One pan Mexican Quinoa is filled with beans, corn, tomatoes, quinoa and your favorite spices to provide a delicious, easy and filling meal. We love to top ours with easy Pico de Gallo too.

You can serve it solo or with a side of dinner rolls, oven roasted broccoli, parsley potatoes, sweet boiled corn, or Mexican street corn casserole.

Mexican Quinoa in a black skillet topped with melted cheese and chopped cilantro.

Mexican Quinoa Recipe

This is a great meatless Monday dinner idea. And the beautiful thing about it is the dish is still packed with protein!

I was so excited about how this recipe turned out that I called my sister and told her to make it as soon as she could. She texted me a picture of the dish that night and agreed with me that it’s super easy to make and so ridiculously good. My husband isn’t a big quinoa fan, but he gave this recipe a 5-star review!

Ingredients

  • Olive oil — To cook the garlic.
  • Garlic, minced — We cook the garlic just a bit prior to adding the remaining ingredients to give a little extra flavor.
  • Jalapeno, minced — You can cut back on this, remove it, or add more depending on your spice tolerance. However, if you devein and deseed it, there really won’t be that much spice added to it. I kept the seeds in and it wasn’t that spicy. 
  • Quinoa — Rinsed. I use a fine mesh strainer.
  • Water — You can also use vegetable stock, too for added flavor.
  • Black beans
  • Fire roasted diced tomatoes — Use regular diced tomatoes if you don’t have the fire roasted kind.
  • Corn kernels, frozen — If you use canned corn, make sure you drain the water out.
  • Chili powder — If you’re worried about spice, don’t worry about chili powder! Chili powder has a sweet flavor, not a spicy one.
  • Ground cumin — This is the building block spice for taco seasoning. 
  • Salt & pepper
  • Lime juice — Some will be added to the dish, and then I like to have a few lime wedges on the table for people to add a bit more if they’d like. I definitely recommend the lime juice! It’s so much better with it. 
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded — Monterey jack is another good cheese option here. Or a general Mexican cheese blend.

Toppings for Serving

  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream
A skillet full of Mexican quinoa topped with cheese , cilantro, sliced avocados and sour cream.

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Cook the garlic.
    In a large skillet set over medium heat add the olive oil, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 
  2. Add all ingredients except for garnishes.
    Stir in the quinoa, water, black beans, full can of tomatoes, corn, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. 
A skillet on a white background, full of uncooked quinoa, black beans, canned diced tomatoes, frozen corn kernels, and water.
  1. Cook the quinoa.
    Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until the quinoa is fully cooked. 
  2. Serve warm.
    Uncover and stir in the lime juice. Top with shredded cheese, cover for a few minutes to allow the cheese to melt. Top with cilantro and serve with the diced avocado and sour cream for topping. 
Overhead photo of a black skillet full of ingredients used to make Mexican quinoa.

Recipe Tips

Can also serve with shredded lettuce, easy Pico de Gallo, and tortilla chips. 

I used a white quinoa, but red works too.

If you want a zero spice omit the jalapeno. Chili powder isn’t a spicy flavor but a sweet flavor, so don’t worry about that. 

Serve with slow cooker refried beans and chips as a side.

Variations

Make this into a Mexican quinoa salad by washing and cutting lettuce, then add some of the quinoa mixture and the garnishes on top.

Turn it into a Mexican quinoa burrito or quesadilla by adding the filling and cheese in a tortilla. For the quesadilla, flatten the tortilla and cook for a few minutes in a clean skillet on either side to make it crispy. Add the garnishes on top. For the burrito, fill the tortilla with the filling + all the toppings, roll and enjoy!

Give it a Mexican breakfast spin by adding a fried egg on top!

Swap out the black beans for your favorite type of bean: Pinto, lentils, kidney, etc.

If you don’t have limes on hand, lemons work well, too.

Swap out the cheddar cheese for monterey jack or a Mexican blend cheese.

Storing

Store the quinoa in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Warm the dish with a bit of water in a microwave safe bowl or on medium low heat in a skillet.

Store the garnishes in separate containers in the fridge.

Store any leftover avocado in a container with the big avocado pit. This will make it so it doesn’t brown as much. 

