Sometimes, recipe inspiration strikes and I have to try something new right away. Like, as soon as humanly possible. That’s how I felt when I thought of making these Vegan Burrito Bowls in the Instant Pot.
This recipe is actually a spin-off of a simpler idea I had last week– I wanted to make protein-rich “Mexican rice” by combining two simple ingredients: quinoa and prepared salsa.
Genius, right? I thought so, anyway.
We always have a jar of salsa in our pantry, so I thought it was a super-convenient way to add some flare to our usual quinoa, without taking extra time to chop up veggies. I replaced one cup of the cooking water with one cup of salsa, and it turned out really well.
During that first test-run, I sautéed some peppers and onions, along with some black beans and seasonings, to serve over my Mexican-style Quinoa. The combination was delicious, but I wondered if I couldn’t streamline the process even more by cooking everything in the Instant Pot at the same time. That’s how these one-pot vegan burrito bowls were born.
I experimented with “dump meals” quite a bit while writing my latest cookbook, so I can tell you from experience that you can make these burrito bowls by simply dumping everything into the Instant Pot and pressing a button.
However, the flavor is never quite as good compared to when you take the extra 10 minutes to sauté the onions and peppers first. Either way works; it’s just something to keep in mind!
This recipe is delicious when served hot or cold. I like to enjoy it warm right after making it, then I throw the rest in the fridge for quick lunches for several more days. I hope you’ll enjoy it just as much.
Instant Pot Quinoa Burrito Bowls (Vegan!)
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 red onion , diced
- 1 bell pepper , diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 cup quinoa , rinsed well
- 1 cup prepared salsa
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans , or 1 (15 oz.) can, drained and rinsed
- Optional toppings: Avocado , guacamole, fresh cilantro, green onions, salsa, lime wedges, shredded lettuce
- Heat the oil in the bottom of the Instant Pot, using the "Saute" setting. Saute the onions and peppers until start to soften, about 5 to 8 minutes, then add in cumin and salt and saute another minute. Turn of the Instant Pot for a moment.
- Add in the quinoa and water and stir well, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon, to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom. (This will trigger a burn error.) Add the salsa and beans on top without stirring again. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to "Sealing."
- Press the Rice button (which cooks at LOW pressure for 12 minutes) or press the Manual or Pressure Cook button, and cook at high pressure for 1 minute. Let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes when the cooking cycle is complete, to let the quinoa finish cooking, without burning to the bottom of the pot. When the screen reads L0:15, move the steam release valve to Venting to release any remaining pressure.
- When the floating valve in the lid has dropped, it's safe to remove the lid. Fluff the quinoa with a fork, then serve warm with any toppings you love, such as avocado, diced onions, salsa, and shredded lettuce.
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. You can quickly reheat on the stove top, or serve cold!
Per Serving: Calories: 163, Fat: 2g, Carbohydrates: 28g, Fiber: 3g, Protein: 6g
Note: Feel free to substitute another grain for the quinoa if you like, such as rice or millet. As written, this dish packs 14 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber per serving!
Don’t have an Instant Pot?
Stove Top Directions: You can heat everything in a covered pot over the stove. Instead of hitting the “rice” button using the directions above, simply bring everything to a boil in a large pot over high heat, then lower the heat and cover to steam until the quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork before serving with your favorite toppings.
This recipe is a great make-ahead meal to prepare over the weekend, so I hope you’ll try it the next time you have a free 20 minutes to spare. You can enjoy it right away when it’s warm, then have lunch ready-to-go for three more days next week.
Reader Feedback: Do you have a favorite Instant Pot meal at the moment? Let me know what I should try next! I’ve almost perfected the best Vegan Mac n’ Cheese of my life using the Instant Pot… so that recipe will be coming to you soon.
Questions and Reviews
This was so simple and delicious! Threw in some extra carrots that I needed to use up too. Thank you for sharing!
SO, I totally thought I had quinoa, poured in a cup of what I thought was quinoa. Nope, it was millet. They cook exactly the same and have a similar flavor, so hopefully it will still turn out. But I love how quick this recipe is. And it smells delicious!
Made it for my vegan in-laws, and we all loved it. Thank you!
OH yu-um. I managed to make it to 50+ without really learning how to cook until recently changing to a plant based diet but this recipe makes me look like I know what I’m doing!
This is stunningly delicious. I do much prefer it with a fresh salsa or, at least, a jarred one that is very vinegaty. I did add some fresh corn and that was tasty.
OMG! So amazing! I made this in my Instant Pot Duo exactly as listed with the “rice” setting. I let it depressurize for probably 30 minutes and the quinoa tails were all out and curly 🙂 My husband and I couldn’t believe how delicious and EASY this is!
