Mexican Quinoa Recipe

Loaded with black beans, tomatoes and corn, this one pot, dairy free Mexican quinoa recipe comes together in just over 30 minutes. It’s makes an awesome side dish for any meal or a filling, vegan main dish that’s perfect for week day lunches. Makes 8 servings.

Mexican quinoa in a large bowl on a striped napkin with limes and cilantro, on a white background

Why I love this Mexican quinoa recipe

Quinoa is something that I’m not too familiar with. I had cooked it a few times before making this quinoa 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.

Aerial view of Mexican quinoa in a large skillet on a striped napkin with limes and cilantro, on a white background

How to make Mexican quinoa:

This quinoa recipe is super easy. After sautéing some minced garlic a tablespoon olive oil, you add the rest of the ingredients the pot and bring it to a boil. Then, reduce the heat, cover the pot and let it simmer until the quinoa is cooked.

It should take about 25 minutes. When it’s finished cooking, stir in some fresh cilantro – if you want – and you’re ready to serve.

More great Mexican inspired sides: Easy Refried Black Beans / Mexican Street Corn & Cucumber Salad

Close up view of Mexican quinoa in a large bowl on a striped napkin with limes and cilantro, on a white background

So what makes this Mexican quinoa dairy free?

The original recipe from this post suggested topping your quinoa with sour cream and cheese, which is obviously no good for a dairy free lifestyle, but luckily this was easily remedied. The actual recipe didn’t need any changing, and it is just as good without those milk-based toppings.

Feel free to top it with guacamole, your favorite aioli, or vegan cheese for an extra pop of flavor. I topped mine with a cilantro lime aioli, and it was the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted. Recipe coming soon, I promise.

Aerial view of Mexican quinoa in a large bowl on a striped napkin with limes and cilantro, on a white background

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Here’s what you’ll need to make Mexican quinoa:

Close up view of Mexican quinoa in a large bowl on a striped napkin with limes and cilantro, on a white background

Mexican Quinoa

  • Author: Melissa Belanger
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Sides
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican


For the quinoa:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/4 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
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish.


  1. In large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil to medium-high heat.
  2. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant – about 30 seconds.
  3. Add remaining ingredients (minus the cilantro) and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes.
  5. Stir in cilantro just before serving.

Keywords: quinoa, one pot, Mexican, dairy free, vegan


  • Calories: 0
  • Sugar: 0 g
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 0 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Last Updated on

  • Reply
    November 9, 2013 at 9:13 pm

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

    • Reply
      January 9, 2014 at 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! 😉

      • Reply
        Melissa Belanger
        January 10, 2014 at 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 🙂

        • Reply
          January 10, 2014 at 10:50 am

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

          • Melissa Belanger
            January 10, 2014 at 11:20 am

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

    • Reply
      stella feeney
      March 23, 2014 at 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

  • Reply
    November 10, 2013 at 5:06 am

    Looks yummy… will give it a try asap!

  • Reply
    Becca from ItsYummi.com
    November 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    This looks absolutely FABULOUS! I found your recipe over on Foodgawker. Your blog is now on my “must visit regularly” list 🙂
    Cheers! Becca from ItsYummi.com

  • Reply
    November 12, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      April 8, 2014 at 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.

      • Reply
        Melissa Belanger
        April 8, 2014 at 10:06 am

        That’s a great tip! Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    Crissy Page (@Crissy)
    November 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    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! 🙂

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      November 12, 2013 at 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. 🙂

  • Reply
    November 18, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      November 19, 2013 at 1:43 am

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

  • Reply
    December 7, 2013 at 4:08 am

    I made this with no changes. It was a very tasty and hearty dish and was even better the next day! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Shannon Taylor
    December 15, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      December 16, 2013 at 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 🙂

  • Reply
    Vegetarian sources of protein Skinny Fat Life
    December 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    […] Quinoa: One cup yields you 8 grams and all nine essential amino acids (needed for growth and repair of your body, but you don’t make these on your own). Check out this awesome mexican quinoa recipe. […]

  • Reply
    Food Links I Love | Foodversation
    December 27, 2013 at 4:57 am

    […] Mexican quinoa sounds good, though I’d end up picking out the cilantro. […]

  • Reply
    Lisa Madson
    January 6, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I’m a fitness and nutrition coach. I’m always loooking for healthy recipes to share with my clients. This looks amazing!

  • Reply
    Colleen B
    January 6, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    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!!!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    January 21, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    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!!

