These Paleo, Low Carb and Whole30 Chipotle Copycat Barbacoa Salad Bowls are super easy to make and just so darn good. Don’t worry! Make ultra tender, slightly spicy Barbacoa Beef in the slow cooker or Pressure Cooker, whichever you prefer!
🥩 Chipotle Barbacoa Beef
These 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.
You can skip the trip to Chipotle tonight, because this copycat recipe is on the menu!
You can use any kind of roast to make it, but my preference is chuck roast. 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.
Yup, like hanging out with an old friend, there’s nothing better than some quality time with my faithful slow cooker every. I’m totally cool with that, and my IP doesn’t seem too jealous either. I do love the speed of cooking in the Instant Pot (I use it to make Classic Pot Roast, Buffalo Chicken Nachos and much more!), so I included instructions for that, too.
🔪 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. The meat is fall-apart tender, lightly spicy, and absolutely delicious so it goes with just about everything!
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.
I love to serve them with my sugar-free pickled onions, coconut cauliflower rice or Chipotle copycat corn salsa — or I use it to make my Barbacoa and Plantain Sliders (this is an awesome appetizer to serve at parties!).
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.
Looking for more cooking inspiration for your next fiesta?? Try some of my other easy Whole30 and Paleo recipes, like my Chicken Faijta Stuffed Peppers, Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, Mango Guacamole, or Sheet Pan Steak Fajita Lettuce Wraps.
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Chipotle Barbacoa Salad Bowls (Whole30, Low Carb)
- 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⠀
- 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.