Slow Cooker Cheesy Enchilada Quinoa Bake

A simple, slow cooker meal – cheesy enchilada quinoa. This dish has minimal prep time, tastes incredible, and is very healthy for you.

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This is now my third quinoa slow cooker dish featured here on the blog.

And, I have to say, it takes the favorite place. Although I love the quinoa fajitas and tex mex quinoa, this cheesy enchilada quinoa is where it’s at!

I am obsessed with slow cooker meals + quinoa. Like, healthy, quick, easy. And it’s pretty much my lunch for the rest of the week. All of my favorite things.

I’m kind of surprised I don’t have a quinoa slow cooker meal featured everyday with the amount of times I make and eat these dishes!

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Plus this one has plen-tty of protein. Black beans + ground turkey + quinoa. This dish will keep you full for hours!

I used some Honeysuckle White ground turkey for this dish which adds a lot of protein but fewer calories than chicken and less fat than pork. PLUS more protein than beef with over 50% less fat (!!!) This ground turkey is SO easy to prepare – hello five minutes! It took almost no time at all to brown it on the stove top on a skillet. Once the ground turkey is browned it get’s put into the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients.

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After the ground turkey is browned and put into the slow cooker, you can just throw in the rest of the ingredients. The only things that needs to be cut are the sweet pepper and onion. Both of which, you can leave out if desired.

Also, don’t forget to rinse the quinoa. By rinsing the quinoa it removes the saponin that has an earthy bitter taste to it. I place the dry quinoa in a fine mesh sieve and wash it well under hot water. I massage the quinoa under the water to really scrub it out. Then just pop it into the crockpot.

And everything gets covered with lots of enchilada sauce + a little bit of water:

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Then give it a good stir…

Place it on high and allow it to cook for 3 to 3 and 1/2 hours. Or until all the liquid is absorbed into the quinoa.

If you must cook it on low you can, but I’ve found that quinoa tends to be a bit more mushy when it’s cooked for longer periods of time. I’ve found 3 to 3 and 1/2 hours to be the perfect time for the quinoa (and other ingredients) to cook in the slow cooker. The quinoa is fluffy and light, plus the flavors are all just right!

A simple, slow cooker meal - cheesy enchilada quinoa I www.chelseasmessyapron.com I #slowcooker #quinoa #cleaneatingPlus your house will be smelling ahhhhmazying!

Now here’s the fun part. And a little bit of a twist….. Okay it’s not that exciting. But pretty much you can do two things with this mix. Or at least two things that I’m sharing here, because I’m sure there are lot of creative ways to use this mix. One way is to cover it with cheese, garnish it with some cilantro, toss on some green onions, scoop on some sour cream, and DEVOUR.

Another way is to use the filling like traditional enchiladas. Warm up some tortillas, place some cheese in the middle, add a large scoop of the mixture, top with more cheese, and roll it up. Place some salsa or enchilada sauce on top with a dollup of sour cream and some cilantro if desired. DEVOUR round two.

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4.9 from 16 reviews
Slow Cooker Cheesy Enchilada Quinoa
 
Author:
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground turkey, I used Honeysuckle White
  • 1 and 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/2 cup sweet bell peppers, I used orange
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can (19 ounces) enchilada sauce*
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups cheddar or Mexican cheese
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, sour cream, green onions, 1 small jalopeno
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, cook the ground turkey until browned through. Drain out any grease and place in the slow cooker.
  2. Add in the uncooked quinoa (make sure to rinse first), the black beans (drained and rinsed), the frozen corn, the diced tomatoes and green chilies (do not drain), the salsa (I used medium), and minced garlic.
  3. Chop up the onion and sweet bell pepper into small pieces. Add to the slow cooker. If desired chop up a jalopeno and add it too.
  4. Add in the water, enchilada sauce (I used mild, but use whatever you like best), chili powder, and cumin.
  5. Stir everything together really well. Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for 3 to 3 and 1/2 hours or until the liquid is all absorbed into the mixture.
  6. Once it is done cooking, remove the lid and stir everything again. Stir in the cheese and fresh cilantro (stems removed and chopped).
  7. If desired add in the fresh lime juice.
  8. Add a dollup of sour cream and some chopped green onions if desired.
  9. **If you want to make these into more of traditional enchiladas: warm up the tortillas, spread some cheese on one side, a large spoonful of the mixture on top of the cheese, and more cheese on top of the mixture. Roll it up and top with more salsa or enchilada sauce. Add sour cream, green onions, and cilantro if desired.
Notes
For the enchilada sauce either use one large can (19 ounces) or two smaller cans (10 ounces each). When cooking the ground turkey, make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

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Here are some more slow cooker meals:

An easy and healthy dinner of Crockpot Quinoa and Sweet Potato Fajitas from Chelsea's Messy Apron

Crockpot Quinoa and Sweet Potato Fajitas

Sweet pulled pork made in the slow cooker and smothered in the sweetest honey-chipotle BBQ sauce.