Delicious recipe — worked perfectly in the Instant Pot. I omitted the bell peppers and reduced the onion a bit since both are in the salsa, and only used 1/2 cup of salsa with a tad more water. (We have acid reflux/GERD issues here.) Added some leftover sweet potato and half of an avocado. Scrumptious, easy dinner that is a nice addition to the meal and perfect for weekday lunches. Thanks so much!
Such a delicious dish even my 2 teenage boys took seconds! It’s so easy to make that this will go on my weekly rotation. Only change I made was I replaced the water with vegetable stock. I find that it makes the Quinoa more flavorful. Thank you for this recipe and I can’t wait to try others!
This recipe is fantastic and a staple in my home! I’ve changed it up by making a thai curry version and playing around with different veggies. As long as I’m consistent with the quinoa to liquid ratio, it turns out delicious!
I just pre-ordered the instant pot cookbook and can’t wait to try more of your recipes!
This was a big hit with boyfriend! He didn’t miss the meat and was full. We both enjoyed it even more the second day. Use a good quality salsa. I didn’t use the instapot and it was easy cleanup and quick. I highly recommend avocado and cilantro for the garnish. Thank you, Megan!
This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it. I make quite a few of your recipes and have never been disappointed.
Thanks so much!
I’m not a huge quinoa fan. My mouth can’t handle the texture. If I make this with brown rice, is everything else in the pot going to be complete mush after 24 mins?
I was wondering that too, if brown rice can be a substitute for the quinoa?
Brown rice takes 22 minutes to cook the Instant Pot, with a 10-minute natural release, so I’m not sure the vegetables would have much texture left at that point. You might want to cook the rice for 15-ish minutes first, then add in everything else? This is just a guess, so let me know if you try it.
Our family loved this recipe! Thank you!
Great recipe. Added corn with the beans and avocado as a topping and I was very satisfied! Yum!
Can you make this in a slow cooker? Has anyone tried it??
Loved this! I made a big burrito meal of it, tortillas and all. High pressure 4 min, 15 NPR. I subbed fire roasted diced tomatoes for salsa and also threw in a can of corn. Set out bowls of toppings and added kalmato olives as an option. My husband is not vegan, so I also set out roasted chicken from the deli and Mexican cheese. We both ate enthusiastically!
I’ve made this recipe so many times, both exactly as written and also with subtle modifications. Family always raves about how delicious this is!
Thanks for posting this! It will be a staple in our household.
I made this just now and the bottom is all burnt. I even used a little bit less quinoa and a little bit more water. I gave it a stir before I turned it on so there would be liquid in the bottom. What did I do wrong? Thanks
Did you definitely cook it on low pressure? If it was on high pressure that could definitely trigger a burn error. Or, if you have an 8-quart pot, they tend to be burn-error-trigger-happy, in general. What I would do in that case is let the dish sit in the pot for 10-15 minutes (the pot will de-pressurize since the heating will stop with the burn error) and that time will allow the quinoa to finish cooking, and it will help anything that got stuck to the bottom re-hydrate so there isn’t a big burnt mess on the bottom of your pot. If you have an Instant Pot with only a high-pressure option (like the Lux model) I’d recommend cooking the quinoa for 1 minute at high pressure, with a natural release for 15 minutes instead.
This is so yummy and easy! I use vegetable broth instead of water and tonight I used kidney beans because I was out of black beans. Still delicious and an easy way to change it up!
Hi there, I have already cooked my quinoa for the next few days for different uses. How do you suggest I make this meal with cooked quinoa. thanks for your time, Jen G
Maybe just stir in some spices to the cooked quinoa, and heat it up with a little salsa and black beans on the stove? Or you could just add all the toppings over it and call it a day!
thanks for your reply…I was looking at the recipe again and thinking that I could saute in the instant pot as in step 1 and then add the salsa and beans and then add the quinoa last . Then to serve, add the toppings.
This sounds delicious. Is there a substitute I can use for the quinoa, for someone who doesn’t digest it properly? Sounds weird I know. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe
I just preordered your new cookbook! Can’t wait to try the recipes in it. Thanks for creating a vegetarian instant pot cookbook!
I’ve had my Instant Pot just a few days. I was looking at your recipes to get idea for healthy meals. You were asking for suggestions, Chicken Papriká could probably be made in a healthier way, you could use quark instead of sour cream. You must use red onions, my grandmother and my mom always did.
So delicious and easy! This is the second recipe i’ve tried in my new Instant Pot, and I am so grateful to you for sharing it. My three year old loves it, too. Thanks!
Has anyone tried doubling? Would like to serve 6-8? Any suggestions?
I think this one would double just fine! With the Instant Pot, you keep the same cook time when doubling a recipe– it will just take longer to come to pressure due to the added volume.
I have made this twice now and absolutely love the flavour and the ease it takes to make it. Thank you.
When do you add cumin and salt? Not seeing it in directions! Thanks!
