What would you say if I told you that 30 minutes from now you could be holding this amazing Instant Pot Quinoa Chicken Bowl in your hand? And yes, delicious clementine basil dressing prep time included 😉
The Instant Pot is probably the coolest kitchen gadget of the century! For real! I mean you can make quinoa and chicken in it at the same time! How awesome is that?! You know what else is amazing about cooking both quinoa and chicken in the Instant Pot? No need to watch either and there is no way you can overcook, undercook or burn your food. Use the “passive time” to chop veggies and prepare a delicious dressing. No stress and no 20 alarms going off at different times, reminding you to check on different pots and pans.
You’ve probably noticed the change in writing style by now. It’s time to introduce myself. Hiiii! This is Lorena from Green Healthy Cooking. Lacey and Dustin just had a sweet little baby and they have their hands fuller than full now with their 4 beautiful children. No worries, they’ll be back soon providing you with delicious recipes again. For today however, you get to enjoy different kind of writing, different kind of photography and different kind of videography. I hope you still like it 🙂
Let’s get straight to the important part of this guest post: The Instant Pot Quinoa Chicken Bowl Recipe!
How to Cook Perfect Instant Pot Quinoa
After several trials and errors I came to the conclusion that these are the most important steps for success:
- Sautée onion and garlic in the Instant Pot with a little bit of oil until translucent.
- Add quinoa and some sea salt to the sautéed onion and garlic and keep stirring and “toasting” the quinoa for at least 3 minutes.
- Add the water and cover immediately so the water doesn’t evaporate. Set the venting knob to sealing and set the Instant Pot to cook under “high pressure” for 1 minute.
- Set an alarm clock for 15 minutes once the Instant Pot is finished cooking for the minute (it’ll let you know by beeping several times). This will be the “natural pressure release time” in which the Instant Pot basically “steams” the quinoa.
How to Cook Quinoa and Chicken in the Instant Pot at the Same Time
The biggest and most amazing discovery I’ve made since I own my Instant Pot is that certain ingredients can be cooked at the same time. That saves me time, energy and most importantly dishes!!! Most chicken recipes call for a longer cooking time under pressure and either quick pressure release or at least much shorter natural pressure release time.
I did wonder of course if the chicken would cook through in such a short high pressure cook time with just the remaining heat in the Instant Pot during natural pressure release time. It did! I’m so excited. You do have to cut the chicken in small cubes to ensure it cooks through but it does completely cook through and stays nice and juicy due to the long low heat cooking.
Make sure you take out your chicken breast from the fridge about 20-30 minutes before using (this will only work with breast, the tissue of thighs and other parts of the chicken is tougher and takes longer to cook) to bring the meat to room temperature. Cut the chicken into maximum 1″ cubes. Season them and have them ready to place on top of quinoa just before putting on the lid.
The Best Instant Pot Quinoa Bowl Dressing
Apart from feeling like the queen of the kitchen for figuring out how to cook quinoa and chicken in the Instant Pot at the same time, I’m also super proud of the dressing I came up with for the bowl. It’s based on a ton of basil and fresh clementine juice. It’s an amazing dressing you’ll want to pour not only on your Instant Pot Quinoa but pretty much any bowl food you make.
Basil smells amazing and has a very mild flavor so you can use a lot of it without the dressing becoming bitter. Most herbs taste great in small amounts. Basil is different. You want a lot of it. It’s the main reason why 80% of pestos out there are made of Basil. The clementine juice gives it an amazing citrusy sweetness and freshness.
If you’re not a fan of basil you can always use a different kind of dressing such as this Maple Mustard Balsamic Dressing or Lacey’s amazing Avocado Cilantro Lime Dressing. Both will taste amazing with your Instant Pot Quinoa Chicken Bowl, I promise!
More Healthy Instant Pot Recipes
If you liked this recipe, make sure to check out my Healthy Instant Pot Recipes for more inspiration. The list will keep growing over time. There will always be more and more inspiration for you to start loving your Instant Pot even more than you already do. The possibilities are endless when it comes to preparing food in an Instant Pot. Enjoy every button on it 😉
What would you say if I told you that 30 minutes from now you could be holding this amazing Instant Pot Quinoa Chicken Bowl in your hand?
- 2 chicken breasts, cubed
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
- 1 tbsp dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp clementine juice
- 1 packed cup basil leaves
- sea salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 1 clementine optional, for decoration
Get chicken out of the fridge about 1/2 an hour before starting to cook to get it to room temperature. Then cube the chicken into maximum 1" cubes, season with sea salt, pepper and dried basil and set aside.
Connect your Instant Pot and press the "sauté" button. While waiting for it to heat up peel and finely chop onion and peel and crush garlic.
Once the Instant Pot's display indicates it's hot, add a splash of flavorless oil to the pot and then add chopped onion and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes until translucent.
Add quinoa (1 Instant Pot cup = 3/4 imperial cup) and sea salt and "toast" for about 3-5 minutes or until it starts slightly browning.
Add the same amount of water as quinoa, in this 3/4 imperial cup (1 Instant Pot cup), give it a quick stir and then add the chicken on top of the quinoa and immediately cover with the lid.
Turn the venting knob to "sealing", press "cancel" to stop the sautéeing, then click on "manual" and adjust time to 1 minute, then press "pressure" if necessary to adjust to "high pressure" the red light should be over "high pressure".
Wait close to the instant pot in order not to miss the moment when the 1 minute high pressure is over. It takes about 5 minutes to come to pressure. 1 minute to cook under high pressure and then natural pressure release time starts. When the Instant Pot beeps several times indicating it's finished with the 1 minute high pressure cooking, set an alarm for 15 minutes.
While waiting for the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally for 15 minutes, wash, deseed and chop bell peppers, wash and dry baby spinach and prepare dressing by adding mustard, avocado oil, lemon juice, clementine juice and basil to a blender and blend until smooth.
Serve all ingredients in a bowl and drizzle dressing over it. Optionally you can decorate with a slice of peeled clementine.
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