Copycat Applebee's Southwest Lime Grilled Chicken Irresist-a-bowl

Applebee's new Irresist-a-Bowls are showing up every commercial break - and they make me so hungry - I had to try them! Then - I had to make them! 
Last week I made Applebee's Crispy Orange Chicken Irresist-a-bowl - it was REALLY good! (I reviewed the restaurant version too.) This week - I made the other bowl we tried - the Southwest Lime Grilled Chicken Bowl!  

What is in Applebee's Southwest Lime Grilled Chicken Bowl? 

This bowl is filled with grilled chipotle lime chicken on mixed greens and cilantro rice with house-made pico de gallo, black bean corn salsa and guacamole. Topped with chimichurri, tortilla strips and a fresh lime wedge. 

The best part of that is - I can make all of those things!!! You are going to become OBSESSED with this recipe! 

It's not hard to make - it's just a little bit of a juggling act - but it's so worth it! I bought a packaged chipotle marinade and put the chicken in that with the juice of a lime and marinated that overnight. 

Then when I was ready for dinner - I started cooking the chicken - I just used a grill pan on the stove top. Once the chicken was in the pan - I popped the rice in the microwave. While those were cooking - I made up the guacamole and chimichurri - they took minutes to make. By the time I was done with those - the rice and chicken were done. Then you just put it all together. 

If you want to save time - you can use premade guacamole - but I just made my own in about 2 minutes!  

Seriously - you can't look at that and not be ready to dive in!!!! I think that my version has more flavor than the Applebee's version. I think chain restaurants tend to be bland to please the masses - so this has ZING! 

Here's a couple of my mini-recipes and tips: 

- Cilantro Lime Rice - I use Minute Rice and then add Cilantro paste and juice from one lime. I use the paste because fresh herbs go bad so quick. Give it a quick stir and you're done! 

- Guacamole - This is incredibly easy! Take one ripe avocado and scoop it into a bowl - then add some pico de gallo, cilantro paste, coarse sea salt and lime juice. Then you just mash it all together (but still leave the avocado pieces a little chunky). 

If you like Copycat "bowl" recipes - I have a bunch! Applebee's Crispy Orange Chicken Irresist-a-bowl is delicious! Big chunks of juicy chicken and lots of vegetables - so good! The Panera Warm Grain Bowls are also delicious - I love the Mediterranean Bowl and the Baja Chicken Warm Grain Bowl. Frankly - the Baja is very similar to the Applebee's Southwest Lime Chicken! 

Copycat Applebee

Copycat Applebee's Southwest Lime Grilled Chicken Irresist-a-Bowl

Yield: 2
prep time: 4 hourcook time: 20 Mtotal time: 4 H & 20 M
Grilled chipotle lime chicken on mixed greens and cilantro rice with house-made pico de gallo, black bean corn salsa and guacamole. Topped with chimichurri, tortilla strips and a fresh lime wedge.


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 packet chipotle marinade
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • oil & water for marinade
  • 3 Tbsp parsley (I use Gourmet Garden parsley paste)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp red or white wine vinegar
  • dash sea salt
  • dash teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 head romaine lettuce - chopped
  • 1/2 cup pico de gallo
  • 1/2 cup black bean & corn salsa
  • tortilla strips
  • lime wedges


How to cook Copycat Applebee's Southwest Lime Grilled Chicken Irresist-a-Bowl

  1. Marinate chicken overnight in chipotle marinade - add juice from 1 lime
  2. Prepare chicken
    1. Air fry at 350 for 10 minutes
    2. OR Grill pan on medium high for 10 minutes
    3. Set aside to rest
  3. Prepare cilantro lime rice
    1. I use minute rice - 6 minutes - and then add 2 tbsp cilantro from tube and juice of 1 lime
    2. can also use prepackaged, preseasoned cilantro lime blends
  4. Prepare guacamole by mashing avocado, adding in pico, cilantro, salt and lime juice. cover and refrigerate until ready
  5. Prepare chimichurri by stirring together parsley, garlic, evoo, vinegar, salt and red pepper (if using fresh parsley, you’ll need to add more evoo)
  6. Assemble ingredients:
    1. place romaine in bottom of bowl
    2. top with 2/3 cup cilantro lime rice
    3. top with 2 Tbsp each of guacamole, pico, corn & black bean salsa
    4. top with 1 chicken breast sliced
    5. spread chimichurri on sliced chicken
    6. sprinkle tortilla strips on top
    7. serve with lime wedge

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