A flavor packed weeknight Vegetarian One Pan Mexican Quinoa Recipe that’s easy to make. Full of flavors we crave, this skillet Mexican quinoa is loaded with veggies, beans and cheese. Check out my How to Cook Black Beans post or my Slow Cooker Pinto Beans from scratch recipe to use in this tasty dish! This recipe is vegetarian, gluten free and easily vegan.
Tasty and Simple Vegetarian Mexican Food
Mexican food cravings are a constant around here. Some of my favorite vegetarian quinoa meals are Mexican inspired and for good reason. With spices like chili powder, cumin and adobo sauce and veggies like corn, zucchini, poblano (or green bell pepper) and fire roasted tomatoes, it’s totally mouthwatering!
You’re going to love how easy ingredient prep is and because this recipe a one pan Mexican quinoa, clean up’s a snap too. Also, weeknight dinner just got easier because this quinoa meal is freezer friendly! Hello meal prep.
Recipes to Share with Vegetarian Mexican Quinoa
Since this is a one pan meal, there’s no need for sides dishes. However, condiments are always welcome, and are super easy to pull together. Share with tortilla chips and choose a dip (or two) to share this meal with. Here are some ideas:
Variations for One Pan Mexican Quinoa Recipe
Some ingredients in this vegetarian Mexican quinoa recipe are versatile enough to switch up depending on what’s in the larder or to preference. Here are some ideas to start with:
- The Beans: for this recipe I employ creamy and flavorful pinto beans, but black beans can be used instead with delicious results. If you have time, Cook Black Beans or Slow Cooker Pinto Beans from scratch for the tastiest vegetarian Mexican food!
- The Chilis: the ingredient list calls for a poblano pepper, however a green bell pepper can be included as a sub.
- The Quinoa: use whatever variety you have on hand. I use rainbow quinoa here, but white or red quinoa can be used instead.
- The Cheese: I like pepper jack in this quinoa recipe, however, it can add a bit more heat to this dish. Feel free to use cheddar, Monterey Jack or a blend. If diary free, this recipe is easily made vegan! Omit the cheese and opt for your favorite dairy free/vegan cheese or try my chili-lime pepita crema and slather/drizzle it on top!
- The Tomatoes: fire roasted diced tomatoes add a smoky nuance to this recipe, however regular diced tomatoes will be delicious!
How about a Mexican Quinoa Casserole? Give my Quinoa Enchilada Bake a go… it’s a maker favorite!
Quick Guide: How to Make This One Skillet Quinoa Meal
Because the ingredients are added in layers, each component is cooked to perfection, bringing out the best aromas, textures and flavors. In summary, here’s how to make this recipe (see recipe card for details):
- First, in a skillet/pan saute the onions and poblano in olive oil.
- Second, add the zucchini and corn, stir, then add the seasonings.
- Third, stir in the fire roasted tomatoes, broth, quinoa and beans.
- Next, cook lidded for about 20 minutes.
- Last, stir in a squeeze of lime juice, some cheese then top with remaining cheese. Lid and cook on low for about 5 minutes so the cheese can melt.
Top this hearty quinoa meal with tortilla strips, tortilla chips, cilantro, pickled jalapeños, avocados and/or sour cream.
One pan dinners are so convenient! For another mouthwatering Mexican inspired recipe, try my Skillet Black Bean Enchiladas Verde.
A Few Recipe Notes
- Use a 10″ skillet for this recipe to hold all that goodness. I like using a Lodge 10″ cast iron skillet for this one.
- Freezer Friendly? Yes please. Allow to cool completely then freeze in a covered container for up to two weeks.
- Vegan Friendly? For a vegan Mexican quinoa simply omit the cheese and use your favorite dairy free cheese. Or, dollop/drizzle with my Chili Lime Pepita Crema!
- More Ways to Enjoy! This recipe is fabulous as a Mexican quinoa bowl recipe. Simply serve it up in a bowl with chopped romaine, sliced avocado, tomato, crushed tortilla chips, Easy Chipotle Salsa and something creamy like cheese, Creamy Guacamole Recipe with Sour Cream or pepita cream! The Mexican quinoa is also fabulous stuffed into tacos or burritos!
More Vegetarian Mexican Recipes to Love
- Stuffed Poblanos with Quinoa, Black Beans and Sweet Potatoes
- Mexican Quinoa Enchilada Bake
- Black Bean Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad
- Quinoa Mango Black Bean Salad with Chipotle Lime Dressing
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Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and rating below as it helps others considering making this recipe. If you’re on Instagram, be sure to take a picture and tag me @VanillaAndBean so I can see and share in my stories!
