No chopping or sautéing, no cutting boards or mixing bowls to wash…this one-pan Mexican quinoa is super easy to make. Just dump everything in the pan, let it cook, and enjoy!
I like going out to eat, but I also really love staying in and cooking. This semester, a couple of friends and I started a Sunday night tradition of cooking dinner together. They live together in a house right off-campus, so I usually go to them since they have a kitchen to themselves.
We have similar taste in food, so finding recipes we all like isn’t too hard. One friend is a vegetarian, so we cook vegetarian meals together. So far, we’ve gone with a beans, greens, & grain theme each week. For example, for our first dinner together, we made really yummy Buddha bowls with roasted sweet potatoes, roasted broccoli and cauliflower, quinoa, and chickpeas/black beans.
We started texting last Saturday about ideas for what to make that Sunday, and I found a recipe for Mexican quinoa somewhere online. It looked inexpensive and simple, which are my top two criteria for college cooking.
They had most of the short ingredient list already at their house, and I stopped by the grocery store on Sunday afternoon to pick up quinoa, lime, and corn, plus an avocado to make guacamole.
When I arrived, we basically just added everything to the skillet and then played a couple rounds of cards while we waited for dinner to be ready. The original recipe we found didn’t include any spices, and the water : quinoa ratio was a bit off, so we ended up adapting the recipe to come up with our own version.
Before digging in, we topped our quinoa bowls with guacamole, salsa, lots of cheese, and plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream since that’s what they had on hand. We all loved it!
I knew I wanted to re-make this one-pan Mexican quinoa to take notes on what we did and take a few photos to share on the blog, so I made it again this weekend in my dorm kitchen. I didn’t mind eating it two weekends in a row one bit.
A few tips:
• The toppings totally make this dish, so don’t skip those! I used sliced avocado for the photos, but I actually ended up adding cheese, salsa, guacamole, and plain Greek yogurt/sour cream.
• The amount of water required for the quinoa may vary a bit depending on how much juice is in your can of diced tomatoes, so add an additional splash of water to your quinoa while it’s cooking if needed.
• Be sure to use diced tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes. I made the mistake of switching the two in a pasta recipe one time, and it wasn’t the end of the world, but they’re a different consistency.
• You can cook quinoa in vegetable broth for more flavor, but I used water each time and it was still delicious.
• Dried cilantro works great, although I’m personally a big fan of fresh herbs for garnish. I consider fresh herbs to be one “luxury” item in my low-maintenance college girl kitchen. And at $.60 for a bunch of cilantro at my grocery store, it’s a pretty inexpensive luxury 😉
If you try out this one-pan Mexican quinoa, feel free to let me know in a comment or take a picture and tag me @livbane on Instagram. Hope you enjoy!
Five-Ingredient One-Pan Mexican Quinoa
- 2 1/4 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 15 oz. can diced tomatoes with jalapeños or fire-roasted diced tomatoes, not drained
- 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 15 oz. can corn, drained
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- Spices to taste: I used 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, & 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- Toppings: guacamole, salsa, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, cheese, etc.
- Add quinoa, water, and diced tomatoes to a medium skillet or saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil and reduce heat to simmer on medium-low, for 12-18 minutes or until quinoa is done (it "pops" open) and liquid is absorbed. Add an additional splash of water while cooking, if needed.
- Stir in black beans, corn, lime juice, and spices to taste.
- Spoon into bowls and serve warm with guacamole, salsa, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, cheese, etc.
- Store leftovers in fridge for up to five days and serve warm or cold.
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