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The Best Instant Pot Salsa Chicken Quinoa Salad Bowls

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!

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!

This helps other people to find and enjoy it too.

Plus it means the world to us!

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

Yield: 5
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Natural Pressure Release: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

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

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

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

For the chicken

  1. Lightly spray the inside of your instant pot with cooking spray.
  2. Combine dry seasonings and toss with raw chicken. Place chicken in the instant pot and cover with the salsa and water.
  3. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes.
  4. 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

  1. 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.
  2. When the quinoa is finished cooking, fluff with a fork and stir in lime juice and cilantro.
  3. 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

  1. 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

  1. 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 Information
Yield 5
Amount Per Serving Calories 493Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 2gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 87mgSodium 1019mgCarbohydrates 60gFiber 15gSugar 8gProtein 44g

Did you make this recipe?

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Pin it to Remember it:

Erika

Tuesday 27th of September 2022

How do you cook the chicken and quinoa together?

Anne

Wednesday 28th of September 2022

Hi Erika! Thanks for checking out my recipe! 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.

Sarah

Tuesday 29th of March 2022

Can the chicken be cooked in a crockpot?

Anne

Tuesday 29th of March 2022

Hey Sarah! Thanks so much for checking out my recipe. I haven't personally tried cooking the chicken in a crockpot, but I don't see why it wouldn't work? I typically cook chicken on low for 6 hours. The only thing that wouldn't work in the crockpot would be cooking down the sauce, so for a thicker sauce, you would need to transfer the liquid to a saucepan to reduce the liquid. Hope that helps!

Karen

Sunday 4th of April 2021

My family LOVES any "make your own bowl night". I would love more THM friendly bowl ideas to add to our rotation.

AnnMarie

Monday 5th of April 2021

Make your own bowl night makes it so easy to be sure everyone gets something they like doesn't it! We will be sure to add more to our rotation because we love them too! :) Have you checked out our other THM recipes? https://simply2moms.com/recipes/

Starlene

Wednesday 3rd of February 2021

This was fabulous!!! I put my chicken and toppings on two baked tostada shells. One had mango, the other corn. No beans because I was running late to get dinner made so I didn't have time for that part. This was, quite possibly, my favorite E dinner that I've had in the 14 months I've been doing THM. Thank you so much for this delicious meal.

Anne

Thursday 4th of February 2021

Hey Starlene! I am so happy to hear you enjoyed this recipe so much! I love the idea of using baked tostada shells! I'm gonna have to give that a try next time I make it. Thanks so much for reading our blog and taking the time to comment!

Colleen

Sunday 8th of November 2020

This sounds delicious! I've pinned it to try when I have all the ingredients. Thanks for sharing.

AnnMarie

Monday 9th of November 2020

We'd love to hear back from you and let us know what you think!

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