Chicken Tinga Bowls with Calabacitas & Brown Rice

Chicken Tinga Bowls with Calabacitas & Brown Rice

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From: Diabetic Living Magazine, Fall 2019

In Mexico, chicken stewed with tomatoes and chipotle peppers is known as tinga (teen-gah). It's often served in tacos or on tostadas. The side of sautéed squash is called calabacitas. Serve this tinga recipe over brown rice and sprinkle with cheese for a healthy one-bowl dinner that's super-satisfying.

Ingredients 4 servings

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  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup finely chopped white onion (1 medium), divided
  • 1 (14 ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 4 medium tomatillos, husks removed (see Tips), rinsed and quartered (about 1 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar or red-wine vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon chipotle chile powder or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (see Tips)
  • ½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper ( ½ medium)
  • 1 small yellow summer squash, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped (1¼ cups)
  • 1½ tablespoons crumbled cotija cheese (see Tips) or feta cheese


  • Prep

  • Ready In

  1. Combine rice and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the water has been absorbed, 35 to 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine ½ cup onion, tomatoes, tomatillos, tomato paste, vinegar, chipotle, thyme, ¼ tsp. salt, and garlic powder in a blender. Puree until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  3. Heat 2 tsp. oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the blended sauce (careful, it will splatter) and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens enough that a wooden spoon leaves a trail when scraped across the bottom of the pan, 15 to 20 minutes. Add chicken and cook, uncovered, until warmed through, about 3 minutes.
  4. When the rice is almost done, heat the remaining 1 tsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and the remaining ½ cup onion; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add summer squash and zucchini; cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender-crisp, about 3 minutes.
  5. Divide the rice among 4 bowls and top with the vegetable mixture and the chicken mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.
  • Tips: Tomatillos are available in most grocery stores. They look like tiny green tomatoes wrapped in husks. Rub the husks off under cold water to remove.
  • To poach chicken: Place 4 small boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (12 oz. total) in a medium saucepan; cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, partially cover, and cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 165°F, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a plate and shred into small pieces. Reserve broth for use in another recipe—it will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • Cotija cheese is an aged cow's-milk cheese from Mexico. It has a crumbly texture and slightly salty taste. Substitute feta if you can't find it.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 1 cup rice + ¾ cup chicken mixture + ½ cup vegetables + 1 tsp. cheese
  • Per serving: 397 calories; 10 g fat(2 g sat); 6 g fiber; 46 g carbohydrates; 34 g protein; 37 mcg folate; 79 mg cholesterol; 10 g sugars; 1,295 IU vitamin A; 51 mg vitamin C; 81 mg calcium; 3 mg iron; 468 mg sodium; 832 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (85% daily value), Vitamin A (26% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 3

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