Southwestern Grilled Tilapia Bowl with Chipotle Cream

grilled tilapia blog (1 of 1)Where have I been? It’s been over a month since my last post. Have you missed me?

Well, the short answer? That whole life thing has been in the way of blogging. My pesky day job takes a lot of time and energy. I’m still regularly cooking, and I still love it, but day-to-day cooking consists of simple staples, such as a roast chicken or tacos. Nothing too revolutionary to share there. And when dinner isn’t finished until 7:30-8:00 PM, and I still have to pack lunches for the following day, clean up, and unwind in order to make it to bed by 9:00PM (Yes, we go to bed at 9 – it makes me feel like we’re older than dirt, but we get up really early!), that doesn’t leave much time for blogging. Our weekends are a whirlwind of farmer’s markets, soccer, gardening, family, bowling, and chores. I enjoy cooking, and I love talking and sharing ideas and recipes, but it’s become less of a priority in my life at the moment.

Does that mean I’m disappearing from the blog world altogether? No. It just means that I might be somewhat irregular when it comes to my posting schedule. I never want to share things with you out of obligation or just because it’s been a week since I last posted. After all, this blog was created out of a love of food and cooking, and should always live because of that same desire for fun, innovation, and creation. If that comes in fits and starts, rather in a steady stream, so be it. I just hope you’ll continue to enjoy it no matter how or when it comes!

And now, on to this dish. I mentioned I’m frequently making simple staples. This is a new addition to those staples! It’s fresh, light, and healthy, and even though the ingredient list appears long, it comes together quickly, thanks to a few conveniences, such as canned beans and frozen corn, and simple processes. I also love that everyone can customize their bowl to their wants and desires, which is great when you have picky eaters at home. Me, I’m a fan of loading up a bowl with a ton of veggies and flavors, but not everyone operates the same way I do, and this works for us!

The idea is loosely based on the popular rice bowls you can find at restaurants such as Chipotle and Qdoba. You start with rice as the base, and top it with any variety of Latin or Southwestern-inspired ingredients, top with a salsa or another sauce, and eat. Most of my favorites at these restaurants involve chicken, but I wanted something lighter, and so at home, opted for tilapia. It’s inexpensive and lends itself well to the forward flavors of chipotle peppers.

Also, the fact that many of the ingredients can be prepared on the grill means less dishes to clean later. That’s always a win in my book.

But the best part? It’s this chipotle cream sauce. Sounds complicated? It’s not. Some Greek yogurt, cream cheese, lime juice and a chipotle chile or two in the blender, and in a minute, you have creamy delicious sauce that you’d be happy to eat by the spoonful. (Or is that just me?)

Regardless of your favorite part of this dish, I hope it can become a staple in your house too!

Southwestern Grilled Tilapia Bowl with Chipotle Cream
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A southwestern mix of grilled tilapia, beans and vegetables over rice, topped with a chipotle cream sauce.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Southwestern
Serves: 4
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 lb tilapia fillets
  • 1 16 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 3-4 inch lengths
  • 1 lb crimini mushrooms
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 oz cream cheese
  • 2 chipotle chiles in adobo
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 cups fresh kale, chopped
  • 1-2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Steamed white rice
  1. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, chili powder and salt. Season the tilapia fillets on both sides with the spice mixture and set aside.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium heat and oil grates.
  3. Warm the black beans over low heat in a small saucepan. If desired, season according to taste.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini, mushrooms, and olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss until vegetables are coated in oil. Set aside.
  5. In a blender, combine the Greek yogurt, cream cheese, chipotle chiles, lime juice and salt. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides.
  6. Warm the corn kernels in the microwave or in another small saucepan until hot.
  7. Splash a bit of water on the kale and place in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for a minute or until slightly wilted.
  8. Place the tilapia fillets on one side of the grill, and the zucchini and mushrooms on the other. Grill for about 2-3 minutes per side, until the fish is cooked through, and the vegetables are tender. Remove and set on a platter. If desired, slice the zucchini and mushrooms into smaller pieces.
  9. To assemble the bowls, place rice in the bottom of the bowl. Top with tilapia, zucchini, mushrooms, beans, corn, kale and tomatoes, and drizzle with chipotle cream sauce. Sprinkle cilantro over and serve.


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