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Mexican Instant Pot Quinoa With Cilantro & Lime Dressing

Instant Pot Quinoa Mexican Style with Cilantro Lime Dressing

This Instant Pot quinoa recipe is an absolute must try!!! I made it for our #MeatFreeMondays meal and let’s just say there have been multiple requests to make this on regular basis. The quinoa is perfectly (and quickly) cooked together with gorgeous veggies and Mexican inspired spices, so it absorbs all those beautiful warm and earthy flavors while still in the pot. As a contrasting and much complimenting addition, the cilantro and lime sauce is drizzled over the top when you serve this dish. All you need is a side salad!

Mexican Instant Pot Quinoa With Cilantro Lime Dressing

Before you start cooking

Quinoa is a nutritious pseudograin – full of protein and amino acids as well as minerals and vitamins – however, due it’s popularity, it is becoming less and less sustainably/ethically produced. Make sure to buy fair-trade quinoa, when possible. I like this brand of quinoa, and you can choose any colour you like.

Rice would also work well in this recipe, set the cooking time to 5 minutes instead of 1 minute (for white rice). Buckwheat is another gluten-free alternative that you might want to try.

Chipotle chili has that unmistakable smoky aroma and deep flavor. You can get chipotle chili flakes or whole peppers online and in most large supermarkets. Tinned chipotle can also be used.

The cilantro and lime sauce is made with mayonnaise and a little garlic and pickled jalapeño for an extra kick. For a vegan version, replace the mayonnaise with 3 tablespoons of olive oil or dairy-free yoghurt and a little extra lime juice. I used my mini blender to process the dressing but you can also chop everything up with a knife.

This is a great make-ahead dish as well. Store it in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Reheat in the Instant Pot on Sauté or in the oven. Tip: You can spread this quinoa in a casserole dish, top with some salad and sprinkle with grated cheese, then bake for an extra comforting Tex Mex dish.

Check out this Instant Pot quinoa dish with garlic, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes.

Instant Pot Quinoa Recipe

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Instant Pot Quinoa Mexican Style with Cilantro Lime Dressing

Mexican Instant Pot Quinoa With Cilantro Sauce

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 3-4 1x
  • Category: Side
  • Method: Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

This quinoa is perfectly cooked together with gorgeous veggies and Mexican inspired spices, so it absorbs all those beautiful warm and earthy flavors while still in the pot. As a contrasting and much complimenting addition, the cilantro and lime sauce is drizzled over the top when you serve this dish.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (250ml) fair-trade raw quinoa (any colour you like)
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, finely diced
  • 1 pointy red pepper, diced
  • 1 celery stick, diced
  • 1/2 long red chili, finely diced (seeds out)
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels (250ml cup)
  • 1/2 cup frozen garden peas (250ml cup)
  • 1/2 cup tinned tomato puree/diced tomatoes/passata (NOT tomato paste! half of 250ml cup)
  • 2/3 cup water (150 ml)

For cilantro sauce

  • 2 tbsp roughly diced cilantro leaves and stalks
  • 1/2 clove garlic, roughly diced
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 small pickled jalapeño slices
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Soak the quinoa in 2-3 cups of lightly salted cold water for 10-15 minutes (an hour is even better). Then rinse through a sieve.
  2. Press the Sauté key on the Instant Pot (it should say Normal, 30 mins). Add olive oil, onions, peppers, celery and half of the salt. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring a few times.
  3. After 5 minutes, add the garlic, spices and the rest of the salt. Stir through for 10 seconds and then add the quinoa, frozen corn and peas, tinned tomatoes and water. Stir through and press Keep Warm/Cancel key on the Instant Pot.
  4. Place and lock the lid, making sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press Manual, High pressure and set to 1 minute. After 3 beeps the pressure cooker will start going.
  5. Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release for 7 minutes and then, if needed, use the quick release method before opening the lid.
  6. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the sauce by placing all of the ingredients in a food processor or a small blender. Process into a smooth sauce (it’s okay if some of the cilantro is not completely ground up). If no food processor available, use a knife to finely chop the cilantro and jalapeño, grate the garlic, then combine with the other ingredients in a bowl.
  7. Serve the quinoa in bowls with a few teaspoons of cilantro sauce drizzled over the top. Garnish with extra lime and some chopped scallions.

