Instant Pot Salsa Chicken is an easy meal perfect for families. Each person customizes their bowl with their favorite toppings.

When my kids were young, our favorite family meals were the kinds served “bar style.”

No.

That doesn’t mean bar food!

Although they did love chicken tenders and fries.

I mean, who doesn’t?

I’m talking about a choose your own adventure kinda meal.

For instance, fried rice.

Two of my kids loved the eggs, one didn’t.

One of my kids loved the fried onions.

Another one really liked peas.

Two of them liked red peppers.

So instead of making fried rice with all the ingredients mixed together and touching, I served seasoned rice with meat (caulirice for me).

But everything else was put in bowls on the counter and everyone got to add as much (or as little) of each item they liked.

I did the same amount of cooking, but there was zero complaining!

Which is why I started serving lots of meals that way.

These Instant Pot Salsa Chicken Quinoa Bowls are currently one of our favorite bar style meals!

This recipe is fast and easy to make, so it’s perfect on busy weeknights.

I love that the leftovers are good hot or cold!

Just throw everything on top of a bed of lettuce and you’ve got an amazing lunch.

For those of you who follow the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle like AnnMarie and I, this is an E meal.

I’ve discovered I need way more E meals now thanks to menopause. Apparently my body doesn’t burn fat the way it used to.

So this instant pot chicken recipe is on my regular meal planning rotation.

Can You Cook the Chicken and Quinoa Together?

The short answer is yes, you can cook chicken and quinoa together in the instant pot.

However.

The chicken in this recipe has a spicy salsa flavor, and the quinoa is more mild and is flavored with cilantro and lime.

Personally I like switching up what goes into each bite.

One bite with the cilantro lime quinoa with some mango.

The next with the salsa chicken and some beans and corn.

Cooking the quinoa with the chicken would still include all the same flavors in the recipe, just all mixed all together.

If you’re in a rush or want to have fewer dirty dishes, which I can absolutely understand, go ahead and cook them together!

Be sure to check the recipe notes for how to make that modification.

Bowl filled with shredded salsa chicken, quinoa, black beans, roasted corn, diced mango, and diced avocado garnished with a wedge of lime and fresh cilantro

Do you have to roast the corn?

Yes.

Yes, you do.

Because it tastes so. much. better. when you roast it!

Plus, the corn is roasted at the same time that the chicken and quinoa are cooking so you definitely have time to roast it.

But watch out.

Once you’ve tasted roasted corn it’s really hard to go back to eating it any other way.

You’ve been warned!

Jump to Recipe

Can you have avocado in an E meal for THM?

I’m so happy to report that yes, you can have avocado in a THM E meal!

Pearl does it, so it’s “sister approved.”

You just need to be careful how much avocado you use to keep the fat grams within the E meal recommendation of 5 grams added fat.

There’s no other added fat in this Instant Pot Salsa Chicken recipe so you can include up to 1/4 of an avocado on top of your bowl.

Why do you have to rinse the quinoa before cooking it?

You’ll notice that every recipe and package of quinoa tells you to rinse the quinoa before using it.

Have you ever wondered why?

Rinsing quinoa removes the outer coating on the grains called the saponin. This outer coating can make your quinoa have a bitter taste.

It’s very simple to rinse. Just put the dry quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and run cold water over it for a minute or so.

I’ve skipped rinsing it for this dish and not noticed much difference in the taste so you can skip it if you want.

How to Serve Instant Pot Salsa Chicken Quinoa Bowls

I like to put all the toppings in bowls and let my family put their bowls together like they’re at a salad bar.

But some days I don’t feel like making it look pretty.

You can absolutely serve the toppings straight from the Instant Pot, quinoa pot, and cutting board!

I like putting mine on a large bed of lettuce which makes it into more of a salad bowl.

The extra lettuce helps fill me up and makes it easier for me to stick to the recommended serving size.

If you have leftovers, you can store the toppings individually in the fridge. This is a great option if you plan to warm them up for a salsa chicken quinoa bowl the next day!

