Cilantro Lime Chicken and Lentil Rice Bowls Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Cilantro Lime Chicken and Lentil Rice Bowls

80 reviews / 4.8 average

15 Minute Meal Prep Cilantro Lime Chicken and Lentils! The BEST easy protein powerhouse meal prep. Just 15 mins of prep and totally hands-off cooking!

I’m baaaaack! with more meal prep!

This time it’s got shredded chicken, lentils, and a dangerous amount of kicky green flavor: jalapenos, green onions, cilantro, limes. The top is begging for a little cotija cheese crumble – and by a little I mean a REAL GOOD CHUNK – and the little extra lime juice shower just before eating is not negotiable. Serve it up with brown rice (look at you, healthy!) and it is a protein powerhouse lunch.

As with all 15 Minute Meal Prep recipes in this series, things are very straightforward and simple.

  • Chicken
  • Lentils
  • Salsa verde
  • Cilantro
  • Lime
  • Jalapeno
  • Garlic
  • …and so on and so forth.
Ingredients for Cilantro Lime Chicken and Lentils.

The only real thing you need to do to prep this recipe is chop the veggies, and then pop it all into the slow cooker or Instant Pot and let the magic happen.

It makes for happy leftovers (which is kind of the whole idea with meal prep, right?) and if you get sick of eating it with rice (or cauli rice for our low-carbers), it can be repurposed in a variety of ways.

Think: tacos, quesadillas, nachos, soups, burritos, and on and on.

Cilantro Lime Chicken and Lentils in meal prep containers.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it. Cilantro Lime Chicken and Lentils for the happy desk lunch win!

15 Minute Meal Prep is the gift that keeps on giving.

Cilantro Lime Chicken and Lentils in a bowl.

Check Out Our Video For How To Make Cilantro Lime Chicken and Lentil Rice Bowls:

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White rice and lentils with shredded chicken, fresh cilantro and quartered lime slices.

Cilantro Lime Chicken and Lentil Rice Bowls

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Chicken and Lentil Bowls! The BEST easy protein powerhouse meal prep. Just 15 mins of prep and totally hands-off cooking!


Units Scale
  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
  • 3 cups salsa verde
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, diced (ribs and seeds removed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 12 limes


  1. Add everything to the Instant Pot except the lime juice.
  2. Cook for 30 minutes on Soup setting. Quick release the steam. Stir it all up and add more salsa verde as desired.
  3. Serve with rice and a squeeze of lime!



Note: Expect about 10-15 mins for the Instant Pot to come to pressure before the cook time starts.

Slow Cooker: Cook for 8 hours on low. The chicken probably only needs 4 hours so add it halfway if you want to be really on top of it and keep your chicken from drying out.

Freezer Meal Version

  1. Freeze Together:
    2 cups dried lentils
    1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
    3 cups salsa verde
    1/2 small onion, chopped
    3 green onions, chopped
    1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 jalapeños, diced (ribs and seeds removed)
    1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
    3 cups chicken broth (can add at cook time)
  2. Instant Pot Instructions: High pressure 25 mins + 10 mins natural release
  3. Slow Cooker Instructions: High setting 6 hours (thaw first)
  4. Final Step: Serve with rice and cilantro.
  5. Check out our full freezer meal posts with all recipes and instructions here!
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Meal Prep
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Mexican-Inspired

Keywords: chicken lentil bowls, lentil rice bowls, rice bowls

Recipe Card powered by Tasty Recipes logo

Note: nutrition label does not include brown rice or cotija cheese.

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One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our flavor-packed jalapeño recipes page. Check it out!

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Recipe rating


  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’m going to do empty stomach cardio this morning “fasted treadmill cardio,” and watching what I eat. I tasted Thai Coconue Chicken yesterday with lime rice and it was out of sight. I never thought of Cilantro Lime Chicken but I might have to think twice about that in the future “if I remember,” and give this amazing looking recipe a try. Thanks for keeping me inspired to get back on track and stay accountable in “Eating RIGHT.” 🙂

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Brittany A Swain

      Gets an A++ from me! So so yummy!
      I did add a 1-1/2 tsp of cumin in with the other ingredients.
      Then topped mine with avocados, sour cream and my favorite hot sauce! Will be making again.

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I have either lentils in a can( I see this recipe calls for dried lentils) or green and yellow split peas? Would the peas be okay? I read they take longer to cook. Or should I add in the lentils in the can at the end when the chicken is finished? Thanks

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Krista @ Pinch of Yum

        I believe that when yellow split peas are cooked down, they take on a mushy texture (think split pea soup). So, texture-wise, the cooked lentils may be a better option for this dish!

    3. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Looks delicious, so you have a recipe
      For the salsa verde or do you purchase pre-made? If so, what brand do you use?

    4. Pinch of Yum Logo

      This recipe is amazing. So easy and flavorful. Great by itself or on rice. We serve with avocado and extra lime. Even my 2 year old loves it.

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    What kind of lentils do you recommend? I currently have black lentils and would love to use these up!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Can red lentils be used for this recipe? Does the chicken remain moist ? 20 min seems like a long time to cook it.

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Krista @ Pinch of Yum

          Hi Angelika! We wouldn’t recommend using red lentils because they tend to break down easily when cooked. Yes, the chicken remains moist.

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Looks great! If I wanted to cut this in half for only 4 servings, do you think I would use the same times indicated for instantpot cooking?

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Hi! Love this recipe! If I used other dry beans would I follow the same cooking instructions? Thanks!!