Keywords: Mexican Quinoa Cilantro Sauce Pepper Chili Garlic Paprika Oregano Coriander

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57 Comments

  • Reply
    Nabeeda Bakali
    June 12, 2017 at 10:26 am

    That looks absolutely delicious. I am fasting and my mouth was watering as I was looking through the recipe and of course the pictures haha 😀

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      June 12, 2017 at 10:57 am

      Sorry for the torture! Something to put on your cooking bucket list 😉

  • Reply
    Saidah Washington
    June 12, 2017 at 11:20 am

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about the InstaPot. This recipe sounds like a perfect one for someone just getting started with one.

  • Reply
    Amber Myers
    June 12, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    Mmm, I would really enjoy this! It sounds and looks amazing. I love cilantro.

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      June 15, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      Me too! It blows me away when people don’t like it or think it tastes like soap – I’m glad I got the good gene 😉

  • Reply
    akamatra
    June 12, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    I’ve never heard of quinoa before our pediatrician said to give it to the baby and now we all eat it! Red and white and always the biological one 🙂

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      June 15, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      Hope the baby likes it! This is a great recipe to get them used to bold flavours, too.

  • Reply
    Nellwyn
    June 12, 2017 at 8:09 pm

    This looks so yummy and perfect for a summer day. I think I really need to invest in an instant pot.

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      June 15, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      I totally think you should!

  • Reply
    Chelft
    June 12, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I love this! I would take out the mayo to veganize it, but that’s just me! It looks so satisfying! I cannot wait to try the recipe!

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      June 15, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      It would be just as great! Some coconut yoghurt would be tasty.

  • Reply
    jhilmil
    June 12, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    It is indeed mouth watering!! I make quinoa in milk mostly but this seems a healthy & filling option:)

  • Reply
    Shilpa Bindlish
    June 13, 2017 at 6:24 am

    wow..this colorful dish looks super tempting. I bet it tastes yummy. Have to try this if i may get all the ingredients here.

  • Reply
    Chemady
    June 13, 2017 at 11:27 am

    The instructions stated to make Mexican instant Pot Quinoa with Cilantro & Lime Dressing is well stated. Thanks.

  • Reply
    Beverly
    June 13, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    This looks amazing. I love mexican food. however my kids dont really like it. I will have to wait for any visitors at home so I can cook it.

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      June 15, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      I hope you have guests soon so you can dig into this one!!!

  • Reply
    ellie
    June 13, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    I love the sound of this! It looks so healthy and tasty! Anything that has cilantro and lime is ok by me!

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      June 15, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      Me too!

  • Reply
    Cynthia Nicoletti
    June 13, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    I have never tried a recipe like this. Looks really good. Your pictures are fabulous and you explain everything in detail. That is exactly what I need 🙂

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      June 15, 2017 at 8:17 pm

      Thanks! Enjoy your Instant Pot. You’re going to love the quinoa with these flavours!

  • Reply
    Teona
    June 15, 2017 at 7:31 am

    I bave been obsessing with quinoa lately. So I must try and make this at home.

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      June 15, 2017 at 8:17 pm

      It’s such a fun and versatile food – isn’t it?!

  • Reply
    The FashionSherlock
    June 15, 2017 at 10:42 am

    This looks like an amazing recipe. Will have to try as a healthy alternative to rice.

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      June 15, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      Enjoy it!

  • Reply
    inbodeforyou
    June 18, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Awesome recipe! Cant wait to try it!

  • Reply
    Linda
    June 18, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    Only 1/2 cup water? I thought it was normally more water than grain. I know the veggies have some moisture. Just checking before I try it. Thanks! Looks yummy and really simple.

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      June 23, 2017 at 9:42 am

      Hey Linda, yes, that’s correct. You get 1/2 cup of liquid in water, 1/2 cup in tinned tomatoes (which are sort of like liquid) and also the liquid from the frozen veggies as they cook. With quinoa it’s about 1:1 ratio for Instant Pot as they are quite small seeds.

