These high protein Cajun Chicken and Rice Bowls pack serious flavor for a delicious healthy dinner or lunch!
While I’ve always loved to cook, it wasn’t until I met Bry that I really appreciated how important spices and seasonings are. And as fun as it is experimenting with different combos and exploring spice shops for new seasonings, I always fall back on my all-time favorite: Cajun seasoning. Seriously, this spice mix is the ultimate flavor-booster. I almost always put it on my eggs and love using it as a dry rub when grilling.
This chicken dish is all about the Cajun seasoning. Simply mix 1-2 tablespoons (depending on how spicy you want it to get) with brown sugar, paprika, dried thyme, and black pepper. Using the full 2 tablespoons of the Cajun seasoning definitely got my nose running from the heat, but I loved it! Again, if your taste buds aren’t huge heat fans, I recommend cutting back on the Cajun seasoning.
I used chicken thighs as they’re a bit fattier and feel more “right” in a Cajun-flavored dish, but if you’re worried about the extra saturated fat, feel free to swap in chicken breasts and decrease the cooking time just a bit.
As with any chicken and rice dish, this recipe is super customizable to whatever is in your fridge and pantry. Don’t like peppers? Broccoli and zucchini would be delicious (or okra if you have it in your local grocery store!). No rice? Use quinoa, farro, or any other whole grain in the cupboard. I used long grain brown rice that takes about 45 min to cook, but if you’re in a pinch feel free to use instant rice to speed up the cooking process.
When I looked at the calendar of holidays coming up, I couldn’t believe that it’s already almost Maris Gras/Fat Tuesday/Pancake Tuesday. Here in Colorado, Mardis Gras/Fat Tuesday was never a big deal, but I like the idea of a day full of feasting (especially on pancakes). While I won’t be eating any king cake that day, you can bet I’ll be getting my spice-on with a bowl of this chicken and rice 😉
So here’s a toast to healthy food with a kick!
Cajun Chicken and Rice
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 cups water or low sodium chicken broth
- 2 Tbsp olive oil separated
- 2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning for less spicy, use 1 Tbsp
- ½ Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- Pinch black pepper
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 2 bell peppers diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 14- oz can diced tomatoes for a spicier version, used diced tomatoes with jalapenos
- Place rice in medium saucepan with broth/water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook 40-50 minutes, or until soft.
- While rice cooks, place large skillet over stove at medium-high heat. Pour 1 Tbsp oil into pan.
- While oil heat ups, combine Cajun seasoning, brown sugar, paprika, thyme, and black pepper in a small bowl (I usually just use a measuring cup). Set aside.
- Place chicken pieces in skillet and toss with seasoning mix. Spread chicken in a single layer and let cook for 3-4 minutes, or until browned (try to avoid stirring).
- Stir chicken and add 2 Tbsp soy sauce. Let cook another 4-5 minutes, or until chicken pieces are cooked through. Remove cooked chicken from skillet and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and place remaining Tbsp oil in saucepan. Add garlic and diced peppers. Cook until soft, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add can of diced tomatoes to skillet along with cooked chicken. Let simmer until majority of liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated, about 5 minutes.
- Evenly divide rice between four bowls then spoon chicken mixture over rice. Enjoy!