These Chipotle Copycat Barbacoa Salad Bowls are super easy to make and just so darn good. Make ultra tender, slightly spicy Barbacoa Beef in the slow cooker or pressure cooker, whichever you prefer!
🥩 Why it Works
These Barbacoa salad bowls are absolutely incredible, the perfect Chipotle copycat recipe (if I do say so myself). It’s super tender, lightly spicy, and the perfect protein for salad bowls, tacos, and quesadillas.
The meat is fall-apart tender, lightly spicy, and absolutely delicious so it goes with just about everything!
It’s cooked with a mixture of chipotles, beef broth, spices, and lime juice until it becomes fall apart tender. And as it simmers away, your house smells SO GOOD.
This recipe is Paleo and Whole30 compatible, and you can make it in the Slow Cooker or Intant Pot, whichever you prefer!
- Chuck roast
- Oil, for browning the roast.
- Beef broth or vegetable broth
- Chipotle peppers. I use canned chipotles in adobo if I can find a compatible brand, otherwise fresh diced peppers work great!
- Seasonings: Cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper.
👉 Best cut of beef for making barbacoa: You can use any kind of roast to make it, but my preference is chuck roast. I get mine from Porter Road.
🔪 Step by Step Instructions
Slow Cooker Instructions
- First, brown the beef in a large skillet.
- Transfer the roast to the slow cooker.
- Make the chipotle, broth, and herb mixture and pour it over the beef.
- Cover and cook.
- Shred the beef with two forks in a large bowl.
- Return the shredded beef to the slow cooker to keep warm until you’re ready to eat!
Instant Pot Instructions
- Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode 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 15 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, then keep warm until you’re ready to serve it.
ℹ️ Recipe FAQ
Barbacoa beef is not especially spicy, but it has just enough heat that small children probably won’t enjoy it. I used to be afraid to cook anything even remotely spicy for my family. I hated the thought of my kids 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, omit the chipotles. If you leave them off, the flavor is unbelievably mild. Even my baby will eat it! I still want the chipotle flavor in my meal, so I dice and saute the peppers and then add them directly to my portion.
Trust me, you’re going to love the beef so much you might just eat it with a fork right out of the slow cooker! But once you make it, the possibilities are basically endless.
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.
➡️ Mango Guacamole
➡️ Pickled onions
➡️ Coconut cauliflower rice
➡️ Jasmine rice
➡️ Corn salsa
➡️ Tortilla chips
Or I use it to make my Barbacoa and Plantain Sliders!
Absolutely! Simply shred the beef and allow it to cool completely. Add the beef, along with about 1-2 cups of the cooking liquid to a large zip lock bag or airtight container, squeezing out as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 4 months.
Transfer leftovers to an airtight container or bag. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, per USDA.
More Healthy & Easy Recipes
If you like this recipe, check out more of my favorite Whole30 slow cooker recipes, or any of these:
Do you like this recipe? Please leave a star rating below!
Chipotle Barbacoa Salad Bowls (Whole30, Low Carb)
- 1 2 lb chuck roast
- 1 Tablespoon oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced⠀
- 1 Tablespoon cumin⠀
- 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano⠀
- 1 cup beef broth⠀
- 1 lime⠀ juiced
- 2-3 Tablespoon diced chipotle peppers depending on your desired spice level ⠀
- 1/2 teaspoons salt⠀
- 1/4 teaspoons black pepper⠀
- 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
- Heat the oil in a large skillet, and brown the roast on all sides. Note: You can skip this step if you'd like.
- 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!).
- Transfer the beef to your slow cooker. Pour the chipotle and broth mixture over roast in slow cooker.
- Cover the slow cooker and set it to low. Cook for 6-7 hours, until the beef is fall-apart tender.
Prep the Veggies
- 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.
- Tear or chop the romaine for salads.
- Saute the cauliflower rice in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
Shred the Beef
- 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.
- 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
- 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.