  • Reply
    Kay
    July 27, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    Really liked it, but I’d say it’s 2 servings at most. And definitely double the dressing recipe, it made barely enough to drizzle one and a half servings, and I’m a small eater! Otherwise, delish!

  • Reply
    The Ultimate Instant Pot Recipe Collection | Endlessly Inspired
    September 3, 2017 at 2:17 am

    […] Beef from Amee’s Savory Dish // Hawaiian Sloppy Joes from Real Food Real Deals // Mexican Quinoa with Cilantro & Lime Dressing from Instant Pot […]

  • Reply
    Aimee
    September 10, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Only 1 minute of pressure cooking? My quinoa isn’t even close to done. I’m sure I’ve screwed something up as usual 🙁

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      September 13, 2017 at 5:23 pm

      If you’re using Instant Pot, it will first build up the pressure, which takes 5 minutes and then it starts the 1-minute on High cooking process. Then it still cooks while the pressure is releasing naturally (we recommend 7 minutes). Also, did you soak the quinoa at all or just put in straight out of the pack? Hope that helps!

  • Reply
    Jesse P.
    September 28, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Looking forward to trying this recipe. Not sure what a “pointy red pepper” is though…? You mention chipotle in your intro. Is that what you mean in the ingredient list?

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      October 11, 2017 at 2:36 pm

      It’s similar to regular red bell pepper but it’s longer and more pointy in shape. You can use regular bell pepper of any colour. Chipotle refers to the chili you can use for flavorig, but regular caynne or chili flakes will also be fine. Chipotle gives it a little smokey aroma and flavor.

    • Reply
      Linzee
      February 11, 2018 at 2:22 am

      I cook quinoa regular without soaking it, but this was my first time trying it in the instant pot. I didn’t soak it and set the pot for 1 min and same prob – quinoa not at all cooked 🙁 just added some more water and set it for 7 min, we’ll see what happens!

      • Reply
        instantpoteats
        February 11, 2018 at 9:11 pm

        You want to cook it for ten minutes.

  • Reply
    Erin
    November 27, 2017 at 12:25 am

    This is definitely not working for me and I’m bummed. My IP has gone to “Burn” five tries in a row now. I’ve stirred to remove any burn material from bottom and added veggie broth each time before trying again. Have probably added another 1.5 cups of broth by now. Trying one more time on rice mode and then will move to stove top if that doesn’t work but might be a lost cause at this point. Are others not having issues with the burn warning coming on? 1/2 cup water seems like way too little.

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      November 27, 2017 at 7:04 am

      Hey Erin,

      Are you using tinned tomatoes as well? And what about frozen corn and peas? Together with 1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup tinned chopped tomatoes + the liquid that you will get from the frozen peas and corn, you will yield at least a full 1 cup of liquid. Cooking quinoa in IP requires 1:1 ratio of liquid to quinoa, so it should definitely be enough. And especially, if you’re adding even more cups of broth….I am puzzled as to why you would be getting the ‘Burn. Do it ‘burn’ while the pressure cooker is set to Manual, High or while you’re sautéing? The only other thing I can think of is measurement cups for quinoa and water should be the same? So, if say you used a bigger cup for measuring quinoa and a smaller one for water…but still, you did mention that you’ve tried adding more liquid. Sorry, I am out of solutions!

      • Reply
        instantpoteats
        November 27, 2017 at 7:08 am

        Hi Erin, I did just think of one more thing! Are you by any chance using tomato paste instead of tinned chopped tomatoes? If you are, then that could be the issue as the A) paste is much thicker and won’t add much liquid and B) tomato paste is quite concentrated and can easily burn as tends to caramelise if not enough liquid is present.

    • Reply
      Carrie
      July 11, 2018 at 2:13 am

      I had the same problem. It just sticks to the bottom and I get the “burn” alert. After three or four attempts the quinoa is cooked enough to eat, but clearly I’ve done something wrong. Not sure what? I used enchilada sauce instead of canned tomatoes, otherwise everything was about the same.

