Banza Chicken Bowls with Calabrian Chili Sauce Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Banza Chicken Bowls with Calabrian Chili Sauce

8 reviews / 5 average

This bowl has it all! The crunch of the tomato cucumber salad, the thin slips of bitey red onion, the golden crisped air fryer chicken cut into tender little strips, a big pile of perfectly chewy Banza, and a dollop of tangy calabrian chile sauce on top.

I Honestly Wake Up In The Morning Thinking About These Chicken Bowls.

Yep, still here, still talking about that air fryer chicken but this time it’s in bowl form and there’s a new sauce in town.

Tonight we had these chicken bowls for dinner, and Bjork smothered his still-warm, juicy, golden chicken strips with that spicy tangy Calabrian chile sauce and declared it the best chicken he’s ever had. And as soon as I open my eyes in the morning, one of my first waking thoughts is: “YES I get to eat that bowl again for lunch today.”

This bowl is like a little symphony – the crunch of the tomato cucumber salad, the thin slips of bitey red onion, the golden crisped air fryer chicken cut into tender little strips, a big pile of perfectly chewy Banza, and a heavy pour of tangy Calabrian chile sauce on top. I am drooling.

If you need to scale it back and make it easier with fewer elements, just go for the chicken with the sauce and the salad. Or the chicken with the sauce and the Banza.

Or, really, just the chicken with the sauce. That Calabrian chile sauce is at the heart of it all.

January is long, but this bowl, for me, has been one of those super happy meals where I’m excited to eat it AND I feel good about the actual nutrition in it. Like, one of those meals that I look forward to and it becomes the highlight of my day. Belly full, tastebuds so exceptionally happy. Hope you like it!

Make These Chicken Bowls with Me


Make a tomato cucumber salad.

Toys are on the counter. Kids are hovering. It’s fine. This is just cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion (extra thin slices please!) plus a bit of vinegar, olive oil, and salt.

Drizzling olive oil over veggies in a bowl.


Make your calabrian chile sauce.

This magic will last you for several days and give you several rounds of bowls. Or salads. Or wraps. It’s SO incredibly good.

Mixing up a creamy calabrian chile sauce in a bowl.


Make your chicken.

Sauce is done, salad is done. Now for the air fryer chicken. Takes about 15 minutes. (If you’re vegetarian or vegan, this Air Fryer Tofu is also delicious!)

Slicing air fryer chicken on a cutting board.


Get some Banza in there.

Get your Banza base in there, or whatever you like for a carb. This is the tomato chipotle Banza which doesn’t make any sense with these flavors but somehow is very delicious.

Sliced chicken and banza rice in a bowl.


You’re Done! Yum!

Pile it all on there. Segment some out for kids as needed with ketchup or ranch. AND NOW GET INTO IT!

Drizzling calabrian chile sauce on top of a bowl of chicken, rice, and veggies.

Watch How To Make These Chicken Bowls

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A picture of Banza Chicken Bowls with Calabrian Chili Sauce

Banza Chicken Bowls with Calabrian Chili Sauce

  • Author: Lindsay Ostrom
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: makes enough sauce and salad for at least 4 bowls


This bowl has it all! The crunch of the tomato cucumber salad, the thin slips of bitey red onion, the golden crisped air fryer chicken cut into tender little strips, a big pile of perfectly chewy Banza, and a dollop of tangy calabrian chile sauce on top.


Units Scale

Tomato Cucumber Salad

  • 1 English cucumber, cut into chunks (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into halves (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • a small chunk of red onion, thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • a small bundle of parsley, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Calabrian Chile Sauce

  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 23 individual Calabrian chiles, stems discarded, smashed / minced (I use a jarred variety)
  • 1 clove garlic, grated
  • a splash of castelvetrano olive brine (optional, see notes)
  • salt to taste

The Rest


  1. Tomato Salad: Toss the tomato cucumber salad ingredients together. Taste and adjust! (If you wanted to prep ahead, save the chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion in separate containers in the fridge with no liquids added until just before serving.)
  2. Sauce: Stir up the sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust! This keeps super well in the fridge for several days.
  3. Chicken and Banza: Make the chicken and the banza (or whatever carb you like).
  4. You’re Done! Yum! Assemble and serve! Gah! So good.


