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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!

A blue skillet with Mexican quinoa

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.

Cooked Mexican quinoa in a skillet with avocado and cilantro

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.

The Ingredients

  • 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.

The Directions

A skillet with sauteed onions and bell peppers

  1. Sauté the onion and bell pepper.
    A skillet with sauteed bell peppers and quinoa cooking on a stove
  2. Add the spices and quinoa, stirring to coat.
    A skillet with black beans, tomatoes, quinoa, and onions
  3. Stir in the beans, both cans of tomatoes, corn, and water.
    A simmering skillet with tomatoes, black beans, and quinoa
  4. 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!

healthy Mexican quinoa in a skillet with avocado

Storage Tips

  • 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.

A skillet of quinoa, black beans, corn, and Mexican spices topped with avocado

More Mexican Recipe Favorites

cooked Mexican quinoa recipe in a skillet

Recommended Tools to Make This Recipe

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.

Mexican Quinoa

4.82 from 43 votes
This healthy Mexican Quinoa cooks in one skillet! With colorful veggies, black beans, and zesty spices, it's a flavorful, filling vegetarian dinner or side.

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Servings: 4 servings


  • 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.


Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 454kcalCarbohydrates: 75gProtein: 17gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPotassium: 1001mgFiber: 15gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 1947IUVitamin C: 56mgCalcium: 135mgIron: 6mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. This sounds soooo good. I’ve just discovered quinoa and glad to have a new recipe to use it in.

  2. This looks delicious. Do you have a suggestion for making it without the tomatoes? I am not able to have tomatoes in my diet. Thank you!

    1. Hi Gail! The tomatoes are pretty important to the flavor here. You could try chicken broth or stock to replace the tomato cooking liquid (and maybe add some diced green chilis to help replace some of the flavor), but the dish will turn out differently. If you decide to play around, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  3. This recipe was a big hit for dinner last night. My husband who doesn’t really like quinoa said he loved it! We enjoyed all the fresh flavours. ( we had fresh oregano from my garden!)5 stars

  4. After a long day of working in the yard, I wanted an easy dinner to make – so I picked this recipe to try. It was super easy & VERY delicious , and pretty ! Thank you Erin :-) It made a lot so we were able to enjoy the leftovers with the fried egg on top for breakfast before golf – it tasted amazing!!5 stars

  5. Love this recipe! We’ve been trying to incorporate more vegetarian dinners and this dish is perfect because it doesn’t taste like you’re missing anything by not having meat – it’s so filling! This has become a staple in our kitchen – thank you!5 stars

  6. I made this last night for dinner with our vegan neighbors. It was a big hit! I doubled the recipe because it said ‘4 servings’ and that never seems to be enough for 4 people. The doubled recipe ended up fitting in a 9×13 casserole dish, plus another oval one. (couldn’t fit all of this into one skillet! Everyone loved it and there is plenty for breakfast today with fried eggs. Thank you, Erin for all of your great recipes!5 stars

    1. Hi Kim! Since this recipe was designed for quinoa, it would be a complete experiment. The liquid ratio and cook time would likely need to be altered for the rice. If you decide to play around, I’d love to hear how it goes!

      1. Made this recipe and it was amazing! I used brown rice because my husband isn’t a fan of quinoa. I did two cups of water instead of 1/2 and I cooked it for 45min. I’ll be making this again it was easy and really good! Thank you!5 stars

  7. Not rating, have not tried but sure it will be good. I do not understand the amount of water in ratio to the 1 cup quinoa. Will the quinoa be sufficiently with such little water??

    1. Hi Mary! In addition to the water, you’re also getting liquid from some of the other ingredients. I (and many other readers) have made this recipe as written with success, so I hope you enjoy it too!

  8. While I am going to try again, we could barely eat this meal because it was so spicy. We ate it in burritos and my three little kids and I had to have just a tiny amount mixed with other toppings and even my husband who loves spicy food said it was too hot. I like the ingredients and quick prep so I will make it again and cut the amount of chili powder in half. Everything I read said this was “zesty” but never spicy. A warning to other readers, this is HOT.4 stars

    1. Hi Haley! I’m sorry to hear that this was too spicy for you. Next time, you can certainly reduce the amount of spices to make them less spicy. I hope you enjoyed the recipe otherwise!

  9. The quinoa by itself is decent. I took your recommendation in making it a quesadilla… And this recipe ended up being possibly the best thing I’ve cooked IN MY LIFE. Also the best quesadilla I’ve ever had. Of course, this was by adding butter and cheese… :)

  10. I love this recipe! I didn’t have diced tomatoes with green chilies, so I used extra fire roasted tomatoes. I also didn’t have cilantro or lime but will try them next time. I added cheese, and it was delicious.5 stars

  11. Yum. Served with corn tortillas. Contrary to what another reader wrote, this is not at all hot, but pleasantly spiced. I used less salt but that’s my preference. Super healthy and I love having stuff like this in the fridge so I can eat it all week. Thanks for the recipe!05 stars

  12. This was a very good meal! I added avocado to give it a creamy texture and help cut the spice a little. I will be making this again!

  13. This was delicious. I used only about 1/3 of the recommended spices because I prefer food less spicy-hot but I do like it flavorful. This was a very nice combination of spices and main ingredients. Thank you.5 stars

  14. This is delish! I would like to know how much is a serving? 1 cup, 2 cups? It says 4 servings but I’m guessing for portion size.5 stars

    1. Hi KC! I didn’t measure it out in cups. Serving size is just 1/4 of the recipe. So glad you enjoyed it!

  15. I wanted an easy, yummy quinoa recipe as my first time cooking quinoa.. and boy did this deliver!!! This recipe is SO good and so easy to make. I put a scoop of sour cream and avocado on top. I will for sure make this again!5 stars

  16. So delicious!! I added grilled swordfish (seasoned the same) and drizzled chimichurri sauce all over! My hubby who has never had quinoa before absolutely loved this recipe! Thank you!!!5 stars

    1. Hi Callie! I’m sorry I haven’t measured it out in cups. A serving is just 1/4 of the whole dish. Glad you enjoyed it!

  17. I have leftover black beans and quinoa in the fridge. This seems like the perfect recipe to use it up. Going to add leftover shrimp and some ground chorizo 😁Yum!

  18. Great recipes. So happy to find such wonderful vegetarian (& some vegan) recipes at your site. Thank you very much!!!!5 stars

  19. Honestly, this was SO good. I’m looking forward to leftovers tomorrow. So flavourful. We had it with meat (a small piece) but didn’t need it at all. We really loved this. Would make it again in a flash. :)