Mexican Quinoa Recipe

by katerina on July 12, 2011

About a decade ago I was a vegetarian high school student who was too lazy to pack her own lunches. What with a steady part time job and an in-school cafeteria I purchased my food everyday instead. That meant I ate one of three things: a vegetarian hot dog, packaged kimchi noodles, or — the healthiest choice – a dish of mexican rice.

I love anything with cooked tomatoes, but mexican rice is a great tex-mex favourite. This recipe is a bit healthier as it is full of vegetables, uses wholesome quinoa, and is not covered in a thick layer of cheese. Of course, you can broil a layer of cheese on top, or omit it entirely for the vegan version. Either way, serve it hot with a bottle of Cholula hot sauce.

Print Recipe

Mexican Quinoa

(serves 4)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/4 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic. minced
3 green onions
1 teaspoon mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup water
1 17oz can whole tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Heat a medium Dutch oven on the stove top to medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl for 30 seconds. Now add the carrots, celery and onions. Sweat those vegetables together, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes. Add the diced peppers and continue for another 2 minutes. Chop up the green onions, keeping the white parts separate from the green. Add the garlic, the white parts of the green onions, the oregano, paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of salt sweat for one more minute.

Rinse quinoa and then stir into the vegetables. Add water, tomatoes including juices and bay leaf. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 25 minutes. Stir in cheese, remaining green onions and parsley. Cover and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. You can garnish with fresh tomatoes, avocado, and grilled chicken if desired.

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cooking Time: 30 minutes | Total Time:40 minutes
Calories(approximate per serving): 230

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Erika July 14, 2011 at 6:36 am

Great meal!
I actually added some chili pepper and cilantro to the dish. We ate it with corn on the cob.
Thanks again for an awesome recipe!


katerina July 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

Erika – so glad you liked it! Cilantro would be great addition and I added some chopped pickled jalapenos to mine.


Katie July 21, 2011 at 7:51 am

Goodness gracious. That looks incredible! I love your blog, by the way!


katerina July 25, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Thanks Katie, you are so sweet!


desiree January 1, 2012 at 10:53 am

that looks delicious!!


Diana February 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Great recipe! I made this for dinner tonight, and it was delicious. This was our first time having quinoa. Thanks for helping us try it. We loved it.


katerina February 29, 2012 at 8:39 am

I am so glad you enjoyed it Diana, hopefully it will become a regular thing in your house, I just love quinoa.


Karen April 29, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Mine burnt– I think either it needed more water, less time, or a lower temperature. 25 minutes on medium heat seemed high but I trusted the recipe and it burnt on the bottom. I was able to salvage what was on top, and it was delicious! I served it with chipotle lime chicken and wilted spinach on the side.


katerina April 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I am so sorry to hear that Karen. I have found (as someone who has lived in many different apartments), that stoves and stove tops really vary. Maybe for you medium means medium low? I will adjust the instructions to suggest checking on it partway through ;)


Margie August 6, 2012 at 5:25 pm

I was thinking that this would be a great recipe to make and freeze for my daughter in college. I know that she would love this dish! Do you have any suggestions for freezing it?


katerina August 9, 2012 at 8:33 am

I am afraid I have never frozen quinoa before.


Jennifer April 13, 2013 at 7:01 am

If I don’t have a Dutch oven can I still make this? What could I use? Looks yummy and I love Mexican food :)


katerina April 13, 2013 at 4:24 pm

You don’t need a dutch oven. Any heavy saucepot with a lid will work :) Good luck!


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