Or you can store the leftovers all together as a salad.

Either way you choose to do it, the leftovers are delicious!

Be sure to leave a star rating and review after you make the recipe!

Printable Recipe

Bowl filled with shredded salsa chicken, quinoa, black beans, roasted corn, diced mango, and diced avocado garnished with a wedge of lime and fresh cilantro

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken with Quinoa Salad Bowls

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken is an easy meal perfect for families. Each person customizes their bowl with their favorite toppings.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Natural Pressure Release 10 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Caribbean, Mexican
Servings 5
Calories 493 kcal

Equipment

  • Pressure cooker

Ingredients
  

For the chicken

  • 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (raw)
  • 1/2 tsp mineral salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup salsa (I recommend Jack's medium salsa)
  • 1/2 cup water

For the quinoa

  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 tsp mineral salt
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

For the corn

For the bowls

  • 1 cup avocado, cubed
  • 1 cup mango, cubed
  • 14.5 oz canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lime, cut in 6 wedges
  • 6 cups torn lettuce (double or triple this amount if making salads)

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F to roast the corn.

For the chicken

  • Lightly spray the inside of your instant pot with cooking spray.
  • Combine dry seasonings and toss with raw chicken. Place chicken in the instant pot and cover with the salsa and water.
  • Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from the pressure cooker. Set the pressure cooker to its Saute setting to reduce the sauce while you shred the chicken. Return the shredded chicken to the pot to combine with the sauce. Turn the instant pot off.

For the quinoa

  • While the chicken is cooking, combine water, rinsed quinoa, and salt in a small saucepan and cook over high heat until the water boils. Reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Cook at low for 20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.
  • When the quinoa is finished cooking, fluff with a fork and stir in lime juice and cilantro.
  • Note: If you opt to cook the quinoa and the chicken together in the Instant Pot, follow these instructions: Omit the 1/2 cup water added to the salsa. Spray the pot. Put quinoa, 1 cup water, and 1/4 cup lime juice on bottom of the pot. Place seasoned chicken on top of quinoa. Add salsa on top of chicken. Cooking time remains the same as described for the chicken, but DO NOT turn pot to Saute while shredding the chicken as all liquid will be absorbed by the quinoa. Simply return shredded chicken to the pot along with the fresh cilantro and combine.

For the corn

  • While the chicken and quinoa are cooking, place frozen corn on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast the corn at 450 degrees F until charred, about 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.

For the bowls

  • Serve all the toppings and let everyone assemble their bowls based upon personal preferences! Nutrition calculation are based on a bowl containing 1/2 cup of chicken, 1/3 cup cooked quinoa, 1/4 cup black beans, 1/6 cup roasted corn, 1/6 cup avocado, 1/6 cup mango, and 1 cup lettuce.

Notes

Please note that we are not medical or nutritional professionals. We include nutrition information for our recipes as a courtesy to our readers. However due to wide variations in brands, nutrition data is subject to change for every user. Nutrition data is calculated using WP Ultimate Recipe and we subtract all sugar alcohols from erythritol and xylitol from the final carb count because that is how THM calculates carbs. Please refer here for our complete Nutritional Disclosure.

Nutrition

Calories: 493kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 44gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 87mgSodium: 1019mgPotassium: 1568mgFiber: 15gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 5857IUVitamin C: 30mgCalcium: 89mgIron: 5mg
Keyword gluten free, instant pot, low fat, THM E
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4 Comments on The Best Instant Pot Salsa Chicken Quinoa Salad Bowls

  1. HI ladies, Okay I need to get on the insta pot train. I just can’t wrap my head around how it’s different than a crockpot. Love seeing you in the Mastermind chats with KAW. Saying hi form Colorado… laura

    • I still love my crockpot for some meals but the instantpot is fast! Sometimes I like to prep and throw everything in the crockpot in the morning if I have a busy late afternoon. But the instant pot doesn’t need all day…you can throw ingredients for a recipe in and have dinner ready in under an hour.

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