Freezing Instructions

You can freeze this dish! Freeze the Mexican quinoa without the garnishes (cheese, sour cream avocado and cilantro). Store in a ziplock bag in the freezer for 2-3 months. Let the dish thaw at room temperature and then warm prior to serving. Warm the dish with a bit of water in a skillet over medium low heat or in a microwave safe bowl (again, with a bit of water). The water makes it so it doesn’t dry out.

Cooked Mexican quinoa loaded with black beans, tomatoes, and corn, in a black skillet against a white background.

FAQs 

How do I know when the quinoa is done?

When quinoa is cooked, the grain will look like it has been opened, exposing a soft inside.

Is quinoa gluten free?

Yes.

Is quinoa healthy?

Completely! Quinoa is one of the healthiest foods out there. It’s high in fiber, antioxidants and has all nine essential amino acids. Read more about the health benefits of quinoa here.

Close up photo of a serving spoon scooping up Mexican quinoa that is loaded with black beans, tomatoes, cheese, cilantro, and corn.

Other Mexican-Style and Quinoa Recipes

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Click here to leave a rating and review.

Close up photo of a serving spoon scooping up Mexican quinoa that is loaded with black beans, tomatoes, cheese, cilantro, and corn.
Print Review
5 from 2 votes

Mexican Quinoa

Mexican quinoa is made in one pan and is cooked and ready to eat in just 30 minutes! This delicious quinoa recipe is loaded with black beans, fire roasted tomatoes, jalapenos, corn, cheese, and cilantro.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic - minced, about 2-3 cloves
  • 1 jalapeno - minced (can remove seeds if you want NO spice at all)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 15 oz can black beans - drained and rinsed
  • 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup corn kernels - frozen
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese - shredded
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro - chopped
  • 1 avocado - diced, for serving
  • sour cream - for serving

Instructions
 

  • In a large skillet set over medium heat add the olive oil, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. 
  • Stir in the quinoa, vegetable broth, black beans, full can of tomatoes, corn, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until the quinoa is fully cooked.  When quinoa is cooked, the grain will look like it has been opened, exposing a soft inside.
  • Uncover and stir in the lime juice. Top with shredded cheese, cover again for 2-3 minutes or until cheese has melted. Top with cilantro and serve with the diced avocado and sour cream for topping. 

Notes

Can also serve with shredded lettuce and tortilla chips.
Variations: Make this into a Mexican quinoa salad by washing and cutting lettuce, then add some of the quinoa mixture and the garnishes on top.
Turn it into a Mexican quinoa burrito or quesadilla by adding the filling and cheese in a tortilla. For the quesadilla, flatten the tortilla and cook for a few minutes in a clean skillet on either side to make it crispy. Add the garnishes on top. For the burrito, fill the tortilla with the filling + all the toppings, roll and enjoy!
Swap out the black beans for your favorite type of bean: Pinto, lentils, kidney, etc.
If you don’t have limes on hand, lemons work well, too.
Swap out the cheddar cheese for monterey jack or a Mexican blend cheese.
Storing: Store the quinoa in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Warm the dish with a bit of water in a microwave safe bowl or on medium low heat in a skillet.
Store the garnishes in separate containers in the fridge.
Freezing: You can freeze this dish! Freeze the Mexican quinoa without the garnishes (cheese, sour cream avocado and cilantro). Store in a ziplock bag in the freezer for 2-3 months. Let the dish thaw at room temperature and then warm prior to serving. Warm the dish with a bit of water in a skillet over medium low heat or in a microwave safe bowl (again, with a bit of water). The water makes it so it doesn’t dry out. 
 

Nutrition

Calories: 360kcal (18%)Carbohydrates: 42g (14%)Protein: 15g (30%)Fat: 16g (25%)Saturated Fat: 5g (25%)Cholesterol: 20mg (7%)Sodium: 751mg (31%)Potassium: 617mg (18%)Fiber: 10g (40%)Sugar: 3g (3%)Vitamin A: 667IU (13%)Vitamin C: 10mg (12%)Calcium: 205mg (21%)Iron: 4mg (22%)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
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