Taco Bell recently debuted a Cantina Power Menu, and at the focus of that menu are the new Cantina Power Bowls. The new bowls come in chicken, steak, or veggie, and I decided to go with the chicken version. The Chicken Cantina Power Bowl contains white meat chicken, romaine lettuce, cheddar cheese, reduced-fat sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole made from Hass avocados, and avocado ranch dressing all on a bed of Latin rice and black beans.
Taco Bell’s Cantina Bowl has a special place in my heart. Not only is it my favorite menu item from Taco Bell (the old incarnation), but it was also the first item we ever reviewed here on Man Reviews Food (here’s the review).
While the average Taco Bell fan might scoff at the thought of the Cantina Bowl and dismiss it in favor for cheaper, more typical Taco Bell fare, they would be missing out on one of Taco Bell’s greatest gems. Taco Bell has never been known for being much of a diet friendly place to eat, but the Cantina Bowl is Taco Bell’s definitive bridge between fast food and healthier, fresher, fast casual (think Chipotle or Qdoba).
There are more differences between the old Cantina Bowl and the Power Cantina Bowl than meets the eye. The new additions include sour cream, cheddar cheese, a double helping of chicken, and an avocado ranch sauce. Taco Bell also removed the fire-roasted corn salsa and the cilantro lime glaze. The corn salsa was one of my favorite things about the old Cantina Bowl, and sadly it is no more. What gives, Taco Bell? First you take away my Lava Sauce and now you mess with my favorite menu item from your establishment.
Fortunately, the new Power Cantina Bowl is just as tasty as the old Cantina Bowl, and more satisfying than ever before. The ingredients all seemed pretty fresh, the rice and black beans create a hearty backdrop to the fresh greens and other ingredients, and there is a double portion of chicken this time around. The sour cream was barely noticeable once I mixed all of the ingredients together, which was okay by me (I like their sour cream, but I also liked the old Cantina Bowl flavor, so it’s mostly there to boost the protein count).
The double portion of chicken was much appreciated, and it helped make the Cantina Bowl more hearty than the original. The chicken still has that sketchy “pre-bagged” texture, but it tastes pretty good with a light citrus/lime flavor.
The Avocado ranch dressing is the replacement for the old citrus-lime glaze. I found the result was a less citrusy flavor overall, but since I mixed the avocado ranch dressing in with the rest of the bowl, I couldn’t taste whatever difference it might have made.
Overall I enjoyed the new Chicken Cantina Power Bowl, and it is a great successor to the Cantina Bowl. The new Power Bowl left me more full and satisfied than the old one for about the same price. The Cantina Power Bowl is a fairly economical way to get a filling, healthy, and low-cal meal at Taco Bell, and it tastes pretty darn good too. I’ve found my new go-to item at Taco Bell.
Pros: Flavorful, fresh, healthy menu item, packed with protein, very filling at only 490 calories.
Cons: They took away my beloved fire-roasted corn salsa, fairly expensive for Taco Bell
Calories: 490 / Calories from Fat: 180 / Total Fat: 20g / Sat. Fat: 6g / Trans Fat: 0g /
Cholesterol: 75mg / Sodium: 1270mg / Carbs: 49g / Dietary Fiber: 8g / Sugars: 3g / Protein: 29g