  • Reply
    Mexican Quinoa | Add Some Character
    January 24, 2014 at 9:31 am

    […] This recipe was adapted from A Teaspoon of Happiness […]

  • Reply
    January 28, 2014 at 10:25 am

    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!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2014 at 1:01 pm

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

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      January 28, 2014 at 11:29 pm

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

  • Reply
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    […] Originally from http://www.ateaspoonofhappiness.com/mexican-quinoa/ […]

  • Reply
    February 25, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    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 jalapeño pepper. So good!

    • Reply
      March 12, 2014 at 3:55 pm

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

  • Reply
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  • Reply
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    April 2, 2014 at 8:51 am

    […] of hard, though. I had to order pizza for my husband and his friend for dinner, but I ate leftover Mexican Quinoa. Don’t get me wrong, the Quinoa recipe is excellent–it’s just not pizza. I toyed […]

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    April 8, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    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.

  • Reply
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    April 15, 2014 at 7:01 am

    […] Quinoa? Check. Spinach? Check. Meatless? Check. All it needs is kale, chia seeds, and maybe some greek yogurt, and it would be picture-perfect HLB meal 😛 (The quinoa, btw, is fabulous, and I definitely recommend it!) […]

  • Reply
    April 17, 2014 at 10:14 am

    I made this last night and it was absolutely amazaing. I used fresh tomatoes and japapeño 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.

  • Reply
    May 15, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      May 16, 2014 at 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 🙂

  • Reply
    May 22, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    May 26, 2014 at 7:02 am

    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!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      May 26, 2014 at 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 🙂

  • Reply
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    May 27, 2014 at 4:46 am

    […] breakfast, or as a side-dish for your favorite Mexican main meal. Recipe & Photo credit to: ATeaspoonOfHappiness […]

  • Reply
    May 28, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I absolutely loved it, I added some grilled chicken! Delish, delish…

  • Reply
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    June 1, 2014 at 10:27 am

    […] breakfast, or as a side-dish for your favorite Mexican main meal. Recipe & Photo credit to: ATeaspoonOfHappiness […]

  • Reply
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    June 24, 2014 at 11:32 am

    […] Mexican Quinoa – A Teaspoon of Happiness […]

  • Reply
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    June 26, 2014 at 7:01 am

    […] Mexican Quinoa: We tried a bunch of variations, but this one has been our favorite. It’s the most flavorful! […]

  • Reply
    Linda Smith
    July 23, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    Robin A
    August 14, 2014 at 8:38 am

    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.

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      August 15, 2014 at 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!

  • Reply
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    August 18, 2014 at 7:00 am

    […] THURSDAY – Mexican Quinoa […]

  • Reply
    September 1, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      September 1, 2014 at 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 🙂

  • Reply
    Mexican Quinoa | Get Daily Recipes.com
    September 10, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    […] This dish is a great tasting alternative to your normal Mexican rice dish! Give it a try. Click here for the recipe […]

  • Reply
    September 21, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    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!!

  • Reply
    November 12, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Made this for dinner tonight. Soo yummy! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  • Reply
    Tamara Sanders
    February 5, 2015 at 9:18 pm

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

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      February 6, 2015 at 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.

  • Reply
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    June 6, 2015 at 10:23 pm

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  • Reply
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    March 15, 2016 at 9:20 am

    […] Board is filled with recipes that include quinoa. I had stumbled across this Mexican quinoa recipe a while back. While we enjoyed it, something was missing, and like all recipes I […]

  • Reply
    April 5, 2017 at 10:39 am

    I have made this dozens of times and just wanted to thank you for the recipe! I like to use Mexican Ro-Tel with cilantro and lime to kick up the flavor a little more.

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      April 5, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      I didn’t even know they made that kind of Ro-Tel! I think I’ll have to try it next time. That sounds great!

  • Reply
    April 12, 2018 at 9:55 am

    This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
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    August 10, 2018 at 7:17 am

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  • Reply
    Tracy Jones
    August 22, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    This is one of my all time favorite recipes! Thank you so much for sharing! 😍

    • Reply
      Melissa Belanger
      August 22, 2018 at 4:15 pm

      Thank you! I love hearing that people enjoy my recipes 🙂 Thanks for brightening my day!

  • Reply
    Maggie Unzueta
    October 2, 2018 at 4:21 am

    My mouth is watering. I want to eat that!

  • Reply
    November 6, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    Absolutely love this recipe! So much flavour and healthy, can’t beat that!

  • Reply
    Sarah Averett
    November 6, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    This is so pretty! I love new quinoa recipes, so thank you for this one!

  • Reply
    November 6, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    Love this version of Mexican Rice using Quinoa!!! A side dish we will be trying next taco night!!!

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