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
Simply Whisked is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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

How to make Mexican quinoa

Sauté the garlic.

Simmer the rest.

Garnish and serve.

mexican quinoa recipe in a large serving bowl garnished with fresh cilantro

More sides and salads you’ll love:


Mexican Quinoa

This Mexican quinoa recipe is made with corn, black beans and diced tomatoes with chilies. It’s a great side dish or an healthy, vegan dinner idea.

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


  • 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.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 125
  • Sugar: 0.7 g
  • Sodium: 355.2 mg
  • Fat: 3.3 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.7 g
  • Fiber: 2.1 g
  • Protein: 4.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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

Last Updated on October 16, 2021 by Melissa Belanger

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating


    1. 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! 😉

      1. Interesting. I would love to know how it turns out. Let me know if you liked it! Maybe it was a good mistake 🙂

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

  1. 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!

    1. 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.

  2. 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! 🙂

    1. 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. 🙂

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

    1. Awesome. Thanks for sharing your substitutions! It’s so nice to see how others make a recipe their own. Glad you liked it 🙂

  5. 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!!!

  6. 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!!

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

    1. 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 🙂

    2. That’s funny I own a house in Mexico and every restaurant there serves us black beans. Just because your wife is Mexican and probably grew up on refried beans doesn’t mean that’s the only thing they serve in Mexico. When I asked for refried beans at one restaurant they said that’s not beans these are.

    3. I am Mexican, living in Mexico, and black beans are common. I would say black beans are more a staple in Southern Mexico and the Yucatan but they are used in dishes all over. A Google search confirms this.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

    1. 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 🙂

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. Pingback: Mexican Quinoa | Get Daily
  18. 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!!

  19. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. Exactly how I made mine. I added an extra squeeze of fresh lime juice as well. I got this recipe from a friend in New Zealand and he suggested it is really good left over with sliced avocado which I will be trying soon. Thanks for a wonderful dish.

  20. Love the recipe but just FYI you are advertising this as “vegan” but using chicken broth is not vegan. It’s a simple substitution but maybe mention that somewhere…?