One-pot Instant Pot Pesto Chicken and Quinoa – the meanest, greenest, most amazing dinner to ever grace your table. Perfect for an easy weeknight meal – just lay out the toppings and let everyone build their own bowl!
Turn this meal into a freezer meal! Find this recipe in our new Freezer Meal cookbook. CLICK HERE
I get really excited when my husband likes my creations.
If you ever visit my house in the evening and I'm whistling a happy tune while doing dishes (instead of the standard, “why is no one helping me! No one appreciates me, waaa!), there is a really good possibility that my hubby said dinner was exceptional.
Brock was the guy who wanted meat and potatoes at every meal when we got married, so for him to light up over a big green bowl of chicken and quinoa towering high with even more green food, you can rest assured, this dish is one for the books!
Light, cozy, nourishing, green power food in a big ol' bowl – this is what my dinner dreams are made of.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE INSTANT POT PESTO CHICKEN AND QUINOA
- Pesto infused chicken and quinoa topped with melty cheese, arugula (or spinach), fresh tomato, roasted asparagus, ranch dressing, and crispy prosciutto (or bacon) – I always tell my kids, “we can do hard things“, but dang, if you eat this you can move a flippin' mountain!
- Homemade Kale Walnut Pesto – Okay, you don't haaavve to make your own, but if you're buying some greens for this dinner anyway, you might as well go for super dynamite by using the extra greens to make the best pesto you've ever dipped a spoon in, right!?
- Lunch for days . . . well, we tend to eat it all up in one night (like I said, the hubs reeeaaallly likes it), but this is amazing for lunch prep all week. It reheats like a dream and I dare say, it tastes even better the next day.
- Roasted asparagus – I always need more recipes to use the 4 pounds I ambitiously bring home from the store – this is a beyond perfect use! If you've got other veggies that need to be used up, any roasted vegetable will work. If you don't want the extra step of roasting a veg, eat it as is. Versatile food at it's best right here!
HOW TO MAKE PESTO CHICKEN AND QUINOA IN THE PRESSURE COOKER
- Prep the asparagus and get it roasting
- Throw the chicken, quinoa, broth, and seasonings into the pressure cooker pot and start pressure cooking
- Fluff finished dish with a fork
- Add the peas
- Add the pesto
- Gently stir to combine
SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR DETAILED COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST PESTO CHICKEN
- Cook time for this dish is ONE MINUTE. I promise that is not a typo, but you MUST let ALL of the pressure release naturally. If you try to hurry things along and release the pressure early, the quinoa will likely be undercooked.
- Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Make sure the chicken is separated, not clumped together when you start the pressure cooker. This will ensure the meat is perfectly cooked and tender.
- Rinse your quinoa. If your quinoa isn't pre-rinsed, take an extra few minutes to give it a good rinse in a fine-mesh strainer. Most people think they don't like quinoa because they were served it unrinsed.
- Use homemade pesto. I know, I said it wasn't a MUST, but it is just so darn good. Especially this Kale and Walnut Pesto – I'd eat popsicles made out of this stuff.
- A drizzle of ranch is so so good. Even better, my husband mixed some jalapeno hot sauce into our favorite ranch dressing and wow, I could cry – he's a genius!
- Don't swap rice for quinoa. I'm sure it would work with some recipe adjustments, but as written, the one minute cook time will not be enough for rice.
- Crispy prosciutto – the new bacon (well, for me anyway). Prosciutto is an Italian dry-cured ham that is typically eaten cold. I like to put it on a sheet pan, bake at 400° until crispy, let it cool, and store it in a sealed container for topping dinner all week. Just watch yourself giggle like an elementary kid when you score a bite with prosciutto. If you can't find prosciutto, bacon, of course, will never disappoint.
HOW TO STORE, REHEAT, AND FREEZE CHICKEN AND QUINOA
- Store: Scoop cooled chicken and quinoa into a sealed container and store it in the refrigerator for up to a week. Store topping ingredients separately.
- Reheat: Leftovers can be reheated in the microwave or on the stovetop with a splash of water or broth.
- Freeze: Freeze leftovers in a freezer-safe ziplock (pressed flat for quick thawing) or in a sealed container for up to 3 months. To eat, let leftovers thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as instructed above.
VARIATIONS OF PESTO CHICKEN AND QUINOA
- Sundried Pesto Chicken and Quinoa: Swap basil pesto for sundried tomato pesto for a delicious, tangy version.
- Pesto Chicken Wrap: Place a big scoop of chicken and quinoa in a large tortilla wrap, top with cheese and desired toppings and wrap it tightly.
- Lettuce Wraps: I haven't tried it, but I think this would be amazing served cold in lettuce wraps with a drizzle of dressing and fresh chopped tomato.
You know a dish is good when you can still remember every detail of a meal over a month later. The first bite, the loving gaze of a happy husband, the whining of children about quinoa not being anything like rice . . . it's as if it was yesterday.
Enjoy your lovely green dinner, my friends! Let me know what you think, what your husband thinks, and if you have non-picky children, I'd love to hear their thoughts as well!
MORE INSTANT POT QUINOA RECIPES
- Instant Pot Quinoa Fried Rice
- Instant Pot Mediterranea Quinoa Bowl
- Basic Instant Pot Quinoa
- Instant Pot Chicken Coconut Cabbage Soup
TOOLS/INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT PESTO CHICKEN AND QUINOA
- Instant Pot
- Quinoa (I buy pre-rinsed)
- Fine Mesh Strainer (if you don't have pre-rinsed quinoa)
- Favorite Jalapeno Hot Sauce
Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum Quinoa Chicken PrimaveraPrint
Instant Pot Pesto Chicken and Quinoa
One pot pressure cooker Pesto Chicken and Quinoa dinner that's as nourishing as it is delicious!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 minute
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
For the asparagus
- 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed and cut into bite size pieces
- Olive oil
For the chicken and quinoa
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed if the package doesn’t say rinsed)
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
- 1 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Juice of half a lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
- 2 cups frozen peas
- ⅓ cup pesto, store bought or homemade
For serving: shredded cheese (mozzarella, pepper jack, or monterey jack), arugula or spinach, roasted asparagus, fresh tomato, jalapeno ranch (see easy recipe in notes), sour cream, yogurt, crispy bacon or prosciutto, etc
- Preheat oven to 400°F. On a baking sheet, toss asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper; roast for 10 minutes until crisp tender.
- While the asparagus roasts, place quinoa, chicken, chicken broth, salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, basil, garlic powder, and lemon juice in the pressure cooker pot, making sure all of the quinoa is immersed and the chicken is evenly distributed around the pot.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 1 minute.
- When cooking is complete, use a natural release.
- Stir and fluff chicken and quinoa. Stir in frozen peas and pesto until evenly distributed.
- To serve, put a scoop of chicken and quinoa in a bowl. Top first with cheese then roasted asparagus, arugula or spinach, diced tomato, and a drizzle of ranch dressing, sour cream, or yogurt. Top with crispy bacon or prosciutto for extra yumminess.
- If your quinoa is not pre-rinsed, pour it into a fine mesh strainer and rinse thoroughly for the best tasting dish.
- Try topping your bowl with a quick, homemade jalapeno ranch. Simply whisk 1 tablespoon jalapeno hot sauce (or any green hot sauce) with about ¼ cup of your favorite ranch dressing.
- Asparagus can be substituted with any roasted vegetable or omitted if you don’t want the extra roasting step.