Cotija Corn Pulled Chicken Bowls


I think we can all agree that bowls can be one of the most fun lunch or dinner ideas. There are endless options, and it's the perfect opportunity to pack all your favorite ingredients into one meal. I really love Mexican food, so I knew I wanted to come up with a spinoff idea that included some of my favorite flavors. I started with the idea of a cotija corn mix, obviously some rice, and even more obviously some avocado. I recently discovered how wonderful poblano peppers were (kinda remind me of a bell pepper with more crunch and a little more flavor), so we're going to toss some of those in too. Finally some easy pulled chicken seemed like the perfect protein, and with the help of a few garnishes we've got a flavor-packed easy bowl of dreams!

What could be better!

Starting off with the pulled chicken, you can absolutely use rotisserie chicken if you have some, but if not we'll use a small pot, some water, and chicken breasts to whip up some chicken perfect for shredding. Once that's done, we'll add a few pantry-staple spices and the slightly spicy chili chicken will be ready to add to the bowls.

Poblano peppers definitely have a little bite to them, so we'll briefly sauté them in a little olive oil. Not only will this bring out the dark green color, it will also slightly soften them while keeping a little crunch. Also, personally, in any dish but especially in spicy-ish food, I love when my veggies take on that little bit of charred flavor, and a quick sauté over high heat will do just that.

I have recently developed a love affair with Cotija cheese, so much so that I constantly need to have some in my fridge to throw on anything at a moments notice. It is salty and crumbly, two qualities that make it the perfect cheese to mix in to a big hearty bowl. Since cotija and corn go so well together, we'll combine those, add a little cilantro and lime juice, and end up with the tastiest corn salad to add on top.

After you've cooked a little rice (however method you prefer!), it's time to start putting your bowls together. It can't just be me who loves to arrange a bowl so that you can see each ingredient and admire the pretty combination, so I suggest layering everything before you mix it up.

And for all the greens...

Once the rice is added, topped with the shredded chicken, corn and cotija salad, and sliced poblanos, it's time to add all the bright toppings. Cilantro seems necessary here, so make sure not to be shy. Sliced avocado is also a must, and goes so well with the corn. If you're daring go ahead and add some sliced jalapeños for an extra kick.

Once that beautiful bowl is all set, make sure to squeeze with extra lime!! Like maybe an entire lime. And maybe bring one with you to the table in case you need to add some more. Or maybe stick a slice in a nearby Corona. Whatever floats your boat.

Enjoy every bite!

Cotija Corn Pulled Chicken Bowls

Limey, spicy, and cheesy, these pulled chicken bowls are packed with a little bit of everything to ensure each bite will be packed with a mouth-watering combination of fresh ingredients.



Servings: 2

  • ¾ cup rice uncooked
  • 2 4-ounce chicken breasts
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 4 tsp olive oil divided
  • 1 poblano sliced
  • 1 cup corn
  • ½ cup cotija plus additional for serving
  • juice of ½ a lime plus additional for serving
  • 2 tbsp cilantro chopped, plus additional for serving
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • sprinkle of crushed red pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ avocado sliced
  • jalapeño thinly sliced, for serving


1. Cook rice according to package directions and set aside.

2. Sprinkle chicken breasts with kosher salt and black pepper. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 8-12 minutes until cooked through, depending on thickness.

3. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add sliced poblano and sauté until slightly softened, 3-5 minutes. Remove to a plate to keep warm.

4. Add remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil in the skillet. Add corn and season with salt and pepper, stirring until slightly charred. Remove to a bowl and let cool for 2-3 minutes.

5. Stir in cotija, lime juice and cilantro. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.

6. Once chicken is cooked through, drain and remove to a bowl and shred with two forks. Return chicken to saucepan and add 1/4 cup water, chili powder, crushed red pepper, cumin, and paprika. Stir and simmer until water is evaporated.

7. Divide rice, chicken, corn mix, and poblanos between 2 bowls. Top with avocado, cilantro, sliced jalapeños, and additional cotija. Squeeze on additional fresh lime juice and enjoy.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

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