We love healthy one skillet dinners; fewer dishes to wash is always a win! Made with quinoa, black beans, fresh veggies, and spices, this one pan Mexican quinoa skillet is a balanced, tasty, and nutritious meal that your family is sure to love!
Three Must-Know Cooking Skills
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Culinary Tips for Mexican Quinoa Skillet
The amount of liquid in this recipe barely covers the ingredients, so it’s important that you follow the directions to stir the dish twice during the cooking process. If you see some crunchy looking quinoa on top, be sure to stir it to the bottom to let it get it some liquid. The quinoa is ready when a white ring pops out of the grain.
If you use a skillet that is larger or smaller than 10”, cook time and liquid needed may vary.
Quinoa can have a bitter coating, so we recommend rinsing it in a fine mesh strainer before cooking. Some people are not sensitive to it, but others – especially children – might be. Test it out for yourself and see if you notice a difference, rinsed versus unrinsed.
If you find that you really like quinoa and want to learn how to make more quinoa recipes, check out our video on how to cook quinoa on the stovetop.
- Quinoa: substitute brown rice, millet, or bulgur wheat in this recipe. However, cooking time and liquid requirements will vary.
- Beans: substitute any beans of your choice (pinto, garbanzo, kidney, etc.).
- Salsa: use any salsa of your choice – mild, medium, hot, green, chipotle, fire roasted, etc.
- Bell Pepper: substitute any color of your choice.
- Onion: substitute yellow or white onion if desired.
- Canned corn: substitute frozen or fresh off the cob.
- Broth: use water if you don’t have broth. You may want to add a little more salt if you choose to just use water.
- Cheese: substitute your favorite kind of cheese (Colby jack, pepper jack, cheddar, etc.). For stronger varieties such as feta or goat, use less than ½ cup.
Quinoa Skillet Recipe Variations
There are nearly endless ways to customize this southwest black bean and quinoa skillet to your preferences.
Add other ingredients to your taste – fresh minced garlic, enchilada sauce, extra spices (paprika, cayenne pepper, Mexican oregano, etc.), or even more vegetables.
We love buying our spices from The Spice House. Click on the picture below to view & try out hundreds of flavorful spices and herbs!
Turn it into a vegetarian quinoa bowl recipe by cooking the quinoa beforehand, then mixing together the remaining ingredients.
Want to add some meat to this vegetarian quinoa skillet recipe? Add cooked shredded chicken with the quinoa, or brown some ground turkey along with the onions and peppers.
Like your cheese golden and bubbly? After the quinoa is fully cooked, throw the pan under the broiler for a few minutes until the cheese turns golden brown; just make sure your skillet is oven-safe first!
Make it a vegan Mexican quinoa skillet by leaving off the cheese.
- 10″ Skillet or Cast Iron Skillet – we believe that a good cast iron skillet is an essential piece of kitchen equipment, as it is incredibly versatile and develops “character” over time.
- Chef’s Knife
- Cutting Board
- Liquid Measuring Cup
- Dry Measuring Cups & Spoons
Health Benefits of this One Pan Mexican Quinoa Skillet
The featured nutritious ingredients in this vegetarian quinoa skillet are quinoa, black beans, veggies, and spices.
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah)
Although quinoa is technically a pseudo cereal grain, we consider it a whole grain due to its nutritional content and cooking method. It is packed with plant-based protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals. Quinoa comes in a variety of colors, and all are healthy; we think that the tri-color variety is fun and appealing!
Beans are one of our favorite foods to recommend to people because they are packed with high quality nutrients: plant-based protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients promote gut health, decrease risk of developing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and promote a healthy weight. All of the world’s longest lived populations consume beans daily. When purchasing canned beans, look for low-sodium varieties.
Bell peppers are a great source of disease-fighting phytochemicals and vitamins A & C. Red onions contain soluble fiber and phytochemicals that may reduce disease risk.
Spices of all varieties contain phytochemicals which may reduce disease risk. Additionally, spices add flavor without adding salt. This may be helpful for individuals working to reduce their salt intake for heart and kidney health.
Check out our Food as Medicine article to learn more about these health benefits.
While the quinoa is cooking, think about how you want to garnish the dish. Garnishes can add texture, color, and even more flavor! Some of our favorite garnishes include fresh avocado, chopped cilantro, plain Greek yogurt, and diced tomatoes.
How to Store Leftovers
The flavors in this dish continue to develop over time, so it makes for great leftovers! Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days for optimal freshness.
Know that you’ve got a busy few weeks ahead? This Mexican quinoa recipe can be frozen too! Cook up the recipe, let it cool, then place it in a freezer-safe container or pre-portioned individual containers for a quick and easy meal any time you need it!
Want more recipes like this?
Do you love the smoky, sweet, and spicy flavors of this recipe? Try out some of our other favorite recipes that use many similar spices!
One Pan Mexican Quinoa Skillet with Black Beans
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ½ medium green bell pepper, diced (~½ cup)
- ½ small red onion, diced (~½ cup)
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 can corn, drained, rinsed
- 1 can black beans, drained, rinsed
- 1 cup salsa
- ¾ cup chicken or vegetable broth
- Salt to taste (¼ teaspoon recommended)
- ½ cup shredded Mexican blend cheese
- Heat a large 10" skillet over medium heat. Add oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the bell pepper and onion. Sauté until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, and quinoa and sauté for 30 seconds more, stirring constantly.
- Add the corn, black beans, salsa, broth, and salt to the pan. Stir to combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover with a lid, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring twice during the cooking process.
- Once quinoa is fully cooked, turn off heat, top with shredded cheese, then cover briefly to melt.
- Top individual servings with desired garnishes. Enjoy!
Fresh chopped cilantro Plain Greek yogurt Diced avocado Diced tomato Diced green onion This recipe can easily be adjusted to your taste. Substitute your favorite beans, switch up the type of cheese, or try out different kinds of salsas – the sky’s the limit! If you use a skillet that is larger or smaller than 10”, cook time and liquid needed may vary.