Mexican Quinoa


Quinoa is something that I’m not too familiar with. I had cooked it a few times before making this recipe and I was pretty disappointed in it. I don’t think I even rinsed it properly. Then I found a box of pre-rinsed quinoa at the grocery store, and I was so excited. I knew it would be a game changer, and it was. It was so simple – as easy to prepare as rice – but much more nutritional. (Of course, you can still make this with quinoa that you rinse yourself.)


Pair that with some Mexican mix-ins and you have a healthy, meatless meal. Or you can serve this as a side dish with your favorite fajitas recipe.


Top with sour cream, cheddar cheese and some extra cilantro for an pop of flavor.

4.8 from 5 reviews
Mexican Quinoa
Serves: 8
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1¼ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked, pre-rinsed quinoa
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 15.5-ounce can black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1½ cups frozen corn kernels
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
For topping:
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
  • Low-fat sour cream
  1. In large saucepan, heat the olive oil to medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic and sautƩ until fragrant - about 30 seconds.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (minus the cilantro and the toppings) and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes.
  5. Stir in cilantro just before serving.
  6. Serve with toppings.

Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats.


  1. says

    This looks amazing and your blog is gorgeous – I love it!

    • Cristina replied: — January 9th, 2014 @ 6:28 pm

      I just made this! BUT, as I was pouring in the rotel. ..I realized that oops…thats not rotel, I accidentally poured in enchilada sauce!! Hope its good! šŸ˜‰

      • Melissa Belanger replied: — January 10th, 2014 @ 12:06 am

        Interesting. I would love to know how it turns out. Let me know if you liked it! Maybe it was a good mistake :)

        • Cristina replied: — January 10th, 2014 @ 10:50 am

          It turned out fantastic! I ended adding the Rotel also. I loved it!! Will definitely make again and again! :)

          • Melissa Belanger replied: — January 10th, 2014 @ 11:20 am

            Awesome. Maybe I’ll accidentally throw some enchilada sauce in there next time I make it :)

    • stella feeney replied: — March 23rd, 2014 @ 10:18 pm

      This recipe was so good. My husband really loved it too. I will make again for sure. I recommend to give this one a try

  2. Debie says

    This looks delicious! One helpful hint that I found on pinterest! is to rinse the quinoa 3 times!! I mentioned this to a friend and the last time I saw her, she said she always thinks of me when she makes quinoa because it tasted so much better after rinsing it 3 times;-D Thanks for sharing your recipes!

    • Karen replied: — April 8th, 2014 @ 10:03 am

      You can buy frozen quinoa at Trader Joe’s that can just be microwaved :) It’s super yummy. I could never get the rinsing right and my quinoa was always bitter.

      • Melissa Belanger replied: — April 8th, 2014 @ 10:06 am

        That’s a great tip! Thanks :)

  3. says

    Hi Melissa! I made this recipe tonight, using ingredients I had at home. I skipped the oil, garlic and cilantro and used a 10oz can of Ro-tel. It was really easy, and delicious even with the changes. We’ll definitely be making it again! :)

    • Melissa Belanger replied: — November 12th, 2013 @ 10:24 pm

      I’m happy to hear that the recipe is easily adapted to suit different tastes (or what’s in the fridge)! I’m so glad you liked it. :)

  4. Brook says

    Just made this and I was surprised how good it came out! I have been looking for a good Quinoa recipe, tried a few that didnt come out very good. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Melissa Belanger replied: — November 19th, 2013 @ 1:43 am

      I’m happy to hear that you liked it. Thanks for taking the time to write such nice words! :)

  5. says

    I made this with a can of Green Chili enchilada sauce instead of tomatoes and green chilis, and no cilantro (didn’t have any) and it was yummy! I added 1/2 cup of mild salsa. My entire family loved it. Thanks for a great recipe!

    • Melissa Belanger replied: — December 16th, 2013 @ 6:45 am

      Awesome. Thanks for sharing your substitutions! It’s so nice to see how others make a recipe their own. Glad you liked it :)

  6. says

    Very good! I just used about 1 c of diced organic tomatoes from a jar so I needed to compensate and add more garlic and more salt. Oh, and I added chunked avocado to the bowl! But it got rave reviews from my kids. Love that!!!

  7. Michelle says

    I just made this! I left out the cheese and corn It was abdolutely delicious!I did all avocado with frest cilantro at the end. Ive posted a picture of it on my fb and ranted and waved to my friends! Thank you!!

