When you’re on a Whole30, you eat a lot of meat. Veggies too, TONS of veggies, which I love, but also definitely a lot of meat, because there’s no rice or bread to stretch the meal! Shredded chicken recipes like this one are a mainstay.
I challenged my husband to learn to use the Instant Pot and collected a bunch of recipes for him, and as I mentioned when I shared the Instant Pot version of Paleo cauli-rice, I kept finding a lot of sub-par recipes out there! On days when he was taking over the cooking while I worked, I’d email them to my husband but end up either rewriting the instructions in the email or going to the kitchen to tell him what he should really do.
So I kinda need to share them with you guys after all that work, especially before the post we’re working up to: Easy Instant Pot Recipes Even a Man Can Make.
Today’s recipe is a simple and flexible Asian chicken that could totally be served over rice if you’re not grain-free. We just added steamed broccoli, a big salad, and a tray of roasted veggies to bulk up the meal. My kids enjoyed it and even took leftovers for lunch a few days. (The roasted veggie recipe is mine but it’s only in Plan to Eat – because I use that program a ton to keep my veggies organized when we do a Whole30!)
Make your Instant Pot work for you!
The Instant Pot has gotten a lot of hype over the last couple years – for good reason. It really can do just about anything.
Although it can seem a bit daunting to use at first, it really becomes quite simple once you give it a try.
Use the techniques, tips and simple recipes from the Instant Pot Guidebook to get started, and before you know it, your Instant Pot will become indispensable!
Shopping Notes and Frugal Tips
You can use either chicken breasts or thighs for this one – we had a random assortment of both in our fridge the day we made it, but neither was enough for a big batch to feed our family, so we just mixed them and that worked great too. I’d make it with thighs regularly simply because thighs are less expensive so I tend to save chicken breast splurges for things like chicken nuggets or a stir fry when you want the white meat to shine. For all my slow cooker or Instant Pot shredded chicken recipes, I go with thighs.
Keep in mind that the kind of curry you use will kind of take over this dish. Most powdered curries are turmeric based and yellow in color. My husband has fallen in love with red curry at Thai restaurants this past year and we could never figure out why I couldn’t find “red curry powder” when I shopped spices! Apparently for Thai food it’s a curry paste, so I need to figure out how to source or make that myself, because although he likes the yellow curries I’ve found, he’s quite smitten with red. To keep your spices frugal, you can check out a local Asian market; I hear that’s a great place to get smaller amounts for inexpensive amounts. I am lucky enough to have a health food store that sells spices in small packages for typically 99c-$1.99 each, so I can try out flavors without investing a ton of cash. I also have ordered through
Mountain Rose Herbs (Link Removed) online and their prices are amazing, but you do need to know how much you can use! I got maybe 4 or 8 ounces of dried cilantro and was a little shocked when the bag came and was as big as my head!
Herbs are light. Order small! (And also – does anyone need any cilantro? I have 2 decades worth of it for ranch dressing mix in my basement now…)
The turmeric in this recipe already has a ton of health benefits, which I explored when we shared this amazing Turmeric Chicken Soup with Cabbage and Coconut, which we’ve eaten twice during the Whole30 and it’s so warming and lovely.
We’ve also been boosting the nutrition of a lot of soups and Instant Pot meals by adding Vital Proteins or – you can pretty much put 2 scoops of either one into any recipe you’re making and it just disappears (visually and flavor-wise). The gelatin will “gel” up after things cool, which is no problem for soups (it liquefies again when heated) but might be weird if you want to eat something cold, like we do with shredded chicken dishes, so collagen is better for this one! You can use the coupon code VPKS10 for 10% off your order!
The Recipe: Curried Lemon Coconut Chicken (Pressure Cooker Version)
- 1 can full fat coconut milk
- ¼ c. lemon juice
- 1 Tbs. curry powder
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- ½ tsp. salt
- about 4 lbs. chicken - breasts, thighs, or a combo (whatever you have)
- optional: ½-1 tsp. lemon zest
- Mix the coconut milk, lemon juice and spices together in a bowl or glass measuring cup. (Don't worry about incorporating that large chunk of coconut cream from the top of the can of coconut milk; just mix the liquidy part together.)
- Pour a little bit on the bottom of the Instant Pot.
- Add the chicken.
- Pour in the rest, including the coconut cream chunk if you've got one, on top of the chicken.
- Lock in the lid and close the valve.
- Turn the IP to "poultry" which should be 15 minutes at high pressure.
- If working with frozen chicken breasts, add 10 minutes to the cook time and you should be fine (although I haven't tested this yet).
- It will take about 20 minutes to get to pressure.
- After the 15 minute cook time, use the quick release by opening the valve.
- Test chicken for doneness by cutting open and observing the center (if you see any pink, turn the IP back on for another 5-10 minutes on manual high pressure - it will heat up much quicker because everything is already so hot).
- Use 2 forks to shred the chicken up in the pot (or remove to a plate if you're having trouble getting it all in the pot).
- Optional: Add ½-1 tsp. lemon zest after cooking.
- Serve with steamed or roasted veggies or over rice.
2 Tools for Real Food Success:
It’s never easy to keep up with real food goals! If my meal isn’t planned ahead and/or I don’t have the right food on hand, it’s SO tempting to give up and grab convenience food!
I have to almost trick myself into getting it right sometimes…like this:
I love my raw milk farm, and they usually have beef for me too – but not all the cuts. And chicken is hard to come by. And pork is hit or miss.
I’m sure you’ve experienced the same sourcing frustrations!
That’s why I’m always grateful that there’s an online source of incredibly high quality meat that I can always count on. A box from Butcher Box is guaranteed to be grassfed/organic/pastured/free range = all the labels important to your family’s health!
If you live in an area (like my mom) where organic local farms are nowhere to be found or have trouble sourcing certain meats or cuts, Butcher Box has you covered.
(free shipping too!)
But if I forget to plan ahead, all that amazing meat just sits in the freezer! Enter Real Plans, an online meal planning software that is probably smarter than I am.
I can enter that cut of meat along with my food restrictions and find the perfect meal, then generate a shopping list, multiply it by 4 if we have company, and enter my own fav recipes too.
Real Plans takes the stress out of meal planning and puts the nourishing food BACK on your table. There’s a plan for every diet type:
My husband’s been doing such a great job with this (I don’t know why I didn’t think of a post like the one I’m writing sooner…the delegation-of-dinner aspect has been worth it even if no one ever reads the post!).
The sheepish look on his face makes me laugh.
I hope you love this simple recipe!
No Instant Pot yet? Remember that you can totally make this in a slow cooker too, AND you gotta watch Amazon for a deal on the IP. It’s a game changer.
My dear friend Wardee at Traditional Cooking School can do just about anything with her Instant Pot – cakes, bread, main dishes, veggies, even “stacking” multiple kinds of food at once!
She’s offering a free sourdough cornbread Instant Pot recipe!
This cornbread is delicious, nutritious, super easy to make, and it only needs 12 minutes of cook time.