Barbacoa Salad Bowls (Instant Pot)

Oh my goodness, I love Barbacoa! I make these Paleo, Low Carb and Whole30 Chipotle Copycat Barbacoa Salad Bowls in my Slow Cooker about once a month because they’re just super easy and just so darn good. Don’t worry! But if you’d prefer to use the Pressure Cooker, I included easy instructions for how to cook Barbacoa Beef in the Instant Pot below!

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By now you know I’m obsessed with my Instant Pot, right? I’m kind of in love with it, and I use it to make 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.

Step by Step collage of photos showing how to cook Barbacoa beef in the slow cooker: First, brown the beef, then transfer to the slow cooker. Pour the chipotle, broth, and herb mixture over the beef, cover, and cook. Shred the beef and return to the slow cooker to keep warm. #cookathomemom
How to Cook Barbacoa Beef in the Slow Cooker:
First brown the beef, then transfer to the slow cooker. Pour the chipotle, broth, and herb mixture over the beef, cover, and cook. Shred the beef with two forks and return it to the slow cooker to keep warm until you’re ready to eat!

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.

But 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!

If you still want the chipotle flavor in your meal, dice and saute the peppers and then add them directly to your portion.

Close up shot of the shredded barbacoa beef in the slow cooker.
The barbacoa beef is so unbelievably tender and flavorful!

Eating Out on Whole30

Chipotle (the restaurant) does a great job of providing fresh, real-food, high quality ingredients. And when you eat out, their restaurant is a great Whole30 restaurant choice!

So sure, you could hit up the restaurant, but these homemade Chipotle Copycat Barbacoa bowls are SO MUCH BETTER. Every time I make it, I wonder why I don’t make it more! It’s so good and SO EASY!

What do I serve with Barbacoa Beef?

Trust me, you’re going to love these Whole30 Barbacoa Bowls exactly as they are! But 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!).

You can eat it on lettuce wraps or top sweet potato toasts with the beef, serve it with eggs. Or if you’re weird like me, eat it cold with a fork right out of the container the next day.

Looking for more cooking inspiration for your next fiesta??

Try some of my other easy Whole30 and Paleo recipes!

Pin this Whole30 Barbacoa Recipe for later:

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Now for the fun part — the Barbacoa Salad recipe!

Whole30 Chipotle Barbacoa Bowls. One bowl is on a wooden surface. It's filled with romaine lettuce and topped with shredded barbacoa beef, homemade pico, and cilantro leaves. A few slices of lime and a avocado are beside the salad.
5 from 3 votes

Whole30 Chipotle Barbacoa Salad Bowls

A simple Whole30, Paleo, and Low Carb dinner, made in your slow cooker!

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Beef, Salads, Slow Cooker
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours 10 minutes
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 267 kcal


Barbacoa Beef

  • 1 2 lb chuck roast
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 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⠀


Cook the Barbacoa Beef

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet, and brown the roast on all sides. Note: You can skip this step if you'd like.

  2. Chop the garlic. In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, cumin, oregano, broth, lime juice, 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. Transfer the beef to your slow cooker. Pour the chipotle and broth mixture over roast in slow cooker. 

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

Prep the Veggies

  1. Meanwhile, slice the bell peppers and onions. Using the same skillet you browned the beef in, sauté the vegetables over medium heat in 1 tbsp of oil, for about 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set it aside.

  2. Tear or chop the romaine for salads.

  3. Saute the cauliflower rice in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Shred the Beef

  1. Once it's cooked and very tender, remove the beef from the slow cooker and set it in a large bowl. Using two forks, shred the beef, setting aside any tough fatty pieces.

  2. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker, cover, and set it to "Keep Warm," for at least 15 minutes or until you're ready to eat.

Assemble and Serve

  1. Cut the avocados just before you're ready to eat. Divide the romaine among four bowls. Top each bowl with the beef, cauliflower rice, avocado, pico, cilantro and lime slices.

Recipe Notes

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.

Nutrition Facts
Whole30 Chipotle Barbacoa Salad Bowls
Amount Per Serving
Calories 267 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 726mg32%
Potassium 1220mg35%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 15g63%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 6415IU128%
Vitamin C 138mg167%
Calcium 86mg9%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Simple Whole30 Recipe

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