Mexican food is incredibly diverse and packed with a melting-pot of flavors from Spain, France, and local cuisine. No matter how different every region is, they are united by common spices and flavors like garlic, onion, chili powder, oregano, lime, and cumin. I love Mexican-inspired cooking because it’s fast and uses so many fresh ingredients and flavor-boosting spices and herbs.
The pressure cooker is the perfect tool for making Mexican meals and preserving nutrients from beans, peppers, chicken, and more! The next three recipes include an awesome chicken burrito bowl, flank steak tacos, and a sweet dessert tamale with coconut milk, pineapple, and mango coulis.
Chicken Burrito Bowl
Time: 21-25 minutes
A burrito bowl is a great alternative to a burrito with a tortilla, which is high in carbs. Without the bread part, a burrito bowl has all the flavors and textures – fresh crunchy lettuce, tender acidic peppers, rich black beans, and hot, complex spices like cumin and marjoram. I love this recipe because you can cook everything in the pressure cooker at once. Be sure to remember to soak the beans the night before!
Let’s start by prepping the rice. Parboiled rice has more nutrition than regular white, which is why I’ve used it here. Put the rice in a large bowl, 4 cups, and add 1 ½ cups water and about one tablespoon of lime zest. Make a foil sling for the bowl, so you can easily lower it into the cooker and take it out. Set the bowl aside for now.
Turn on your electric cooker, or turn the burner on under your stovetop cooker, on low. Once it’s preheated a bit, add the olive oil and heat up. When hot, brown the chicken breast on one side. This should take about 5 minutes. When one side is browned, take it out of the cooker. Add in the bell pepper, beans, onion, spices, herbs, salt, water, and bay leaf, and mix.
Return the chicken back in the cooker, the browned side up, and put the steamer basket on top of the chicken. Put the rice bowl in the steamer and close the lid.
For a stovetop cooker:
Turn the burner up, so the pressure reaches 15 PSI. When high pressure is reached,
turn down the heat to maintain pressure for 4 minutes. When time is up, remove the
cooker from the burner and wait for the pressure to reduce naturally.
For an electric cooker:
Select the “high pressure” setting on your cooker and cook for 6 minutes. When the
timer goes off, unplug the cooker and let the pressure come down on its own.
Carefully remove the rice bowl and sprinkle with lime juice. Fluff with a fork. Next, take out the steamer basket, and then the chicken. Pull the meat apart with a fork and return to the cooker. Mix into the bean mixture. Pick out the bay leaf when you find it.
To make your bowl, start with a layer of the rice, followed by the chickens and bean. Serve with shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa, or anything else you like in your burritos!
- 1 pound chicken breast, skinless and boneless
- 1 chopped, medium-sized red onion
- 1 chopped medium-sized yellow bell pepper
- 2 cups shredded lettuce (or cabbage)
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 cup soaked dried black beans
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ cups parboiled rice
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 zested and juiced lime
- Put the parboiled rice, 1 ½ cups water, and lime zest in a 4-cup bowl.
- Make a foil sling for the bowl and set aside for now.
- Preheat the pressure cooker.
- Add the olive oil and when hot, brown the chicken breast on one side for 5 minutes.
- Take out the chicken.
- Toss in the bell pepper, onion, beans, spices, herbs, salt, bay leaf, and water.
- Put the chicken back in the pressure cooker, brown-side up.
- Put the steamer basket on top of the chicken.
- Put the bowl from the beginning in the steamer.
- Close the cooker lid.
- For an electric cooker, cook for 6 minutes at high pressure. For stovetop cookers, cook for 4 minutes.
- When time is up, unplug the cooker or remove from the hot burner and wait for the pressure to come down naturally.
- Carefully take out the bowl.
- Sprinkle with lime juice and fluff.
- Take out the steamer.
- Take out the chicken and pull the meat apart with a fork.
- Return to the pressure cooker and mix well with the bean mixture.
- Pick out the bay leaf.
- To assemble your bowl, layer the bean and chicken mixture on top of the rice with salsa, sour cream, lettuce, and any other favorite toppings.
Nutritional Info (⅙ of total meal):
Flank Steak Tacos w/ Spicy Coleslaw
Time: About 50 minutes
Flank steak is pretty affordable, lean, and cooks really fast in a pressure cooker. You end up shredding the steak for these beef tacos, and serving in a sauce made from two kinds of salsa, onion, cumin, chili powder, and olive oil. If you have leftovers, you can make a variety of Mexican dishes, like enchiladas, taco salad, and more. It’s really simple, but the flavors are complex and spicy. I also make a spicy coleslaw to top off the tacos, which adds a fresh crunch.
The first step to making these tacos is to cook the onion and spices together. Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil in your pressure cooker and heat. For a stovetop cooker, turn the burner to medium-high, while the sauté setting for an electric cooker is just fine. When the oil is glistening and hot, add chopped onion and stir until it becomes soft.