Olive Brine: This adds a salty, buttery effect to the sauce. It’s delightful. If you don’t have it, don’t run out to the store just for this. You can skip it and you’ll be fine. I’ve also subbed pickle brine and it’s fine, but a bit brighter since the pickle brine is tangier than the olive brine.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: chicken bowls, Banza, Banza rice, air fryer chicken

Three More Delicious Chicken Bowls

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hey Lindsay. Just wanted to drop a note expressing how much I enjoyed your post on Banza Chicken Bowls with Calabrian Chili Sauce. The way you’ve detailed each step made it super accessible and easy to follow. I’m particularly intrigued by the combination of ingredients and flavors you’ve chosen – the Calabrian chili sauce sounds like a game changer! It’s great to find recipes that introduce new flavors in such a vibrant way. Keep up the fantastic work on your blog; I always look forward to seeing what culinary adventures you’ll take us on next! 🙂

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks amazing! Is there another way to cook the chicken since I don’t have an air fryer? Would grilled be just as good too?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo


      In regard to your questions, there’s a virtual plethora of ways you can prepare the chicken if you don’t have an air fryer. If you don’t mind firing up the grill and adding a bit of BBQ sauce and slapping it on the grill and roasting the chicken that way, the good thing about that is you have the beautiful grilled taste hot off the press.

      Then, you may also steam your chicken in a large pot after seasoning it. Steaming allows the extra sodium and hidden pockets of fat to be steamed out, as you’re steaming the chicken on the stove in the pot. And the less sodium, the less water retention you hold in your stomach. Hope this helps. 🙂

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Make this for dinner- It is Excellent! Made this last night- 2 adults and 2 children (9 and 11)- The bowl hits the mark – great flavor and texture-I doubled the chicken to have leftovers. MAKE THE CHICKEN.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yet another hit! Easy, healthy, colorful, and bursting with flavor. My husband stuffed himself with seconds. This was especially perfect on a sunny February day here in Michigan that gave us spring fever. The tomato cucumber salad gives it a lighter feel and I think this will be on regular rotation in spring and summer.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This sounds great, but it does not exactly explain what banza is for those of us where it is not available? Would love to try these but I need to know so I can figure out the best substitute!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Love this recipe! Made it with the tomato Banza orzo. Even both kids ate it up (minus the “spicy” sauce). The sauce had such a good flavor. We got jarred chopped calabrian peppers because we couldn’t find fresh ones. I also don’t have an air fryer so I cooked some chicken thighs on the stovetop.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Delicious, easy and comes together quick! Made the AFC for my husband and tofu for myself and we both loved it. Going in the weekly dinner rotation!

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    What other sauces would pair well with this? I can’t find Calabrian chiles anywhere around me.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I’d probably just switch in the chilis for something else! Sambal oelek, sriracha, chili crisp, harissa, gochujang – whatever! Just something with some spice.

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Trader Joes has a Calabrian chili paste (not whole chilis) that is excellent. They call it Mamba sauce. I usually find it either by the bread or in the pickle section. Every store is different! World Market is also selling both peppers and paste too.

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this…it was delicious.
    Reminded me of my fav Mediterranean chicken kabob recipe from Flower Child. I did double the sauce recipe (b/c, who doesn’t want enough sauce) . I also could not find calabrian chilies, so I just roasted a couple of jalapeño chiles. I also added ground tumeric to the sauce.
    Also used quinoa for the grain. SO GOOD!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This recipe is SO good. We will be making this again for sure!!! I have been loving the air fryer chicken and this is just perfect. I added a little avocado and this bowl was soo yummy. Thank you for the recipe!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    These Banza Chicken Bowls with Calabrian Chili Sauce sound absolutely delightful. Your detailed recipe and joyful approach to cooking never fail to inspire.

    Thank you for sharing such a scrumptious culinary experience!