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Southwest Rolls

I often have a craving for Chili’s Southwest rolls. I had these for the first time in Memphis right before we moved here. We were struggling financially and saved movies and eating out for very special occasions. That was during the years of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Star Wars episodes 1-3. We would save up to see these on the big screen. I was overwhelmed and delighted to receive movie passes and restaurant gift cards from one of my parents. I was teaching first grade and often used our own money to buy books for the classroom. This particular parent was so appreciative for the dinosaur and shark books I bought because her son LOVED reading those books. One of those gift cards was to Chili’s.

When we arrived, we took a long time deciding what to eat. I decided on southwest rolls and something else I can’t remember. The rolls were amazing! I needed quite a few glasses of tea because of the spice, but it wasn’t too much heat. It has been almost 8 years since that night. And for some reason, we still do not eat there very often. But when I do, I get these southwest rolls.

Being the big fat cheater that I am, I looked for copycat recipes. I create many of my own recipes just from throwing stuff together and knowing what flavors mix well together. But I have no shame in finding recipes that have already been proven. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. I do usually add a or omit ingredients depending on our personal tastes. I found this recipe at Allrecipes. However, I’m also a big fan of making things easy. I’m way too excited about the change I made and it was all by accident. I also made an avocado dipping sauce that was PEFECT with the heat of these rolls.

Here is the ingredient list from the original recipe.

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half
  • 2 tablespoons minced green onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons diced jalapeno peppers
  • 1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 5 (6 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 quart oil for deep frying

    Do you see that long list?

    All that for this?


    Here is my list.

    • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
    • 2 skinless boneless breast halves, cooked and shredded.
    • 1 chopped jalepeno
    • 5  oz (half a box) frozen chopped spinach, drained and squeezed
    • 10 6 in (soft taco size) flour tortillas.
    • 1 cup of shredded cheese
    • 1/8 cup of CILANTRO (sub for parsley), chopped
    • 1 bag of this—-> Picsweet Southwest Vegetables with Corn, Beans, and Seasoning


    Yes, that bag has the other ingredients and spices. I just opened the bag and cooked it with the spinach and chicken. This was a great time saver!

    What you need to have ready: Large sauté pan. One cutting board or work surface next to pan. One sprayed/oiled sheet pan to BAKE the rolls. I did not fry them.  Preheat oven to 400*

    1. Heat oil in pan. Add bag of vegetables, spinach, chopped jalapeño, cilantro and shredded chicken.

    2. Cook together 8-10 minutes over medium heat until beans are done. If needed, add some water or broth to help steam them quicker.

    3. Get tortillas ready. Put two spoonfuls of veg/chicken mixture in the center. Sprinkle with cheese. Roll up and place seam side down on pan.

    4. Cook 8-10 minutes until the tops are starting to brown.

    Avocado dipping sauce

    Easy version: Mix 1 avocado smashed with 6 oz of ranch dressing

    Detailed version:

    • 1 avocado, smashed
    • 1/2 cup of sour cream+ 1/2 cup  milk
    • 1/2 package of Hidden Valley ranch mix OR use any dressing mix. I used Penzey’s Green Goddess seasoning, 1 Tablespoon.

    Use fork to mix all together.

    Still stewing
    Back to the grind!