These flavorful Chicken Quinoa Meal Prep Bowls come together in less than 30 minutes. The citrus dressing is the best! Spend only half an hour of your Sunday making them and don’t stress about lunch 4 weekdays in a row.
I am a strong believer that meal prepping 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.
I also understand though that we don’t want to spend hours and hours in the kitchen every Sunday to be better prepared for the week. This is why these Chicken Quinoa Meal Prep Bowls are so special. They are prepped in under 30 minutes! I love meal prep recipes like this one!
- Raw veggies — it’s best to use veggies that once cut keep their shape, texture, and taste well over the 4 days they’re stored in the fridge. Hard veggies like bell pepper, sugar snap peas, carrots, and celery are great. Cucumber tastes amazing but does get soggy over time. You could make two with cucumber and two with sugar snap peas.
- Tomatoes — tomatoes are an absolute must. They give great taste and act almost like a sauce in this bowl.
- Chicken — I love thighs best so I prefer to use skinless boneless chicken thighs but chicken breast works great as well of course. Make sure you cube the chicken into about 1″ pieces so it cooks through in the short pressure cooking time.
- Herbs — parsley is my favorite in this meal prep recipe because of the citrus dressing. Parsley and citrus are simply the best together. You can use literally any other herb, too though if you already have some in the fridge. Dill, basil, cilantro it’s 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. Farro or brown rice for example is great. Just be aware that farro and brown rice need much longer cooking times so make sure you use thighs with them and not breasts. Chicken breasts will dry out if cooked for too long. Here are the timings for all different types of rice in the instant pot. And this is how to cook farro.
- Spices — use sea salt, pepper, and Ras El Hanout. It’s a Moroccan spice mix that tastes absolutely delightful.
Citrus Dressing Ingredients
- Citrus — use a combination of sour and sweet citrus. Lemon and orange. Or lime and clementine for example.
- Oil — I love olive oil for anything citrussy but any flavorless oil, e.g. avocado oil or sunflower seed oil will work as well of course.
- Dijon Mustard — I highly recommend sticking to Dijon and no other mustard. Other mustards have quite a bit of vinegar in them so the balance of the dressing is off then.
- Lemon Zest — use a little bit of lemon zest. Zest gives a lot of flavor but if you add too much it’s overpowering and bitter so add about 1 tsp of zest.
- Garlic — use a garlic press to crush the garlic or Microplane to finely grate the garlic. That 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 chicken — cut chicken thighs into about 1″ cubes to ensure they cook through and cook evenly in the Instant Pot.
- Add quinoa — add quinoa, sea salt, pepper, and Ras El Hanout to the instant pot, then pour water over everything and use a chop stick or fork to mix well and make sure the quinoa doesn’t stay floating on top of the water but sinks to the bottom.
- Add chicken — add the cubed chicken on top of the quinoa in one layer. Do not mix it in. No need to season the chicken, the quinoa is seasoned and the dressing will add flavor as well. Set the Instant Pot to 1 minute on high pressure and then wait for full natural pressure release.
- Chop veggies — chop all veggies, tomato, and parsley while the quinoa and chicken are pressure cooking. Cut everything into about 1/2″ dice and finely chop the parsley.
- Prep dressing — prepare the 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 veggies, and the dressing in either the instant pot or a separate large bowl and then divide in meal prep containers if desired.
Frequently Asked Questions
As per the FDA refrigerated cooked chicken is safe to eat for for up to 4 days.
I don’t recommend freezing it because of the raw veggies but if you want to make this a freezer meal simply use veggies that can be cooked with the quinoa and chicken in the Instant Pot from the beginning.
I swear you get used to it, especially when the meal prep recipe is yummy but if that’s really not your thing. Here is how to meal prep 4 different meals at once.
Chicken Quinoa Meal Prep Bowls
- 1 lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs
- 1.5 cup quinoa
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1.5 tsp Ras El Hanout
- 1.5 cup water
- 2 yellow bell peppers
- 2 cups sugar snap peas
- 4 tomatoes
- 1 cup parsley
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 orange
- sea salt
- Cut chicken into about 1" dice.
- Add quinoa, 1 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and Ras El Hanout to the Instant Pot then pour water over it and mix to make sure all quinoa sinks to the bottom. Then place cubed chicken on top in one layer without mixing into the quinoa.
- Set the Instant Pot to 1 minute on high pressure, then wait for full natural pressure release. (Takes about 15-20 minutes).
- In the meantime, deseed and dice the yellow bell peppers, and slice the sugar snap peas into about 1/2" dice. Half the tomatoes and remove the green part, then cut into small dice as well. Then finely chop the parsley and set everything aside.
- Make the dressing by adding 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 combined.
- Mix cooked quinoa and chicken, raw veggies, and dressing well together and season wit more sea salt and pepper if necessary. Then divide amongst 4 meal prep containers.
- Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
What if you don’t have an instant pot, how would you suggest to cook?
Lorena Grater says
Simply use a regular pot on the stove. Follow the same instructions but add 1/2 cup more liquid, then bring to the boil, cover, and immediately reduce heat to low and simmer for approx. 15 mins or until the quinoa absorbed all the water.
I made this today and it’s absolutely delicious, thanks! I subbed some of the veggies with seasonal ones, was soooo good. I love all your recipes! If I wanted to double or triple this recipe, would the time in the instant pot change? Thanks!