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. Versatile, freezer friendly and delicious, this recipe is vegetarian, gluten free and easily vegan.
Big on Flavor (!) Little on Time
Mexican food cravings are a constant around here. Some of my favorite vegetarian quinoa recipes 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 Mexican quinoa comes together in one pan, clean up’s a snap too. Also, weeknight dinner just got easier because this quinoa dish 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:
Ingredient Swaps for this 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 for homemade black beans, even better.
- 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 Mexican Quinoa
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!
- Variations? You know it! 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 and something creamy like sour cream, cheese, guacamole or pepita cream! The Mexican quinoa is also fabulous stuffed into tacos or burritos!
More Mexican Quinoa Dinner 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
Vegetarian One Pan Mexican Quinoa
- 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 use 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.
- 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.