A confetti of colorful veggies, hearty black beans, and whole grain quinoa, with zesty Tex-Mex spices and a zing of lime, this 30-minute Mexican Quinoa takes the odds and ends in your pantry and turns them into a one-pan vegetarian feast!
With the exception of a bell pepper (which you can add one, two, or none of), this easy recipe is made nearly entirely of pantry staples.
If the word “pantry staples” makes you quiver by this point, please stay with me.
This recipe is going to taste fresh and lively and not at all like you made it by doing a deep dive into your cabinet, grabbing cans of this and that, stirring them together, and praying for the best (even though shhhh that is exactly what we are going to do, and it’s going to be FANTASTIC).
As written, this recipe is vegan, and if you choose to leave it as such, it will be plenty satisfying (just like these addictive Tempeh Tacos). You could pile it into a bowl with avocado for a filling Mexican quinoa bowl.
Or you could eat it the way we do—topped off with a generous handful of cheese and a crispy fried egg for a yummy Mexican quinoa breakfast bowl that I am equally likely to eat for easy lunches and dinners.
I have even more serving ideas for this quick, versatile, and healthy recipe for you below too!
This zesty Mexican quinoa skillet takes about 30 minutes to make. Don’t be surprised when you come back to it over and over, until you’ve tried all the variations.
How to Make Mexican Quinoa
A bag of grains. Some cans of this and that. Spices you already keep around. This recipe takes them all, then turns them into a nutritious pan of Mexican delight.
- Bell Pepper. I love adding bell peppers to Tex-Mex style dishes because of their natural sweetness and texture. Plus, they add beautiful color to the dish. Any color of bell pepper will work famously.
- Spices. A combination of chili powder, ground cumin, dried oregano, and salt turns simple ingredients like quinoa into a flavor maker and shaker.
- Quinoa. A fluffy and slightly nutty grain that soaks up all the flavors you cook along with it. Quinoa is considered a complete protein and is packed with iron and fiber, helping to make this a filling vegetarian quinoa recipe.
- Black Beans. One of my favorite ingredients to add to vegetarian recipes to make them satisfying. Black beans are rich in fiber, potassium, and folate.
- Tomatoes. Both fire-roasted diced tomatoes and diced tomatoes in green chiles (a.k.a. Rotel) serve as most of the cooking “liquid” and give this recipe panache.
- Fiesta Corn. A scrumptious blend of sweet corn and diced peppers. It’s a little bit zesty and a little bit sweet. Frozen corn would also work here. You also can use plain corn, then add a few pinches of extra spices to taste.
- Cilantro. A little cilantro brings freshness.
- Lime. This recipe uses both the zest and juice for flavor and brightness.
- Sauté the onion and bell pepper.
- Add the spices and quinoa, stirring to coat.
- Stir in the beans, both cans of tomatoes, corn, and water.
- Simmer it all together until the liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked. Top with the cilantro, lime zest, and juice, stirring until incorporated. ENJOY!
- To Store. Place leftover Mexican quinoa in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a large skillet on the stove over medium-low heat. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave. I like to add a splash of broth or water or stir in a spoonful of salsa to keep it from drying out.
- To Freeze. Store in an airtight freezer-safe storage container up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
More Ways to Serve One Pan Mexican Quinoa
- Vegetarian Breakfast Bowl. Take a note from my Whole30 Vegetarian Power Bowls and top it with a fried or hard boiled egg. Add leftover roasted sweet potatoes or other roasted veggies (if you have them on hand).
- Burrito Filling. Wrap it up with melted cheese.
- Quesadillas. Layer it between tortillas, then toast in a skillet until golden.
- Casserole-Style. Take a note from my 5-star rated Mexican Chicken Quinoa Casserole, top it with cheese and tuck it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp the top.
- Mexican Quinoa Side Dish. Pair it alongside Crockpot Mexican Chicken or Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos.
More Mexican Recipe Favorites
- Crock Pot Mexican Casserole
- Mexican Street Corn Quinoa Salad
- Mexican Stuffed Peppers
- Mexican Salad
- Mexican Shrimp
Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe
- Cast Iron Skillet. An essential kitchen tool that will last you a lifetime. This large skillet with a lid is also great for this recipe.
- Measuring Spoons. These are double-sided, so you have less dishes to wash.
- Citrus Juicer. The easiest way to juice a lime or lemon.
I hope you love this recipe tonight, then again tomorrow in a whole new way. I can’t wait to hear which way you try it first and which one is your favorite!
If you make this recipe, please leave a comment below to let me know how it goes. I adore hearing from you, and your comments and 5-star ratings are so important to my site and helpful to others too.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion - diced
- 1 bell pepper - red or green, cored and diced
- 2 cloves garlic - chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 15 ounce can black beans - rinsed and drained
- 1 14.5 ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes in their juices
- 1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes in green chiles in their juices
- 1 11-ounce can fiesta corn - drained (or 1 ½ cups fresh, frozen, or canned corn kernels)
- 1/2 cup water - plus additional as needed
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 medium lime - zest and juice
- For serving: shredded cheese - sliced avocado, plain Greek yogurt
- Heat the oil in a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook 30 seconds until very fragrant, then stir in the quinoa, coating it in the spices and oil.
- Add the black beans, fire roasted diced tomatoes, diced tomatoes and green chiles, corn, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover the skillet with a lid and reduce heat to low. Let simmer until quinoa is tender and liquid is mostly absorbed, about 20 minutes. Check on it once or twice as it cooks and give it a stir, adding additional water as needed if the mixture looks dry.
- Add the cilantro, then zest the lime directly over the top of the skillet. Squeeze in the lime juice. Stir to combine. Serve hot with any and all desired toppings.
- TO STORE: Place leftover quinoa in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a large skillet on the stove over medium-low heat. You can also reheat this dish in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Store quinoa in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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