Just made this. So good. So easy. Highly recommend:)
After ending an extended juice fast, I wanted to transition to a healthier eating routine. I happened upon your “No Excuses” cookbook at my local library and have been hooked ever since! I’ve made several of the recipes from that book and also several from your website.
This Burrito Bowl was dinner last night and wow it was amazing! I ate it as prescribed with the beans no meat. I didn’t miss the meat at all. I really was awesome. Thank you for sharing!
ps. The Kung Pao Chickpeas from your book was a raving success tonight! my 12 year old could not stop talking about how good it was.
Oh, I’m so happy to hear that! Glad you’re all enjoying the recipes!
I bought your Fresh and Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook. Being a vegetarian I was thrilled that the meat recipes included changing the protein. So far, I have made seven recipes. I can’t wait to try more. My fav was Roasted Vegetable Bowls. My hubs fav was Italian Style Shakshuka.
I love my Instant Pot and I love your Cookbook.
By the way, I heard about your book on Erin’s Well Plated web site.
I love this recipe! My favorite for my new instant pot so far
This is awesome! I made quinoa on the stovetop a few years ago and hated it. But this looked so good I had to try again Especially since I have an Instant Pot now. It’s so good! It was one of the easiest meals I’ve ever made and turned out perfectly. Thanks for the recipe. 😀
This was amazing. The texture of the quinoa is perfect. I do not eat beans, so I substituted chopped carrots instead and used jarred Green Salsa. For a great sauce, google Mexican cauliflower cheese sauce.
This recipe is really flexible and you could throw in celery or any extra vegetables you have on hand. THANK YOU.
I ADORED this recipe! Been eating it often. I’ve also found that if I leave out the quinoa, it also makes the best taco filling as well!
This is so easy and absolutely delicious
Easy, fast, and a family hit! We serve with this vegan queso recipe (http://www.veggieonapenny.com/vegan-cheese/) and chopped bell peppers, onions (optional), and fried tofu (optional) with chopped romaine. Optional salad dressings. Yum! My first hit recipe in the InstaPot!
If I were to double this recipe and use the instant pot, would I add more time? For how much longer would I cook it?
Thanks for the yummy recipe! Even the kids loved it!
I don’t change the time when doubling recipes for Instant Pot cooking. It will naturally take longer to come to pressure due to the increased volume of food, so the overall time will be longer, but the actual cook time that you choose stays the same.
This was delicious and so filling. I will be making this often.
This is so yummy! I made it for a quick dinner and will be eating the leftovers for lunches! I love looking forward to lunch! Thank you!
When you cook quinoa/rce does the pot foam? TIA
It probably does get foamy on the inside of the pot, which is why you always need to allow for at least a 10-minute natural release when cooking grains, pasta, or beans. Starchy water will not shoot out of the vent or make a mess if you let the pressure release naturally first.
I am about to buy my first instant pot but since i’m single, i’m getting the 3qt or mini. Would this recipe work in the mini? Thanks.
This one might work in the mini, but that size is very limiting in what you can do. I recommend the 6 quart to take full advantage of pot-in-pot cooking, so that you could make your main course and a side of rice, steamed cauliflower, or something else at the same time. And example of this is my Chipotle Burrito Bowls. I often make meals to feed two adults in my 6 quart, and I think most people use the 3-quart size as a rice cooker or for small side dishes.
Could I use 1/2 cup of salsa instead of one cup?
Made this for dinner today. Absolutely delicious! This is a keeper. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂
Thank you for this great recipe! I was just given an Instant Pot as a gift two nights ago and I had no idea what to do with it, especially as a vegetarian. This was the first recipe I tried and it turned out perfectly! I actually doubled it. I used frozen onions, frozen red pepper, and I didn’t have any green peppers so I threw in a jalapeno! I also cut back on the black beans a little bit and added some corn and diced sweet potato, also frozen. It turned out so perfectly. Thanks to this recipe I am totally sold on the Instant Pot and will be trying out many more one-dish meals… it was so wonderful to do other things while dinner was taking care of itself!
This was really great. I am not a huge fan of quinoa (or cumin so I used other seasonings) but it was really great, the toppings make it, thank you Megan!
Very yummy!! I added some frozen organic corn to the pot. We topped with shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, cilantro, avocado and lime! A dash of Chiluba hot sauce made it perfect! Thanks for a great recipe!
Hello Megan! I tried this last night and it was amazing. My husband is craving it again tonight. I’m glad that I found your post.
This recipe is so easy and delicious!
Good flavor but followed instructions to a tee and the resulting meal was way too mushy. I’d probably take some of these other commenters suggestions to cook for a much shorter time and/or shorten/eliminate the natural release and gonstraight to quick release. My 2 year old ate it tho. So it’s still a win.
This has become a household staple. Super easy, delicious, and the leftovers reheat well. I make it once a week. Thanks!