  8. Lonnie says

    This was sooooo good! The last time that I made quinoa, it was horrible. I came across this recipe, and thought that I’d give it another shot. This did not disappoint. It will make for a good Lenten meal. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Misty says

    So glad I found you! Its hard to find a blog with yummy and healthy dinners! Thank you!

    • Melissa Belanger replied: — January 28th, 2014 @ 11:29 pm

      Thanks so much! That’s so nice to hear. I promise I will keep the healthy recipes coming.

  10. Pita says

    This was so delicious! Thanks so much for sharing! I will definitely be making on a regular basis. I did add extra cumin and a diced jalapeƱo pepper. So good!

    • Christi replied: — March 12th, 2014 @ 3:55 pm

      I made this a couple weeks ago and loved it! Thinking of trying in the crockpot…anyone tried that?

  11. Tom says

    This recipe sounds great but I would be interested in seeing the nutritional information especially the sodium levels. Just reviewing the ingredients it looks like it would be very high.

  12. Wendy says

    I made this last night and it was absolutely amazaing. I used fresh tomatoes and japapeƱo peppers instead of Rotel and I added some oregano and a Tbs of lime juice at the end. I topped it with cubes avocado. It was divine (and I’m not even a quinoa person). Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  13. Mark says

    This looks delicious, but I wish people would stop calling dishes with black beans “Mexican.” My wife is Mexican and she corrects anyone who calls a dish with black beans Mexican food. Black beans are a staple in Latin American cuisine such as South American, Puerto Rican, and Cuban food. Pinto beans, not black beans, are the staple of Mexican cooking.

    • Melissa Belanger replied: — May 16th, 2014 @ 12:15 am

      I’m so sorry. I really wasn’t intending to upset anyone. I had no idea. I really considered it Mexican because of the cumin, cilantro, etc. Not just the beans, but pinto beans would be really great in this too. Maybe I could update the ingredients to include pinto beans as an alternative to the black beans :)

  14. Chelsea says

    This is a favorite with my husband and I! It’s so yummy, and makes enough for lunch the next day! I used to make something similar with white rice. I love that this recipe has quinoa- much better for you!

  15. FaithinFL says

    This is a a quick, easy, healthful meal that my husband and I really enjoyed last night. To make it even easier for me, I utilized my rice cooker for this quinoa dish. I sauteed the garlic in a small pan, then added it with the other ingredients (except for the toppings) into my rice cooker, put the lid on, flipped the switch to “cook” and in about 40 minutes our dinner was ready to eat. Thanks for a great recipe that I will be using again and again!

    • Melissa Belanger replied: — May 26th, 2014 @ 10:42 am

      Awesome tip Faith! I bet it was so easy to just stick it in the machine and just wait for it to be done. I think I’ll give it a try next time I make this :)

  16. says

    My ten year old granddaughter is allergic to gluten so it’s hard to find things she can eat. She loved this recipe and says quinoa is now her favorite thing to eat.

  17. Robin A says

    This recipe does not state that you should cover while it is simmering. If you go to the other site where this was adapted from you will see that you need to cover until almost all liquid is absorbed. I have crunchy quinoa :-( such a waste of money. Lesson learned.

    • Melissa Belanger replied: — August 15th, 2014 @ 8:33 am

      I’m so sorry the recipe didn’t turn out! I am going to amend the recipe to include specific instructions to cover. It was just an oversight on my part. I really hope you try it again sometime with the pot covered. I promise it’s worth it!

  18. Kelly says

    Just made this and it was wonderful! I just moved and didn’t have all of the ingredients so I substituted fresh tomatoes and a bell pepper for the canned diced tomatoes. I have struggled with properly cooking quinoa and almost gave up until I stumbled upon this on Pinterest last night and had to try it for lunch. Thanks for the help!

    • Melissa Belanger replied: — September 1st, 2014 @ 5:27 pm

      That’s so great Kelly! I’m really glad that the recipe worked for you even with your substitutions. I guess you’ll have to keep cooking quinoa now :)

  19. Ashley says

    This recipe was delcious! I added some red pepper flakes (a pinch) and some cayene pepper(1/4 tsp) to give it a little bit more of a spicy flavour, and it turned out awesome. Dad even ate it and hes no a quiona lover! 2 thumbs up! Thanks for the recipe!!

  20. Tamara Sanders says

    How much would a serving be? Looks yummy, I want to try this out next week.

    • Melissa Belanger replied: — February 6th, 2015 @ 4:44 am

      That really depends on how you serve it. If you’re serving it as a side dish, I’d say about 1 cup. But, if you’d like to serve it as a main dish, I would say closer to 2.


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