These tasty chicken quinoa meal prep bowls cook up in under 30 minutes. The citrus dressing is the best! Spend just half an hour of your Sunday making them and don’t stress about lunch 4 weekdays in a row.
I’m a strong believer in meal prep and meal planning are the secrets to sticking to a healthy diet! By being prepared you avoid getting to the point where you are starving and then eat whatever you can get your hands on. Usually not so balanced or healthy food.
But I also understand that we don’t want to spend countless hours in the kitchen every Sunday to be well prepared for the week. This is why these chicken quinoa meal prep bowls are so special. They are ready in less than 30 minutes! I love meal prep recipes like this one!
- Raw vegetables — it is better to use vegetables which, once cut, keep their shape, texture and flavor for the 4 days they are stored in the refrigerator. Hard vegetables like bell peppers, sugar snap peas, carrots and celery are great. Cucumber tastes amazing but gets soggy over time. You could make two with cucumber and two with sugar snap peas.
- Tomatoes — tomatoes are an absolute must. They give a great taste and act almost like a sauce in this bowl.
- Chicken — I like thighs better, so I prefer to use skinless, boneless chicken thighs, but obviously chicken breast works great too. Be sure to dice the chicken into about 1″ pieces so it cooks in the short pressure cooking time.
- Herbs – the parsley is my favorite in this meal prep recipe because of the citrus flavoring. Parsley and citrus are simply the best together. You can use literally any other herb, even if you already have some in the fridge. Dill, basil, coriander is all great.
- Quinoa – it’s a chicken QUINOA meal prep bowl so naturally, it needs quinoa to be called that. However, any other grain obviously works well too. For example, farro or brown rice are great. Keep in mind that farro and brown rice take much longer to cook, so be sure to use the thighs with them and not the breasts. Chicken breasts will be dry if cooked too long. Here are the times for all the different types of instant pot rice. And this is how to cook spelled.
- Spices – use sea salt, pepper and Ras El Hanout. It is a Moroccan spice mix that tastes absolutely delicious.
Citrus dressing ingredients
- Citrus fruits — use a combination of tart and sweet citrus fruits. Lemon and orange. Or lime and clementine for example.
- Oil – I love olive oil for anything citrusy, but of course any flavorless oil will do too, like avocado oil or sunflower oil, for example.
- Dijon mustard – I highly recommend sticking to Dijon and no other mustards. Other mustards contain quite a bit of vinegar, so the balance of the seasoning is off.
- Lemon peel – use a little lemon zest. The zest gives a lot of flavor, but if you add too much it’s overpowering and bitter, so add about 1 teaspoon of the zest.
- Garlic — use a garlic press to crush the garlic or Microplane to finely grate the garlic. This way it incorporates well into the dressing and then into the chicken quinoa meal prep bowls.
How to make chicken quinoa meal prep bowls
- Cut the chicken – cut the chicken thighs into about 1″ cubes to make sure they cook and cook evenly in the Instant Pot.
- Add the quinoa – add the quinoa, sea salt, pepper and Ras El Hanout to the Instant Pot, then pour the water over everything and use a stick or fork to mix well and make sure the quinoa does not float on top of the water but sink to the bottom.
- Add the chicken – add the cubed chicken on top of the quinoa in one layer. Don’t mix it. There’s no need to season the chicken, the quinoa is seasoned and the seasoning will add flavor too. Set the Instant Pot to 1 minute on high pressure and then wait for the natural pressure to fully release.
- Chop the greens – chop all the vegetables, tomato and parsley while the quinoa and chicken are pressure cooking. Cut everything into cubes of about 1/2″ and finely chop the parsley.
- Prepare the dressing — prepare dressing by adding olive oil, crushed garlic, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, and orange juice to a sealable jar and shake to combine.
- Mix everything – now mix everything, the quinoa and chicken, the chopped raw vegetables and the dressing in the Instant Pot or in a separate large bowl and then divide into containers for meal prep if desired.
According to the FDA, refrigerated cooked chicken is safe to eat for up to 4 days.
I don’t recommend freezing it because of the raw veggies, but if you want to make it a freezer meal just use the veggies that can be cooked with the quinoa and chicken in the Instant Pot from the start.
I swear you get used to it, especially when the meal prep recipe is yummy, but if it really isn’t your thing. Here is how to prepare meals 4 different meals at the same time.
Chicken quinoa meal prep bowls
- 1 lb skinless boneless chicken thighs
- 1.5 cup Quinoa
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1.5 teaspoon Ras El Hanout
- 1.5 cup waterfall
- 2 yellow peppers
- 2 cups sweet peas
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 cup parsley
- 2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon Lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 orange
- sea salt
Cut the chicken into approximately 1-inch cubes.
Add the quinoa, 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and Ras El Hanout to the Instant Pot, then pour water over it and stir to make sure all the quinoa sinks to the bottom. Then place the cubed chicken on top in one layer without mixing it with the quinoa.
Set the Instant Pot to 1 minute on high pressure, then wait for the natural pressure to fully release. (It takes about 15-20 minutes).
In the meantime, peel and dice the yellow peppers and cut the sweet peas into cubes of about 1/2”. Put the cherry tomatoes and remove the green part, then cut them into small cubes too. Then finely chop the parsley and set everything aside.
Prepare the dressing by adding the olive oil, crushed garlic, lemon zest, Dijon mustard, lemon juice from half a lemon, and orange juice from half an orange to a jar, seal it, and shake until well blended.
Mix cooked quinoa and chicken, raw vegetables and season well together and season with more sea salt and pepper if needed. Then divide between 4 meal prep containers.
Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.