While that cooks, you can trim off the fat from your flank steak to make it even leaner, and cut the steaks first lengthwise, and then crosswise. It helps the meat cook faster when it’s cut up like that.
Your onions should be starting to soften by now, so toss in the ground cumin and chili powder. After about a minute, pour in 1 ½ cup of salsa verde and ¾ cup of a simple tomato salsa. Add the meat, too, and close the pressure cooker lid.
For stovetop cookers:
Turn the burner to high and let the pressure build to 15 PSI. Turn down the burner to
maintain that pressure for 45 minutes. When time is up, quick-release the pressure.
For electric cookers:
Select the high pressure setting and cook for 45 minutes. Quick-release the pressure
when the timer goes off.
When the pressure is fully reduced, carefully open the cooker. Take out the meat with a slotted spoon and plate. Wait a few minutes for the meat to rest before shredding. Put the shredded beef back into the pressure and stir well. If the sauce is too watery for your liking, turn the cooker to “simmer” or on low to reduce. Now is a good time to make the spicy coleslaw.
Slice both green and red cabbage, 2 green onions, and chop up about ¼ cup of cilantro. For the dressing, whisk mayo, hot sauce, and fresh lime juice together. You can use as much hot sauce as you would like, depending on your tastes. Mix the dressing with the cabbage/onion/cilantro, and add a little salt to taste. To assemble your tacos, layer the meat on one side and the coleslaw on the other, and then fold over, so each bite has both the meat and coleslaw. Serve with lime wedges and extra hot sauce.
- 8 small flour tortillas
- 2 pounds of flank steak
- 1 ½ cup salsa verde
- ¾ cup tomato salsa
- 1 big, chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 cups sliced green cabbage
- 2 cups sliced red cabbage
- 2 sliced green onions
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 4 tablespoons mayo
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ½ teaspoon hot sauce
- Salt to taste
- If you’re using a stovetop cooker, heat the olive oil on medium-high. For electric cookers, heat on the “sauté” setting.
- When hot, throw in the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft.
- Trim any excess fat from the flank steak and cut each steak lengthwise, and then crosswise. 4. Add the chili powder and ground cumin to the pressure cooker.
- After a minute, add the steak along with the salsas.
- Close the lid.
- Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes for both stovetop or electric cookers.
- When time is up, quick-release the pressure.
- Take out the meat with a slotted spoon.
- Let the meat rest for a few minutes before shredding.
- Return to the pressure cooker and stir with the sauce.
- To make the coleslaw, whisk the lime juice, hot sauce, and mayo together for the dressing.
- Mix the sliced green and red cabbage with the chopped green onions and cilantro.
- Stir in as much dressing as you would like, and finish off with salt.
- To build your tacos, fill tortillas with the meat on one side, and coleslaw on the other, and fold over.
- Serve with limes and extra hot sauce, like green tabasco.
Nutritional Info (2 tacos per serving):
Pineapple-Mango Dessert Tamales w/ Coconut Sauce
Time: About 35-40 minutes
A tamale is when you steam masa (a starchy dough) in a corn husk, along with other ingredients. Tamales are traditionally savory, but they also make great vehicles for sweet fruits. This recipe uses grilled pineapple and fresh mango, which are steamed in a pressure cooker with a homemade masa dough. I also like to make a sauce and an extra topping. Coconut is a great flavor choice, and more mango is always welcome!
There are four parts to this recipe, which might be intimidating, but if you take it one step at a time, it really isn’t too difficult. It requires basic skills with a mixer, pressure cooker, and saucepan, so there isn’t anything too crazy going on. The first step is to make the masa dough.
Put the shortening in your mixer and beat until it becomes light and a little fluffy. Add the white sugar and beat again for about 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, stir the salt, baking powder, crumbled toasted coconut, and dry masa together. You can buy toasted coconut or toast it yourself, it’s up to you. When the dry ingredients are mixed, add the coconut milk and 4 ounces of young coconut juice. Mix using your fingers. You know you have the right texture when you can make a soft ball of dough that doesn’t stick to your fingers. Keep adding coconut juice to get to that point, but keep in mind you don’t want the dough to be too wet, either.
Lay a cloth over the bowl and let the masa rest for 15 minutes. When time is up, add the masa to the shortening/sugar mixture in fingerfulls and mix with the mixer until it’s all combined. It’s good to get air incorporated into the dough; it makes a lighter masa.
Now, it’s time for the fruit filling. Dry out your pineapple rings with a paper towel and lay them on a hot grill. If you don’t have a grill, you can caramelize the pineapple in a skillet with 1-2 tablespoons of melted butter. On a grill, it will take about 3 minutes per side to brown, while it takes around 4 minutes per side in a skillet. When done, let the fruit cool for a little while, before you chop the rings up into small bits. Mix the bits in a bowl with diced mango, sugar, lime juice, and lime zest.
To make the tamales, take a husk and spoon out 3-4 tablespoons of the masa dough onto the inside of the husk, and mash it down into a rectangular-shape. Your fingers should be wet while you do this, so the dough doesn’t stick. On top of the dough, spoon out 1-2 tablespoons of the pineapple/mango filling. Roll the husk into a tube-shape and tie it shut with a thinner piece of husk. A tamale will look like a tiny present or piece of wrapped candy.
