Grilled Cuban Mojo Chicken Bowls with grilled pineapple, fried plantains, tomato, black beans, and avocado. These flavorful bowls are loaded with all sorts of color and texture.
For my fellow bowl food lovers, you’re going to be OBSESSED with these Cuban Grilled Mojo Chicken Bowls!
They feature delicious goodies like grilled chicken and pineapple, perfectly fried plantains, black beans, rice, avocado, red onion and fresh tomatoes. The chicken is marinated in the most incredible Cuban mojo marinade, which doubles as a sauce for the bowls.
The end result is a complete meal with the most amazing flavor profile!
After writing my cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, I took a break from sharing bowl recipes because they tend to require a lot of ingredients and sometimes longer prep times, which can appear intimidating. More often than not, I focus on simple recipes that don’t require many steps or ingredients.
Nevertheless, I find meals like these to be so satisfying and in spite of the long list of ingredients, bowl recipes tend to be easy recipes with the best flavor!
The best part is recipes like this can easily be made in parts. For instance, the chicken can be marinated ahead of time, the rice can be cooked ahead of time, etc. This way when you go to compile the bowls, it feels like less of a lengthy process.
For those of you who are new to Cuban mojo sauce (or marinade), it’s just the greatest thing.
What is Mojo Chicken?
Mojo marinade is a simple mixture of olive oil, orange juice (or lime juice), garlic, and cumin. That’s it! This combination of flavors is used as a sauce, marinade, and dip in Cuban cuisine, making for citrusy flavorful dishes like grilled chicken.
I whipped up a simple mojo sauce and used it as marinade for my chicken tenders.
You only need to devote ⅔ cup of the sauce to marinate the chicken, so you can use the rest of the sauce as dressing for drizzling over the bowls for added flavor.
How to Make Grilled Mojo Chicken Bowls:
Prepare the Chicken:
Add all of the ingredients for the Cuban mojo chicken marinade to a blender or food processor and blend until well combined.
If you don’t have a blender or food processor, you can whisk all the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl.
Place the raw chicken in a sealable container or large resealable bag and pour 2/3 cup of the mojo marinade over the chicken (or more if necessary), reserving the remaining sauce for serving the bowls. Seal and allow chicken to marinate 1 hour, up to 8 hours.
Store the rest of the mojo sauce in an airtight jar in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.
Make the Bowls:
Prepare the rice according to package instructions, and heat the beans in a saucepan. Keep the cooked rice and beans warm on low until ready to use.
Preheat the grill to medium-high heat and use a wire brush to remove any food particles off the grill grates from your last barbecue. Brush with cooking oil.
Brush the pineapple with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place pineapple spears on the preheated grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until charred and soft. Transfer to a plate until ready to use.
Place the chicken breasts on the hot grill and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until grill marks appear. Flip and cook chicken another 2 to 3 minutes. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked through and has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Follow my tutorial on how to make Fried Plantains or follow the simple instructions in the recipe card below.
Divide the rice between 4 bowls. Add desired amount of grilled pineapple spears, grilled chicken tenders, black beans, red onion, tomato slices, avocado, and fried plantains. Drizzle remaining Cuban sauce over the bowls and serve.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Can I Make the Chicken in the Oven?:
Feel free to bake the mojo chicken instead of grilling it. To do so, transfer the marinated chicken to a large rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.
Broil the chicken for 5 to 8 minutes or until it is golden brown and cooked through. Use an instant read thermometer to be sure the chicken has reached an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F.
While the recipe has a lot of moving parts, it doesn’t take a great deal of time to prepare. You can prepare the rice and the mojo sauce up to a few days in advance to lighten the workload when you set out to make the rest of the recipe.
- Prepare the mojo sauce and/or the rice up to 3 days ahead of time.
- Use any combination of orange, lemon, or lime juice for the mojo sauce. If you omit the orange juice and use straight lemon or lime juice, consider adding a touch more honey to compensate for sweetness.
- Use pork instead of chicken, or use boneless chicken breasts instead of the thinner chicken tenders.
- If desired, sprinkle the pineapple with a small amount of brown sugar and nutmeg for a sweeter grilled treat.
- Replace the pineapple with mango.
- Replace white rice with any rice of choice.
- Substitute kidney beans for the black beans.
And there we have it!
An easy chicken recipe with great flavor that serves as an incredible complete meal. Transform boring chicken to be infused with maximum flavor using the simple mojo marinade.
This easy Cuban chicken recipe is a great option for meal prep to prepare for weeknight meals, or for serving guests.
The next time you’re in the mood for something with big bold Cuban flavors, whip up this delicious recipe!
Grilled Cuban Mojo Chicken Bowls
Mojo Marinade and Dressing:
- 2/3 cup coconut oil or vegetable oil
- 3 large plantains peeled and chopped into spears
- Sea salt
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken tenders or breasts
- 1 ripe pineapple chopped into spears
- 1½ cups uncooked white rice
- 1 14-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup red onion finely chopped
- 2 vine ripened tomatoes sliced
- 1 ripe avocado peeled and sliced
Prepare the Chicken:
- Add all of the ingredients for the mojo sauce/marinade to a blender and blend until well combined.
- Place the raw chicken in a sealable container or bag and pour 2/3 cup of the mojo marinade over the chicken (or more if necessary), reserving the remaining sauce for serving the bowls. Seal and allow chicken to marinate 1 hour, up to 8 hours.
Fry the Plantains:
- Heat the oil to medium high in an 8 to 10-inch skillet (I've found cast iron works great). Note: You want enough oil to allow the plantains to float while they're frying, but they don't need to be fully submerged.
- Run a knife along the length of each plantain in order to peel them. Note: plantains are much more difficult to peel than bananas. I've found choosing ripe plantains and making a deep cut down the full length of the peel, cutting just as deep as the peel until you reach the flesh, is helpful in getting the peel off easily. Ripe plantains should be fairly easy to peel. The greener, less ripe plantains will be difficult and often the peel will be stuck to the flesh.
- Cut the plantains into spears or rounds. The shape is just a matter of preference, as the end result will be the same.
- Carefully place the plantain spears in the hot oil and allow them to cook about 2 to 3 minutes, until browned. Carefully flip using a slotted spoon, and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Continue cooking and flipping/rotating occasionally until plantains are soft and caramelized, about 4 to 6 minutes. Place on a plate lined with a paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt. Repeat for all of the plantain spears.
Make the Bowls:
- Prepare the rice according to package instructions, and heat the beans in a saucepan. Keep warm on low until ready to use.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high and use a wire brush to remove any food particles from your last barbecue. Brush with cooking oil.
- Brush the pineapple with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place pineapple spears on the preheated grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, until charred and soft. Transfer to a plate until ready to use.
- Place the marinated chicken onto the hot grill and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until grill marks appear. Flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Continue cooking and flipping every 1 to 2 minutes until chicken is cooked through and has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (chicken breasts that are 1 inch thick take about 10 to 12 minutes total to grill. Chicken tenders require about 6 to 8 minutes total).
- Divide the rice between 4 bowls. Add desired amount of grilled pineapple spears, grilled chicken tenders, black beans, red onion, tomato slices, avocado, and fried plantains. Drizzle remaining mojo sauce over the bowls and serve.
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