Summer means lighter no-fuss meals that are more health-conscious. No one wants to heat up the kitchen on those warm days, so oftentimes a colorful salad is the preferred choice for lunch or dinner. It is also the season for lighter potluck dishes to bring to a barbecue or a picnic. In this roundup, we’re showcasing delicious salads you can make with the help of the Instant Pot. Jazz things up with some curry chicken salad or quinoa corn and crispy bacon creation.
Sunshine means getting outside and enjoying the weather. For many people, this means lighter no-fuss meals that are more health-conscious, such as a delicious salad.
HOW TO USE THE INSTANT POT TO MAKE SALADS
At first, you might be wondering who needs an Instant Pot to make a salad? But, we don’t mean that you would be making the whole salad in the actual pot. Instead, the pressure cooker can be used to make some of the key ingredients that make up that salad dish. This is especially useful during those hot days when no one wants to heat up the kitchen with the oven or stand in front of a stove.
Some of the foods you can cook in the Instant Pot to use in a salad include:
- Protein: hard-boiled eggs, shredded chicken, pulled pork, meatballs, chickpeas or beans are all great sources of protein to add to any salad to make it more substantial and satiating. You can even use the Saute function to crisp up some bacon or sizzle some garlic prawns.
- Grains: brown or white rice, quinoa, faro, millet or pasta make for a hearty, nutritious base for main salads.
- Legumes: nutritious lentils, cannellini beans or peas are just some of the legumes you can cook in the Instant Pot to add to a salad.
- Vegetables: think potato, pumpkin, beets, green beans or asparagus – these can all be cooked or steamed using the Instant Pot.
Another great thing about the pressure cooker is that you can make large batches of these foods to stash in the fridge or freezer for a quick and easy throw-together salad dish.
What makes a great salad?
Transforming a mediocre salad to something epic is based on fresh ingredients and toppings you actually want to eat. Don’t be afraid of adding fruit to add the contrast of sweetness, or nuts for some crunch, or avocado for fat, or chickpeas for protein.
Making homemade salad dressing with fresh ingredients gives it a little something extra; make sure it’s not soggy from being drenched by dressing and not too dry. Don’t forget to season those greens with a touch of salt and pepper. This enhances the flavors already locked in the veggies. Greens are usually your base but you can incorporate different types, not just iceberg. Watercress and arugula can add a peppery bite. Beyond lettuce, fresh herbs like cilantro, parsley, or mint can add some surprise.
In this roundup, we explore more than just your classic Caesar salad. We like to jazz things up with some Brazilian-inspired curry chicken or if you like texture, corn and crispy bacon is an instant fiesta on your table with bright colors decorating the plate. The more interesting you make your salad the more you will enjoy and look forward to eating healthy. Here is our selection of Instant Pot salads for summer and beyond.
QUINOA CORN & CRISPY BACON SALAD
The sweetness of the corn is complimented by the saltiness of the bacon and added feta cheese, while quinoa served as the perfect protein and fiber-rich base with its neutral, nutty flavor. The salad is full of other nutritious goodies: tomatoes, peppers, herbs, onions, and a lovely dressing. Recipe from Instant Pot Eats.
TASTY CURRY CHICKEN SALAD
This delicious and healthy recipe is inspired by a Brazilian chicken salad, also known as Salpicão de Frango. It’s kind of a fusion dish, really. We take popular American classic, add some Brazilian additions of grated carrot, raisins, and corn, perfectly cooked, lightly spiced chicken breasts and an Asian twist of curry mayo dressing. Everything is mixed and served over shredded lettuce or salad leaves. Recipe from Instant Pot Eats.
CREAMY MACARONI SALAD WITH PEAS & HAM
This summer classic is usually made with straight or elbow macaroni pasta, creamy mayonnaise dressing, and a variety of diced vegetables such as red onions, peppers, celery, peas, or whatever else you have on hand. Some versions are made with cheese or egg, and some have diced ham, chicken, tuna, or shrimp for added protein. Our Instant Pot version of a macaroni salad uses small pasta tubes, frozen peas, and fresh corn, which are cooked together in the pressure cooker. Recipe from Instant Pot Eats.
INSTANT POT QUINOA VEGETABLE TABBOULEH SALAD
Enjoy a light healthy meal that is easy to make and easy to grab-and-go. It may take a little bit of planning and diligence, but it will be worth it when you feel good about life choices that are only helping you live longer. Quinoa is a great choice for a yummy kick start to healthy clean eating. It’s gluten-free, twice the protein content of rice or barley, and contains sufficient amounts of all nine essential amino acids. Recipe from Instant Pot Eats.
CAESAR PASTA SALAD WITH EGGS & CRISPY BACON
Who doesn’t love a good Caesar salad? It’s that perfect combination of crispy lettuce, salty bacon, crunchy croutons, Parmesan and the iconic dressing that is loved across the globe. This salad is a great template for adaption and you can make many variations such as grilled chicken or shrimp Caesar, add various veggies, or in our case make a filling pasta salad dish. Recipe from Instant Pot Eats.
BROWN RICE SALAD WITH PEANUT BUTTER DRESSING
Want to add more fiber and protein-rich plant-based foods to your diet but don’t have the time to soak and cook foods such as legumes and brown rice? Not to worry! Instant Pot is a real-time-saver when it comes to cooking these, and in this recipe show you how to make a healthy and delicious brown rice salad in a lot less time than using a stovetop. Recipe from Instant Pot Eats.
Summer POTATO SALAD WITH TANGY VINAIGRETTE
This is a fantastic salad to bring to a barbecue party, picnic in the park, or to enjoy as a nutritious, balanced meal at home. Instant Pot cooked potatoes and green beans take very little time, just enough to dice up the other ingredients and to whisk up that delicious tangy vinaigrette. Recipe from Instant Pot Eats.
MEXICAN BEAN SALAD (VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE)
We love this zesty, nutritious Mexican bean salad made with legumes cooked in the Instant Pot to save time and heat. It works as its own summer meal or you can bring it as a side dish to a picnic or a barbecue. Recipe from Instant Pot Eats.
INSTANT POT EGG SALAD (KETO, GLUTEN-FREE)
This tangy and sharp Instant Pot egg salad (or dip) is made with cheese, mayo, and garlic and is inspired by a Ukrainian family recipe, often prepared for celebratory feasts and parties. Perfect for using up hard-boiled eggs, this recipe is gluten-free, keto, and low-carb friendly. Recipe from Instant Pot Eats.
HERB & GARLIC SOURDOUGH CROUTONS
If you’re a regular sourdough user, you will know that after a few days that perfect loaf can get pretty stale and solid. It’s always a shame to have to throw it away. One of the best ways to use up the leftovers is to make homemade croutons. Perfect to sprinkle on top of your salad! Not a pressure cooker recipe but something useful to make in the kitchen. Recipe from Instant Pot Eats.
Also, check out this INSTANT POT POTATO SALAD +10 TASTY IDEAS & VARIATIONS
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