Want a one-pot meal that includes everything you need for a healthy dinner, makes very little mess in the kitchen, and doesn’t heat up your kitchen because it’s cooked in one of my favorite kitchen appliances…the Instant Pot? Sounds about perfect, right? Well, I think it is and hope you will give this Instant Pot Sesame-Lime Chicken with Coconut Vegetable Quinoa a try!
As I’ve been doing over the past several months, this post is part of the Recipe Redux monthly post series, where everyone in the group posts a recipe that fits the following theme:
Beat the Heat with the Slow Cooker/Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker
Basically, we’re giving you healthy recipes that don’t require you to turn on the oven to heat up the kitchen during this hot summer month of July. Click the link at the bottom of this page to see what the other bloggers in the Recipe Redux group are cooking.
For those of you who don’t (yet) have an Instant Pot (this is the one I have, by the way), let me tell you a bit more about this workhorse of a kitchen appliance. In general terms, it is an electric pressure cooker, however, that is just the tip of the iceberg because it has several other key cooking functions that allow it to act like a…
- Yogurt Maker
- Rice Cooker
- Portable Stovetop (for sautéing)
- Slow Cooker
Plus, it’s much easier to use than a traditional stove-top pressure cooker (in my opinion, of course).
Before I had mine, I saw another friend describe it this way: “an Instant Pot is to a crock pot (or slow cooker) what the microwave is to the oven”. This is perfect. It takes the food that you might normally cook in your slow cooker, and cooks it just as perfectly in a fraction of the time. Oh, AND if you want your Instant Pot to act just like your slow cooker, it can do that too. So, BONUS, you will automatically have a second slow cooker in the house if you have an Instant Pot. It can do SO MUCH MORE than that all of that though.
Over the last 8 months or so, I’ve had the opportunity of developing and testing recipes for two projects that feature the Instant Pot, which means I’ve gotten to know this appliance inside and out very well. Before having worked on the projects, I was generally “playing it safe” with my Instant Pot and not using it to cook “outside the box” as much. I would do soups and roasts, rice occasionally, but I didn’t experiment much with other recipes because I didn’t have confidence that it would perform in the way I wanted.
AFTER working on the projects, and especially after testing recipes for one of the projects, I started giving my Instant Pot the recognition it deserves. Here is just a short list of the foods I love cooking in my Instant Pot (because it saves time, makes clean-up easier, and/or produces a better final product):
- Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
- Rice (I will NEVER make this on the stove top again)
- Beef and Pork Roasts
- Whole Chickens/Chicken Pieces
- Dry Beans
- Mashed Potatoes
I’m sure I will add more to the list as I continue to rely on my Instant Pot more and more.
When I came up with this Instant Pot Sesame-Lime Chicken with Coconut Vegetable Quinoa recipe, I wanted to make a recipe that would be the full meal, and that I could cook together in the pot with good results. It took two tries to get it just right, but I didn’t mind eating this several days in a row – it’s healthy and fresh, and my family liked it too! Be sure to check out my tips in the recipe so yours turns out just a good!
Instant Pot Sesame-Lime Chicken with Coconut Vegetable Quinoa How-To Photos:
(Note: I didn’t take very many photos of the cooking process; I will be adding a video soon, which shows the whole process!)
This is what everything looks like in the pot, BEFORE cooking (the chicken gets browned first, using the Instant Pot of course!)
This is the post-cooking photo, right after I removed the lid. A lot of steam is produced when you open the lid, so it was difficult to get a clear photo!
- 3 small (6 to 7 ounces each) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons refined coconut oil
- ¾ teaspoon coarse salt (divided)
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper or 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¾ cup white quinoa, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup chopped shallots
- 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- ¾ cup canned coconut milk (not reduced-fat or lite)
- ¼ cup water
- 5 medium carrots
- 4 cups large broccoli florets
- ¼ cup chopped roasted, salted cashews or peanuts, toasted slivered almonds, or lightly toasted shredded coconut
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 teaspoons finely shredded lime peel
- Lime wedges (optional)
- Pierce chicken pieces all over with a small sharp knife. Place chicken breast halves in a medium bowl. Add lime juice and sesame oil. Turn chicken pieces a few times to coat well with the marinade. Cover; marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours, turning chicken once if possible.
- Drain chicken, discarding marinade. Select “sauté” on the Instant Pot; adjust to “normal” if needed. Allow pot to heat for a couple minutes. Add coconut oil. Add chicken pieces. Sprinkle top of chicken with ¼ teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Cook chicken for 5 minutes (avoid moving the chicken). Flip chicken; cook for 5 minutes on the second side. Remove chicken from the pot. Press the “cancel” button. Set chicken aside.
- Add quinoa, shallots, ginger, and ¼ teaspoon more of the salt. Stir in coconut milk and water (this will help release browned bits from bottom of the pot from browning the chicken). Arrange carrots in an even layer atop the quinoa (they will sink into the quinoa). Top carrots with broccoli in an even layer. Lay chicken pieces atop broccoli, pouring any accumulated juices from the chicken over chicken.
- Lock Instant Pot lid in place; make sure the vent is pointed toward “seal”. Select “manual” on high pressure and adjust the time to 2 minutes. Allow Instant Pot to cycle through the cooking process. (The cooking process will take about 11 minutes total once you select the time because it takes time for the pot to come up to full pressure.) Immediately after the cook time is complete, select “cancel” and depressurize the pot using the “quick release” method. Once the pot is depressurized, leave the lid locked into place for 1 minute. Remove the lid right after this to prevent the food from overcooking.
- Transfer chicken, quinoa and vegetables to a serving platter. In a small bowl stir together cashews, mint, basil, and lime peel. Sprinkle some over the chicken and quinoa mixture; pass the rest of the cashew mixture for people to add individually.
- Make sure to use small chicken breast halves. Larger pieces of chicken won’t get done in the time that it takes to cook the quinoa and vegetables. If you can’t find small pieces of chicken, split your pieces in half horizontally so they will cook more quickly. Use about 1 ¼ pounds total chicken.
- Cut the broccoli into large florets, and go even larger if you like your broccoli less tender. We like it more tender in my house, so I used about 2-inch size florets.
- Watch the cooking times carefully, and when the cooking time is done, immediately depressurize the cooker as directed so the food doesn’t overcook. I found it necessary to leave the lid locked in place for 1 minute after the pot was fully depressurized to get the chicken fully cooked, which is why that step is included (normally you don’t need to wait to open the lid once the pot is fully depressurized).
- 4 servings
- 527 cals, 44 g pro, 42 g carb, 20 g fat, 108 mg cholesterol, 10 g sat fat, 8 g fiber, 570 mg sodium