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Krista @ Pinch of Yum

          Great question, Claudia! We haven’t tested this recipe using other dry beans, so we’re not entirely sure. I’d cook according to the instructions, check the beans, and add on more time if needed. My best guess is that it’ll need a longer cook time, especially if using thicker beans.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Evelyn Jackson

      This was delicious and made lots! Added some feta and diced tomatoes on top afterwards.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This is the first meal I’ve made with my Instant Pot and it’s wonderful comfort food…nourishing, delicious and healthy. Thank you!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Kimberly Accurso

    How about if I’m doubling the recipe…how much longer in the IP, would you think?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I didn’t double the recipe but I did use 2 lb of chicken breast instead of 1 lb. I kept the cooking time the same and it was delicious! I’ll make it again!

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Did you end up doubling it? I’m going to try tomorrow and would appreciate your tips!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Erin Black

    Would love to convert this to a freezer meal for maternity leave. Any idea how long it would take in the instant pot from frozen?

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        We haven’t tested this out from frozen yet, so it’s hard for us to say how it’ll turn out. We’d suggest trying for about 30 minutes in the Instant Pot on high pressure. Let us know how this goes for you! 🙂

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          I took your advice and cooked the frozen chicken (and other ingredients) on high pressure for 30 mins. in the Instant Pot and it was PERFECT. Thanks 🙂

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I just had to double back after accomplishing empty stomach morning cardio today and say that my eating habits have significantly improved. I look at your blogs about all this delicious and healthy food and I’m inspired. I did have sliced fried Eggplant today and ate 2-3 large Avocados. Sliced them open in 1/2 and took a spoon and munched away. I’m feeling so good that I’m losing weight now and starting off 2019 on the RIGHT foot. I’m back on track with my workout and goals! 🙂

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Mckenna Shay Polich

    Is there a way to make this vegan? Maybe with jackfruit and veggie stock?

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hey Lindsay,

    This recipe looks delicious and easy, so I’m definitely going to give it a try. However, I also love vegetarian recipes. Is there going to be a 15-minute meal prep veggie version?

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        i loved this as written, but also would love to know what amount of veggie stock and salsa you’d recommend for a vegan version!

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Krista @ Pinch of Yum

          Great question! We haven’t tested a vegan version of this recipe, but I’d try reducing the broth and salsa each by 1/2 cup. If you give it a try, we’d love to hear back!

          1. Pinch of Yum Logo
            Kelly Spears

            I used the same amount of salsa/stock, omitted the chicken. I added cauliflower and diced potatoes and it was SO GOOD!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi! Wonderful recipe! I’m new to your site and just wondering, can I use my stovetop pressure cooker for this? For how long would you leave it cooking if so?
    Thanks a lot, I’m so excited!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Hi! This recipe looks amazing! I see in a picture what looks like a lot of lime juice yet there is none in the recipe besides a squeeze on top. Do you add any lime to the instant pot?
    Thanks! Can’t wait to make it this week!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Yikes, is there any way to make this clearer on the recipe? The instructions say to add everything to the instant pot, so I did, including the lime juice, and it turned out waaaay too limey. Kinda ruined it for me.

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Krista @ Pinch of Yum

          Sorry about that, Leah! We will definitely get the recipe updated!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    HI! Recipe seems super delish, I cant get the *salsa verde* where I live, is there a récipe for that?

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Jodi Conter

    I just got my Instant Pot and this was the second recipe I made. I used a sprouted lentil trio that was delicious. It is amazing. I looked forward to lunch all morning!

  14. Pinch of Yum Logo

    What size containers do you use to portion it out? And what brand? I’ve been looking for something just like that! Thanks!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Hi there! I was wondering if the chicken can already be thawed or does it need to be frozen!?

        Thank you!!

  15. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was awesome. I didn’t even need or want rice, personally. Will put in my rotation. Thanks!

  16. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks so delicious! I’m looking to shake up my lunch routine with some WW-friendly recipes and this one looks like it may even be zero points (without the rice)!

  17. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I’ll be using my crock pot to make this. Do you add the chicken to the crockpot and then shred it after it’s cooked or cut it into smaller pieces before you add it to the crockpot?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Curious- can this be converted to a slow cooker recipie? I love the instant pot, but would love to leave this on while at work! Thanks!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Krista @ Pinch of Yum

        Hi Lisa! We haven’t tried, but we think the recipe will work out just fine in the slow cooker. If you give it a try, we’d love to hear back!

  18. Pinch of Yum Logo

    You may want to specify mild salsa verde, I made it last night with only 1 jalapeno and a jar of unlabeled salsa verde…wow, it was hot, too hot for my husband to eat. Also, it was kinda mushy, I used red/orange lentils and only 2 cups of salsa. What is the final texture like?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I also used red lentils, as I’ve never really made lentils before and mine also turned out mushy! There were no lentils to be seen in the end.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Sheri Reichert

        I have read before that green or brown lentils retain their shape when cooked but red lentils disintegrate or as you described they turn to mush.

  19. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Made this today and ate it with a baked sweet potato and pickled onions. It was excellent and is going into the rotation.

  20. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Melanie Monroe

    I would’ve never thought of combining lentils and salsa but it works! I made this for lunch this week and then froze the rest. Super delicious as always!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Made this as our first recipe in 2021 and LOVED IT. Quick and easy to make and tasted delicious while being lower in calories. Thanks!!

  21. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks delicious! but I don’t own an instant pot. how would I make it work on the stovetop?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      This dish was good. I was able to cook it on a stove top for about 1.5 hrs and simmered everything. The chicken came out very tender.