Prep your pressure cooker by pouring in the minimum amount of liquid required, ½ cup or 1 cup of water. Put the tamales in your steamer basket and lower into the cooker. Close and lock the lid. Cook for 8-10 minutes on high pressure (for both electric and stovetop cookers). You can make the coconut sauce and mango coulis while the tamales steam. Get out 2 mangos and 3-4 tablespoons of simple syrup. You can use regular simple syrup, or make a Margarita simple syrup by mixing ¼ cup of blanco tequila and ¼ cup of white sugar in a saucepan, along with half-a-lime’s worth of juice and all the zest. Reduce until syrupy and ⅔ of the original amount are left, and then cool. Mix the diced mangos and syrup in a food processor and blend with a squirt of lime juice.
When smooth, chill the coulis. For the coconut sauce, dissolve 1 ½ teaspoon of cornstarch in 1 cup of coconut milk in a clean saucepan. When smooth, add salt, sugar, and lime juice. Bring the pan to a low simmer while whisking, until the sauce thickens. Remove the saucepan from the burner and add lime zest, spearmint leaves, and white chocolate. Stir until everything is melted, and then cool. To prevent a skin from forming, lay a piece of plastic wrap on the sauce and refrigerate.
When the tamales are done, quick-release the pressure. Don’t open the lid just yet, but wait 5 minutes for the residual heat to finish off the tamales. To serve, start with a layer of coconut sauce, followed by the tamale, and then drizzled with mango coulis.
2 cups masa para tamales
⅔ cups vegetable shortening
½ cup toasted, unsweetened coconut (cooled and crumbled)
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
8-ounces coconut milk (not light)
5-6 ounces of young coconut juice
1 ½ teaspoons coconut extract
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 can pineapple rings in juice
½ cup diced mango
1 tablespoon minced lime zest
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 medium-sized, diced mangos
3-4 tablespoons Margarita Simple Syrup
Lime juice to taste
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
6 big, minced spearmint leaves
1 ½-ounces of white chocolate
Zest of one lime
Pinch of kosher salt
- First, focus on the ingredients in the first list. Using a mixer, beat the shortening until fluffy, and then add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes.
- In another bowl, stir the dry masa, crumbled coconut, baking powder, and salt together.
- Add the coconut milk and about 4 ounces of coconut juice.
- Using your fingers, make a soft dough that doesn’t stick to your fingers when you form a ball.
- Add coconut juice to get the proper texture, without making the dough too wet.
- Let this dough sit for 15 minutes cover by a cloth.
- When ready, add blobs of the masa to the blended shortening until combined.
- For a light masa, mix in as much air as possible.
- Now, turn to the second ingredient list, and dry the pineapple rings with a paper towel.
- Preheat a grill.
- When hot, grill the rings, so each side is browned.
- Cool the grilled fruit, and then dice into small pieces.
- In a bowl, mix the pineapple pieces, mango, lime juice, sugar, and lime zest.
- To fill, spoon 3-4 tablespoons of the masa dough on the smooth inside of the tamale husk at the center, and smoosh into a rectangle with wet fingers.
- Put 1-2 tablespoons of the pineapple/mango filling on top of the masa dough and make a tube with the husk.
- Tie the tamale shut with thin strips of husk, so it looks like a tiny present or piece of wrapped candy.
- Pour the minimum liquid requirement into your pressure cooker.
- Put the tamales in your steamer basket and lower into the pressure cooker.
- Cook for 8-10 minutes on high pressure for both electric or stovetop cookers.
- When time is up, quick-release the pressure, but let the tamales stay in the hot cooker for 5 minutes.
- Now for the coulis and coconut sauce. You can make these while the tamales are in the cooker. To make the coulis, blend mango in a food processor with 2-3 tablespoons of syrup and a squeeze of lime juice.
- When smooth, chill until you’re ready to use it.
- To make the coconut sauce, dissolve the cornstarch in coconut milk in a saucepan.
- Add the sugar and salt, and stir in the lime juice.
- Bring the pan to a simmer, stirring constantly, until it’s thick.
- Take the saucepan off the burner.
- Add the lime zest, spearmint leaves, and white chocolate and let the residual heat of the pan melt everything together.
- Cover with plastic wrap, so the wrap actually touches the sauce, so it doesn’t form a skin.
- Chill until you’re ready to use.
- To plate the tamales, put a generous serving of coconut sauce on a plate, and top with the tamale. Drizzle on the mango coulis and enjoy!
Nutritional Info (⅛ of total tamales w/ sauce and coulis):
My favorite thing about Mexican food and Mexican-inspired food is that there’s always something for every season. Whether it’s a burrito bowl full of refreshing, summer-fresh ingredients or a plate of steaming-hot enchiladas for the cold months, Mexican is always welcome and always convenient.