and a drizzle of lime juice. Set aside.
- For the Sweet Corn Pico de Gallo: Whisk together honey, salt, and the juice of 1/2 lime in a medium sized bowl. Add remaining ingredients then stir to combine. Add more lime juice if desired. Can be done a day ahead of time.
- For the Guacamole: Mash all ingredients together in a bowl with a fork or potato masher. Can be done a day ahead of time – cover the surface of the guacamole with saran wrap to prevent browning.
- To assemble: scoop cooked cauliflower rice into bowls then top with chicken meatballs, guacamole, and sweet corn pico de gallo, and then serve.