Meal prep can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be! Instant Pot to the rescue!
I’ve been experimenting with cooking spaghetti squash in the Instant Pot. It is admittedly a bit of a different texture than when baked in the oven as it is cooked with moisture in the Instant Pot rather than dry heat. But, it gets done SO much faster and I like that. I love how spaghetti squash is so porous and takes on flavors so easily. I recently had a meal from my favorite meal service, Paleo Works, that combined spaghetti squash, chicken and tomato bruschetta. I decided to try to do a quick copycat recipe using my Instant Pot. While mine is admittedly a hack in comparison to that chef’s creation, I think I threw together a tasty meal. You can certainly make your own homemade bruschetta, but I use a jarred grocery store kind in this recipe in order to save time.
I also have been exploring warm potato salads. Have you ever had a Hot German Potato Salad where the potatoes are slightly over cooked and starting to fall apart? The potatoes begin to fall apart as you stir in the dressing and it creates a thick sauce. It is so good! It occurred to me that I could create an Italian version of Hot Potato Salad using jarred basil pesto and red potatoes. I also threw in some green beans for a veggie kick, and chicken for added protein. Best of all, I could cook it all in the Instant Pot at once!
I made four of each of these meals for a total of EIGHT meals all at the same time in roughly 45 minutes. While the squash was cooking, I prepped the chicken, green beans, and potatoes. When the squash finished, I removed it and washed my pot. I then added the chicken, potatoes and green beans to the pot to cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. I scraped out the spaghetti squash and mixed in some tomato bruschetta. I portioned it out in four containers. When the pot timer went off, I released the steam and removed half of the chicken and evenly distributed over each of the servings of squash. I added a heaping spoonful of bruschetta on top of the chicken, and BAM! Four meals were done. Next I scooped out the potato mixture and put it in a bowl. I thinned out some jarred basil pesto with olive oil and then gently tossed the potato mixture with the pesto until it was coated evenly. I divided it into four servings, and BAM! Four more meals done!
A couple notes: I tried the hot potato salad using frozen chicken. I cooked it for 13 minutes. It was good, but the potatoes were extremely soft. I think if you are using frozen chicken, then you should cook the potatoes and green beans separately for 8 minutes. Cook the frozen chicken for 13 minutes. Then, combine. Also, if you don’t like basil pesto, just use melted butter instead. I also made this with cilantro pesto and it was delicious!
This prep is easy, quick, AND healthy. Get yourself an Instant Pot and give it a try!
Interested in the mesh steamer basket shown in my instruction video! Grab it here! Or, try this one that was just released on Amazon!
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- 1 3 lb (approx) Spaghetti Squash Make sure it will fit in your Instant Pot!
- 1 cup Water
- 5 Red Potatoes medium, cubed
- 2 cup Green Beans fresh, chopped
- 2 lb Chicken Tenderloin fresh, cubed
- 1 cup Chicken broth
- Salt and Pepper Season as desired
- 1 TBSP Italian seasoning
- 12 oz Tomato Bruschetta jar
- 2 TBSP Basil Pesto jar
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- Shredded Parmesan Cheese, Walnuts or Pine Nuts For garnish, if desired.
- Slice spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise. Spoon out seeds and strings. Place halves in steamer basket and into liner pot. Add one cup water.
- Set pot to manual high pressure for 4 minutes and allow 5 min natural release. If you like firmer strands of spaghetti squash, you may opt to do 3 minutes instead.
- While squash is cooking, cube red potatoes. Trim ends from fresh green beans and cut into thirds. Cube raw chicken and season with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. You may choose to add additional seasonings of your choice. I typically add a garlic seasoning from Sprouts that I like.
- When Instant Pot timer goes off and steam has released for five minutes, turn the valve to release remaining steam. Use an oven mit to remove squash from pot. Allow to cool.
- Wash your liner pot.
- Add potatoes, green beans and chicken (in that order) into pot. Add one cup broth.
- Replace lid on pot, turn valve to sealing, and reset to 8 minutes high pressure.
- While the chicken and potatoes are cooking, use a fork to scrape spaghetti squash out of its skin. Transfer strands to a large bowl.
- Stir in 6 oz (half the jar) of Tomato Bruschetta. Portion out squash into four meal prep containers.
- When timer goes off in Instant Pot, use a quick release for the steam.
- Use a large spoon to scoop out half of the chicken chunks and evenly portion in each container on top of the squash.
- Spoon remaining Tomato Bruschetta evenly across all four containers over the chicken chunks.
- Garnish with shredded parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Carefully use a slotted spoon to scoop the remaining chicken, potatoes, and green beans out of the pot. Potatoes will be very soft so handle with care. Discard broth that remains in the pot.
- Combine pesto and olive oil in a small bowl to thin it out a bit.
- Spread pesto over chicken and potato mixture, and carefully toss to coat evenly.
- Distribute to four meal prep containers.
- Garnish with shredded parmesan cheese and walnuts or pine nuts, if desired.