      • Reply
        instantpoteats
        July 16, 2018 at 6:23 pm

        Hi Carrie. I might recommend using more water. Increase by 1/2-1 cup for better cooking results.

  • Reply
    Katelynn
    January 6, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Nutritional information?

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      January 9, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      Unfortunately we don’t provide nutritional information for our recipes.

  • Reply
    Mike Kelly
    January 31, 2018 at 2:34 am

    I am having the same “burn” error as Erin. I followed the recipe precisely. The only difference is that I have the larger 8 quart pot. We kept scraping the bottom and adding water but the “burn” error kept popping up.

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      February 3, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      Hey Mike, I’m not too sure why you’d get the ‘burn’ error. I’ve adjusted the water amount to 2/3 cups instead of 1/2 for future recipe makers, thinking that perhaps for larger pots you need a little more liquid. Another reason that it could be is if say the carrot and celery sizes were slightly larger and as a result there was more food in the pot to cook, which might have needed more liquid.

  • Reply
    Heather
    February 9, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    Just made it for the first time and it tastes delicious, but the quinoa is not done, after soaking it for an hour. I reset the normal pressure cook setting for four additional minutes to see if it cooks thoroughly. The sauce is amazing! Definitely make at least double of it!

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      February 11, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      Hmm, I wonder why! The IP has proven to be finicky with recipes. I’m glad you love the sauce. Perhaps add 3-5 more minutes to cook time for the quinoa.

  • Reply
    Heather
    February 9, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    Should have read reviews first, because now my family is ready for dinner and dinner is not ready! I too am getting the burn message even after adding an additional cup of water! I’m switching it over to stovetop to finish. A let down for sure, but will give it another shot !

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      February 11, 2018 at 9:09 pm

      Are you using the Ultra? I don’t get the burn notification on my pot when I cook quinoa.

  • Reply
    Christie
    February 28, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    I love this recipe and have made it several times. My favorite modification is to sub black beans for the green peas. Also, I found that I could use pre-washed quinoa, skip the soaking & double the recipe for my family of 5 and it was perfectly delicious. Easy to add a side of chicken to satisfy the meat eaters, and serve with avocado and corn tortillas. Yum!

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      March 1, 2018 at 9:04 pm

      I am so glad you shared some of your modifications! I’m sure many other people who want to try this recipe will find your suggestions very helpful. You’re right – there are so many ways to make this appealing to any type of eater, and it’s so easy to do. Thanks!!

  • Reply
    Margarite
    April 29, 2018 at 11:10 pm

    This recipe is delicious. I added just a bit more water to make sure the quinoa is cooked, and I put frozen veggies in. This has become a household staple.

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      May 7, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Margarite, thanks for your feedback! I’m so glad you’re loving this recipe. It’s really lovely, simple, and budget-friendly.

  • Reply
    Kelly
    June 8, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    This was GREAT but I would love to add chicken to it. Do you think that’s possible or would it not cook long enough?

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      June 22, 2018 at 3:46 am

      Hi Kelly. Yes, you could add chicken. With chicken, I make sure to cook for at least 15 minutes. It should work out fine if you cut the chicken up for a one pot meal!

  • Reply
    Gracy Stone
    August 29, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    I love Quinoa. sometimes I cook it with milk and my favorite is to be served as a salad. Thanks for giving me a new idea. looking yummy

  • Reply
    Kel Adams
    July 27, 2019 at 11:26 pm

    Excellent recipe!! I was a little nervous to try it after reading the comments, but it went without a hitch in a 6-quart IP-LUX using a 1:1 ratio quinoa to water and subbing black beans for the green peas. I also doubled the sauce, and served it with avocado and corn tortillas, all based on comments here. It was so tasty! I am very glad I used more water than it calls for. (I had decided it would be easier to drain off excess than to deal with an undercooked grain, but there was not a thing to drain off…it was perfect). Definitely will make again, and I’m dreaming of all the things I could do with the sauce.

    • Reply
      instantpoteats
      July 29, 2019 at 9:19 am

      Hey Kel, thanks so much for your feedback and tips on how you made your version. We will definitely look at amending the recipe slightly based on comments and I might cook it again to double-check that the liquid amounts work perfectly.

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