Imagine a Chipotle meal where you don’t have to hear, “The guacamole is $2 extra, okay?” This is my kind of meal, as I prefer to stuff my face with guacamole without being reminded of the price of avocados.
This is my current go-to lunch. I keep a big batch of the chicken in the fridge, along with the extra squash and cilantro cauliflower rice. Then, I quickly heat-up the components (a toaster oven is great for this) and enjoy.
Note that this recipe is heavy on the nightshades, which are eliminated on the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol. I recently re-introduced nightshades into my diet after eliminating them for a couple of years. And that is the beauty of a leaky gut protocol – the ability to eventually enjoy tomatoes without any symptoms of autoimmunity!
The Elements: Paleo Burrito Bowl
Smoked Chili Butternut Squash – For a hearty and colorful addition to this burrito bowl, I added some spiced butternut squash. Feel free to use sweet potatoes, roasted with the same seasoning, instead.
Crockpot Mexican Chicken – When I need a storehouse of quick lunch-time protein in the fridge, I’ll throw some chicken thighs in the crockpot in the morning. By 1pm, this fragrant and melt-in-your-mouth staple is ready.
Cilantro Cauliflower Rice – Cauliflower rice provides a fresh, neutral base for the hearty toppings. A bit of cilantro and a squeeze of lime jazzes up this grain-free staple.
The fixings – Avocado or guacamole, salsa of choice, sliced lime, chopped cilantro…
- 1½ - 2 lbs. skinless and boneless chicken thighs
- ¾ cup salsa of choice
- 1 tsp. mild chili powder blend (such as this one)
- Unrefined salt, to taste
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed (substitute 2 sweet potatoes, prepared similarly)
- 1 tsp. mild chili powder blend
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 tbs. melted coconut oil/ghee or olive oil
- ½ tsp. unrefined salt
- 2 small heads or 1 large head cauliflower, in florets
- 1 Tbs. ghee or coconut oil
- ¼ cup broth/stock of choice
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ½ fresh lime
- Avocado or guacamole
- Additional lime and cilantro
- For the chicken, place the ingredients except the salt in a slow cooker. Cook on LOW for about 6 hours, or HIGH for about 3-4 hours. When done, shred with a fork and season with a pinch of salt.
- For the squash, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets lined with unbleached parchment paper for easy cleanup. On the baking sheets, toss the squash with the seasonings, salt and ghee. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown and tender, stirring halfway through.
- For the cauliflower rice, place the cauliflower florets in a food processor (this is the one I use) and pulse until it resembles rice-sized crumbles. Heat the ghee/coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the riced cauliflower and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the broth and cover with a lid. Cook for about 4 minutes, until softened but still firm. Remove the lid and stir to evaporate excess liquid. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro.
- For assembly, place some rice and squash in a bowl and top with chicken and the toppings of your choice.
- Leftover chicken stores very well in the fridge - be sure to add some of the cooking liquid when you store the chicken to keep it moist.
So funny, I make a variation of this all the time. LOVE doing chicken thighs in the crockpot with southwest seasonings…such a treat to have a meal waiting in the fridge. Then I pile on whatever else I like…always avocado or guac, and some fresh salsa. The seasoned squash is totally new to me. Can’t wait to try. Thanks for the inspiration! Oh, and I sometimes turn the chicken thighs into a southwest soup, which is a great way to add some bone broth!
Can you recommend a slow cooker that doesn’t have heavy metals in the liner?
Thanks so much for helping me to decide what to make for supper…While I did not make this exactly and I will next time…I had a steak out so cut it in strips, marinaded it in Cumin, red pepper flakes, Smokey Paprika, Red pepper,Chili powder and olive oil for about an hour. Cooked the steak with onions and peppers like you would fajitas…always wanted to make cauliflower rice…it was awesome! We topped everything with Salsa and Guacamole and Mexican Cheese…Yumm had a few corn ships too…Loved it.. Will definitely become a part of our dinner rountine! ..My husband does not really care for rice and when he saw the cauliflower he said…..ahhh…I said just wait…it’s not rice…Now what are you trying to trick me to eat? I had to laugh…he loved it!!!
Your steak sounds amazing too…I’ll have to try that!
Why ghee or coconut oil? Need to reduce cholesterol how about canola or olive oil?
You’ll likely find this post about the role of cholesterol in health helpful, as well as my post on canola oil. http://empoweredsustenance.com/is-cholesterol-bad/ http://empoweredsustenance.com/canola-oil-excuses/
This is a must try dish! All elements really come together to make one amazing dish. I like that you use coconut oil for the cauliflower rice. It makes the dish healthier!
Hi Lauren. I just came from reading an older post where you used the term “grass-fed gelatin”. Gelatin, beef, etc. are not “grass-fed”. COWS are grass-fed. Then they are killed to make beef & gelatin & other things. I was hoping in the interim between when that column was published (2014) & now that you might have decided not to eat animals or products derived from animals but I see that didn’t happen. We do not have to eat animals. We just do not have to. We choose to. Thank you.
I made this last night. It was amazing! My family loved it, one person didn’t know that the “rice” was cauliflower until I told them. I used sweet potatoes instead of squash. I was a little freaked out by the cauliflower, but everything came together wonderfully. It is such a great medley of flavors. I used homemade salsa with the chicken and made some guacamole to go with everything. Great recipe, clear instructions. Thank you!
I was a little freaked out by the cauliflower, but everything came together wonderfully.