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This flavorful and easy Mexican quinoa recipe is inspired by Mexican flavors, featuring black beans, corn, tomatoes, and fajita seasoning.

Mexican quinoa

Two tips Alex and I have discovered for making healthy, home-cooked eating part of your lifestyle are 1. Plan ahead (hard when you are spontaneous by nature) and 2. Keep things interesting. I don’t know about you, but it’s easiest for me to want to eat unhealthy foods when I don’t have something on hand that is healthy and delicious. I quickly get bored, thus the need for new recipes and different takes on old ideas. This Mexican quinoa is something I whipped up before a road trip, and it quickly became a family favorite! Keep reading for our Mexican quinoa recipe.

Related: 10 Easy Quinoa Recipes

Mexican quinoa

How to make Mexican quinoa

This Mexican quinoa is not authentic Mexican at all, but inspired by Mexican style flavors. It’s something I whipped up quickly before a road trip, trying to use up the last of assorted vegetables in our fridge. It was a very tasty dinner in the car (and I’m not sure how Alex can drive and eat quinoa yet I’m the one in the passenger seat with quinoa all over me…but that’s another story!). The recipe was so memorable that when we returned, we promptly wanted to make it again and share it with all of you. This Mexican quinoa recipe would also be perfect as a side dish to bring to a summer potluck, as well as a healthy lunch idea.

Perhaps there was something addictive in our fajita seasoning, but this Mexican quinoa recipe sticks out as one of my recent favorites. It uses all the summer vegetables that are nearing the end of their season here in Indiana, so it’s a good September salad before we get into pumpkin spice latte season. And it was incredibly nutritious, yet interesting enough to keep our tastebuds satisfied. For a full meal, we’d suggest serving with a green salad and perhaps a side of roasted sweet potatoes. It’s also a great lunch option and saves in the refrigerator well.

The only thing that requires any technique at all in this Mexican quinoa recipe is making the quinoa! Here’s our master method and quinoa to water ratio: How to Make Quinoa Perfectly. It also includes a video so you can see exactly how we do it!

Related: 15 Easy Vegetarian Lunch Ideas

Mexican quinoa

Looking for quinoa recipes?

Quinoa may be a bit trendy and we’ve made a whole bunch of recipes with it, but it is so delicious and versatile it’s hard not to love. It’s also a great gluten-free option and there are lots of great vegan quinoa recipes as well. Here are a few of our favorite quinoa recipes:

Mexican quinoa | Quinoa in a bowl

Looking for potluck side dish recipes?

This Mexican quinoa recipe is perfect for taking to a summer potluck, or as a healthy lunch. Here are a few more side dish recipes perfect for potlucks:

This recipe is…

This Mexican quinoa recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Mexican Quinoa


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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 as a main course 1x

Description

This flavorful and easy Mexican quinoa recipe is inspired by Mexican flavors, featuring black beans, corn, tomatoes, and fajita seasoning.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ½ cups dry quinoa
  • 15-ounce can black beans (or 1 ½ cups cooked or Instant Pot black beans)
  • 1 ear corn (or 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed)
  • 3 green onions
  • ½ large zucchini (or one small)
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fajita seasoning or taco seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa (or use our Instant Pot quinoa method): Rinse the 1 ½ cups quinoa and drain completely. Place quinoa in a medium saucepan with 2 ¼ cups water and a few pinches kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low. Cover the pot and simmer for about 13 to 15 minutes, until the water has been completely absorbed (part the quinoa with a fork to check if the water is absorbed; if not, cook for a few more minutes). Turn off the heat and let sit covered to cool for about 5 minutes, then fluff the quinoa with a fork.
  2. If using canned black beans, drain the beans. Shuck the corn and cut the corn from the cob (or defrost the corn). Thinly slice the green onions. Dice the zucchini. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Place all vegetables in a bowl.
  3. When the quinoa is done, let it cool slightly, then add it to the bowl with the vegetables. Stir in the fajita seasoning, kosher salt, olive oil, and white wine vinegar, and mix gently to combine.

Notes

Note that quinoa can vary. We prefer quinoa we’ve bought from bulk bins, which always has the correct texture. We recently bought some packaged that was a very dense texture, took longer to cook, and also had a fair amount of debris. Make sure to rinse the quinoa before using (though if you have a good product, it may not be necessary). You may need to adjust the cook time depending on the type of quinoa.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican Inspired

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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14 Comments

  1. Rachel says:

    This was great! I added chopped cilantro, avocado, and some lime juice. Very tasty. Printed it out for my recipe book.






  2. Sally Schroeder says:

    This was delicious. I did make a few modifications: I didn’t have scallions so minced some Vidalia onion instead, which I lightly sauteed in olive oil with the zucchini. When this mixture was added to the quinoa, beans and corn, the result was sufficiently moist that it didn’t need the dressing.

  3. Susan says:

    Hi – I made this for lunch today… It was really great! I substituted the juice of one lime, in place of the vinegar, and added some diced avocado and chopped cilantro, to give it more southwestern flavor!

  4. Suzanne says:

    I tried the recipe and I was very pleased with it! I wonder if making the recipe with part and part vegetable broth would enhance the flavor?

  5. Adam says:

    I didn’t measure, but I substituted oregano, cumin, chili powder, and garlic for the fajita seasoning and it turned out great!

  6. Margaret says:

    Our food philosophy is on the same page but….if you use canned beans be sure to drain/rinse, lots of brine in the canned liquid.

    I’m an oldie, but now am a flexetarian too and I love it.

  7. Sara says:

    Can’t wait to try this! Just double checking though, the corn and zucchini are never cooked?

    1. Alex says:

      That’s right! Let us know if you like it :-)

  8. Mary Ann says:

    Can you tell us how to make the fajita seasoning?

    1. Alex says:

      Sorry, we just used a store-bought mix. It’d be fun to try our own though!

  9. Kathryn says:

    This sounds so tasty and exactly the kind of simple and delicious food that I need more of in my life!

  10. Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life says:

    This will be a perfect healthy lunchbox filler for next week. I love the combination of veggies, beans and quinoa with the fajita seasoning. Definitely going to make my colleagues jealous with this one!

  11. Katie @ Whole Nourishment says:

    Planning ahead is so key, I couldn’t agree more. And quinoa is something I never tire of either, it’s definitely a staple in our house. Southwestern flavors seem to go so well with quinoa and I love everything about this salad.

  12. Amy @ Parsley In My Teeth says:

    Quinoa has to be one of my favorite “go to” foods. We always have a batch in the fridge. I love to see what ingredients and seasonings other people use and this sounds like a wonderful combination!

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