Whole30 Barbacoa Salad Bowls (Chipotle Copycat)

I make these Whole30 Barbacoa Salad Bowls in my Slow Cooker about once a month, and every time I do, I wonder why I don’t make them more! They’re so good! But if you’d prefer to use the Instant Pot, don’t worry, there’s an easy Instant Pot adaptation below!

By now you know I’m obsessed with my Instant Pot, right? I’m kind of in love with it. I use it to make the best Classic Pot Roast, Buffalo Chicken Nachos and much more… but like hanging out with an old friend, there’s nothing better than some quality time with my faithful slow cooker every now and then. I’m totally cool with that, and my IP doesn’t seem too jealous either.

Making Whole30 Barbacoa Salad KID-friendly:

I used to be afraid to cook anything remotely spicy for my kids. I hated the thought of them spitting out good food, and I hated the thought of cooking a separate meal for them even more. Eventually I figured out something pretty obvious – that when I make things like this, I can just leave off the spicy ingredients until I’ve plated everything, then add it on the grown up plates only (you can read more of my tips for picky eaters that I learned through YEARS of trial and error). In this case, the ingredient I leave out is the chipotles. If you leave them off, the flavor is unbelievably mild. Even the baby will eat it!

Barbacoa Variations:

Trust me, you’re going to love these Copycat Whole30 Barbacoa Bowls! Once you make it, the possibilities are endless. The meat is fall-apart tender, lightly spicy, and absolutely delicious. I love to serve them with my sugar-free pickled onions, or use it to make my Barbacoa and Plantain Sliders (this is an awesome appetizer to serve at parties!).

Looking for more recipe inspiration for your next fiesta??

Try some of my other easy Whole30 and Paleo recipes, like Chicken Faijta Stuffed Peppers or my Sheet Pan Steak Fajita Lettuce Wraps.

Now for the fun part – the Barbacoa Salad recipe!

Whole30 Chipotle Barbacoa Salad Bowls

Whole30, Paleo, Low Carb

Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican


Barbacoa Beef

  • 1 2 lb chuck roast
  • 2 cloves garlic minced⠀
  • 1 tbsp. cumin⠀
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano⠀
  • 1 cup beef broth⠀
  • 1 lime⠀ juiced
  • 2-3 tbsp. diced chipotle peppers depending on your desired spice level ⠀
  • 1/2 tsp. salt⠀
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper⠀

Salad Bowls⠀

  • 4-8 cups romaine lettuce⠀
  • 2 bell peppers sliced thin⠀
  • 2 cups cauliflower rice
  • 2 avocados sliced⠀
  • 1 cup fresh pico de gallo or salsa of your choosing⠀
  • 15-20 cilantro leaves⠀
  • 1 lime sliced⠀


Barbacoa Beef

  1. Place roast in slow cooker (I prefer to brown it on all sides in a large pan first, but a lot of people skip this step and its just fine!).

  2. Mix together garlic, cumin, oregano, broth, lime, salt and pepper. Add in 2 to 3 tbsp. of diced chipotle peppers (or substitute 2 tbsp. chipotle in adobo, but check the label!).

  3. Pour the mixture over roast in slow cooker. 

  4. Cover and set to low. Cook for 6-7 hours, until the beef is fall-apart tender. 

  5. Remove the beef from the slow cooker and shred in a bowl with two forks. Set aside any tough fatty pieces and return the shredded meat to the slow cooker

  6. Allow to cook together for an additional 15 minutes.⠀

Assemble the Salads

  1. Sauté the sliced bell peppers and onion over medium heat in 1 tbsp of oil until softened.⠀

  2. Tear or slice the romaine for salads.⠀

  3. Divide the romaine among four bowls. Top each bowl with the beef, cauliflower rice, avocado, pico, cilantro and lime slices.

Instant Pot Adaptation: Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode, heat about 3 tbsp of oil, and brown the roast for about 2-3 minutes per side. Add in all the other ingredients and set to High Pressure for 70 minutes. Allow a Natural Pressure Release (NR) for at least 10 minutes. Pull the meat apart with two forks, setting aside any fatty bits. Set the Pot to Saute mode and simmer everything together for about 3-4 minutes.

Simple Whole30 Recipe

And you’ve got to try my Loaded Taco Sweet Potato Wedges!! Oh my, they’re good!