Vegetarian One Pan Mexican Quinoa Recipe
- 2 teaspoon Vegetable Oil I use olive oil
- 1 Cup (120 grams) Red or White Onion diced medium, about 1/2 a large onion
- 1 Cup (115 grams) Poblano Pepper diced medium, about one large poblano (green bell pepper may be subbed)
- 1 Cup (65 grams) Corn Niblets fresh or thawed from frozen
- 1 1/4 Cups (170 grams) Zucchini diced small, about one medium zucchini
- 2 1/2 teaspoon Cumin
- 2 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
- 1 teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
- 1 tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 1 tablespoon Adobo Sauce from a can of chipotle chili peppers*
- 3/4 Cup (165 grams) Quinoa rinsed briefly under running water
- 15.5 ounces (439 grams) Can of Pinto Beans rinsed and drained, about 1 1/2 cups beans (235 grams) or sub black beans.
- 3/4 Cups (190 grams) Fire Roasted Tomatoes juice and tomatoes
- 1 1/2 Cups (360 grams) Vegetable Broth
- 1/2 Lime
- 8 ounces (225 grams) Monterey Jack Cheese pepper jack, cheddar or a combo. about 2 C shredded + up to 1/2 C more if preferred.
Serve With (optional):
- Creamy Guacamole or avocado slices
- Homemade Mexican Salsa
- Chili Lime Pepita Crema
- Cilantro, Pickled Jalapeños, Sour Cream, Cilantro, Tortilla Chips
- In a 10" (25cm) skillet, add the oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and poblano and saute on medium to medium high heat for about 7-8 minutes or until softened (charring is okay!).
- Stir in the zucchini and corn, then add the cumin, chili powder and salt. Stir for about 30 seconds, just to incorporate and bloom the spices.
- To the mixture, add the tomato paste and adobo sauce. Stir, then add the quinoa, beans, tomatoes and broth. Stir until all the ingredients are evenly distributed. The pan will be full. Bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to low, lid and cook for about 20-23 minutes or until the quinoa is tender (or the "tails" are showing). The mixture should still be moist and a little creamy.
- Stir in a heavy squeeze of lime juice and 1/2 Cups (56 grams) of cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Lid and cook on low heat for about 4-5 minutes, just to get the cheese starting to melt. Remove from heat and allow the Mexican quinoa to set for up to five minutes covered, or until the cheese is completely melted.
- Scoop into bowls and share with desired toppings/condiments.
- Allow to cool completely and store in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for up to two weeks. Thaw overnight in the fridge, cook on stovetop, low, with a splash of water.
Finally made this and so glad I did – it was SOOOOO good! I made a couple of small changes – swapped jalapenos for the poblano (only because I couldn’t find poblanos today) and added in a half package of Trader Joe’s Beefless Ground Beef to up the protein count. Even the hubs was raving about how good it was. Can’t wait to have the leftovers. Thanks for another winner Traci!
Hii Melanie! Thank you for giving the recipe a go, your note, and five star review! That beefless ground beef sounds delish! Yay for the hubs :D!
Delicious, flavorful & versatile! We’ve made this 2x and had it with tortillas, alone, on top of some rice rice or farro, also froze leftovers & using as a dip w/tortilla strips.
Hooray!! Thank you for your note Caroline! SO happy to hear you’re enjoying it all the ways (love your dip tip!).
We made this almost exactly to the recipe and it was so good! Thanks, Traci!
Hi Monica! Hooray! SO happy to hear. Thank you for your note! :D
MaryAnn | The Beach House Kitchen
Can’t beat a one pot meal like this one Traci! All the delicious ingredients and so much flavor for sure! Perfect for those busy weeknights!
In the UK I haven’t found either adobo sauce or fire roasted tomatoes. I imagine they both add great flavour. What would you recommend I use instead to get similar flavours as I’d really like to make this, thanks Sue
Hi Sue! Both have really good flavor, but if you have access to ground chipotle spice and non fire roasted tomatoes, you could give that a try. Also smoky paprika would be a nice sub for the adobo sauce. I hope this helps, Sue. Keep me posted!
I did make this and it was delicious. I had ancho chilli powder so used that and added a few drops of chipotle tabasco. I might add a bit more chilli powder next time as I wasn’t sure how hot it might be with the tabasco as well. I was asked if I could make it again so clearly hit the spot!
Hi Sue! Thank you for your note and giving the recipe a go! SO happy to hear that it was a success. I love a good second request! The ancho sounds fabulous BTW – thank you for your tip!
great veg version of some of my favorite taco flavors, nice with quinoa too thank you
Thank you for your note, Sabrina! So happy to hear!