Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

Now that I finally bit the bullet and bought an Instant Pot (albeit I got it for half price on Facebook marketplace), I truly can’t believe I lived without one. It’s not that it can do anything magical that I can’t do in a pot on the stove, it’s just the fact that it goes so. much. faster. What would normally take over 2 hours takes like…. 15 minutes?!

I will admit I was extremely nervous to use this. Something about the pressure had me totally wigged out, like I’d open the lid and pork would shoot across my kitchen. Let me state this disclaimer: as long as you allow for 10 minutes of natural release (or longer, if you’re doing something else), you will be completely fine to let the remaining pressure release via the quick release function. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, continue reading this recipe, which will explain everything.

These Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls are loaded with bright flavor from the lemongrass and fresh veggies. They are customizable based on the vegetables you have on hand and it’s easy to swap out the brown rice base for whatever base you want. If I can give you one tip, it would be to absolutely make the easy pickled red onions. They totally make this dish in my opinion, and they only require a little bit of forethought and prep work to have homemade pickled red onions for days.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and I look forward to sharing more Instant Pot recipes with you all in the future!

Ingredients needed to make Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

These bowls are made using lots of fresh ingredients, which is one of the reasons I love them. The recipe includes amounts for 4 servings, so this is great for a small family or to have prepped leftovers for later in the week. You can always halve the amounts listed in the recipe if you only want 2 servings! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Brown rice
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Fresh garlic
  • Lemongrass paste
  • Shredded carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Pickled red onion
    • Red onion
    • Red wine vinegar
    • Sugar
    • Salt
  • Jalapeno
  • Cilantro
  • Sesame Chili Vinaigrette

Tools used to make Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

As the title of the recipe suggests, you need an Instant Pot to make this recipe in the time specified. If you don’t mind spending a little extra time, you could also do the pork in the oven roasted low and slow to get it to the perfect shredded consistency. I’d highly recommend the IP version, however, to make this a quick weeknight meal. Other than the Instant Pot, you’ll need a large cutting board, sharp chef’s knife, small saucepan, mixing bowl, measuring cups and spoons, and a whisk.

How to make Instant Pot Lemongrass Pork Bowls

The majority of the work for these bowls happens behind the scenes in the Instant Pot, which is great. To start, you’ll want to make your pickled red onions so they have time to cure while the rest of the meal cooks. Bring the vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil and stir until everything has dissolved. Pour over the sliced red onions in a glass jar or tupperware container, and set aside.

Next, sear the pork on all sides using the sauté feature on the IP. You may need to work in batches to avoid crowding, then you’ll transfer the seared pork back into the pot along with the garlic, lemongrass paste, water, and a little salt and pepper. Set it to manual high pressure, then set the timer for 32 minutes. Keep in mind the whole thing will take longer than 32 minutes, as the pot needs time to pressurize as well as time to naturally release after cooking. Total time in the pot is about 50-60 minutes.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can easily make the pork in the oven. Simply follow the steps above to sear the pork, then roast in a Dutch oven (or similar oven-safe pot with a tight-fitting lid) at 350 for 1-2 hours, until the pork shreds very easily.

While the pork cooks, you’ll thinly slice all of the vegetables and cook the rice (if not cooked ahead of time). You can also make the dressing- simply combine all the ingredients and whisk until mixed. Once the pork is finished, shred it using two forks and toss it back in with the juices, then assemble. Layer the rice, shredded pork, sliced veggies, and fresh cilantro, if using, then drizzle all over with the sesame chili vinaigrette. Easy as that!

Looking for other easy weeknight bowls?

Try these other recipes from The Ardent Cook!

Curried Pumpkin Chickpeas with Cucumber Raita

Harvest Steak and Goat Cheese Bowls

Ponzu Greens and Grains Bowl

Recipe Ingredients

2 cups brown rice or quinoa, cooked

2 pork tenderloins, about 2-2.5lbs total

½ cup water 

4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup lemongrass paste

1 cup shredded carrots 

1 cup thinly sliced cucumber

½ cup pickled red onion

  • one medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt

1 jalapeno, seeded and thinly sliced

½ cup cilantro, finely chopped, packed 

½ cup sesame chili vinaigrette

  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp sesame seeds
  • ¼ tsp toasted sesame oil
  • ¾ tsp chili garlic sauce (or sriracha)
  • ¼ tsp salt

Recipe Instructions

  1. Make the pickled red onions. Thinly slice onion and add to a large pickle jar or heat-safe container. Bring the vinegar, salt, and sugar to a boil, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Let cool for 3 minutes, then pour over the onions to cover. Set aside.
  2. Cut the two tenderloins into 2-3 equal pieces and season on all sides with salt. Turn instant pot to the normal sauté function and sear pork. You may need to work in batches. 
  3. Once seared, transfer the pork to a plate and add the lemongrass and smashed garlic. Stir for 30 seconds or so, until very fragrant, then add water to deglaze the pot. Add the pork back in and set to manual high pressure, then set the timer for 32 minutes. Allow for natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then quick release to completely depressurize the instant pot.
  4. Shred the pork using two forks, then return it to soak in its juices. Assemble the bowls by dividing the ingredients amongst four servings. I like to have a bowl each for dinner, then have two leftover for our lunches the next day. Layer the rice, shredded pork, sliced veggies, pickled red onions, and cilantro (if using). Drizzle all over with the sesame chili vinaigrette and enjoy!

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