Sweet BBQ Pulled Pork Taquitos

final

Tex Mex Quinoa Dish

 This post brought to you by Honeysuckle White® and Shady Brook Farms®. All opinions are 100% mine.

Comments

  1. says

    This looks amazing Chelsea! Love quinoa and enchiladas – making this in the slow cooker is such an awesome idea too! Pinning :)

  2. says

    What an awesome slow cooker dish! I’m thinking I would have to do the enchilada option because enchiladas are one of my favorite things ever. But I bet this would be good no matter how you eat it! :) Pinning!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Haha I love both ways :) But yes enchilada style is SO good!! Thanks Beth and thanks for the pin!

  3. says

    Mmmm this looks amazing! I love anything enchilada-like and in my crockpot? Double win! I’ve only recently started putting quinoa in my crockpot for meals and I am in love!

  4. says

    I have never slow cooked quinoa, BUT this looks like a wonderful recipe to give that a try.
    I do love my slow cooker and I do love Mexican food. Sounds like I am more than half way there for motivation.

  5. says

    Ahh out of all of those slow cooker recipes that you mentioned, I’d have a hard time picking out a fav. I know I’d love all of them but if I had to pick a fav, this one would be it! I love anything that is similar to an enchilada. Great idea to make an enchilada recipe with quinoa!

  6. Rachel says

    Made this yesterday for dinner and it was delicious! I usually make quinoa in a rice cooker and was skeptical it would cook correctly in the slow cooker, but it turned out perfectly. Didn’t use any corn (not listed in recipe when I bookmarked it), but did add lots of chopped cilantro, cheese, and the juice of one lime to the dish after it cooked for three hours in the slow cooker. We ate in nacho style yesterday, yum. :) Thanks for the recipe. This is definitely going in the rotation!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Yay so glad to hear that you liked it Rachel!! And nacho style? Totally doing that next time :)

  7. Brenda Smith says

    Ok so I made it, it was great!! However, I was looking for the nutritional info so I could figure the WW points value? Could you help me with this??

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Here are the stats for this dish Brenda:

      Nutrition Facts
      Serving Size 1 Recipe total Servings 8
      Calories 410
      Total Fat 8.58 g
      Saturated Fat 2.86g
      Monosaturated Fat 2.78g
      Polysaturated Fat 2.95g
      Total Carbohydrate 55 g
      Fiber 11 g
      Sugar 3.5 g
      Protein 27.8 g
      Cholesterol 48.61 mg
      Calcium 152 mg
      Iron 4.91 mg
      Potassium 1127 mg
      Sodium 535 mg
      Zinc 4.5 mg
      Thiamin 0.59 mg
      Riboflavin 0.35 mg
      Niacin 4.89 mg
      Vitamin B6 0.62 mg
      Vitamin C 11.6 mg
      Vitamin B12 0.77 Ug
      Vitamin A 806 IU
      Vitamin E 1.53 mg
      Vitamin K 4 Ug
      Points 8
      Points Plus 10
      *The nutritional values are determined by the total ingredients divided by the number of servings for each recipe. Serving sizes may vary. The formula used here for points was obtained from public sources and is an empirical match to Weight Watchers calculators, but it is not an “official” Weight Watcher’s calculator.

  8. Scottie says

    As a heads up, in the text of the post you say to cook it on high, but in the listed directions you say to cook it on low. Just thought I’d let you know! It’s a delicious recipe!

  9. Kate Y says

    Chelsea,

    I made this recipe last week because I was thrilled to find a slow cooker recipe that had relatively healthy ingredients. It’s fantastic. It’s so filling and tasty, and I think it would still be good if you only put in less than the 2 cups of cheese if you’re watching your fat or dairy. I’m lazy and didn’t even bother slicing chives and cilantro and it’s still delicious. I was a little confused about the cook temp. I did the 3.5 hours on low, but my onions and peppers were still a bit crunchy, so I left it in longer. Fabulous recipe, I’m adding it to my favorite go-to recipe collection. Thanks for sharing!

    Kate

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Hey Kate!! Thanks so, so much for taking the time to comment and for your review! I so appreciate it :) I updated the cooking info, so sorry for any confusion! And I definitely agree – we’ve had it with less cheese and still love it! But I’m all about lots of cheese :)

  10. Heidi says

    This looks so delish! I’ve been on a freezer meal kick…Do you think I could just put all the goods in a ziploc and freeze until the night before (flinging in frig to thaw)…and then fling in the crock pot in the morning??? Thanks for the yummy recipes!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      You are so welcome Heidi! I haven’t frozen it so I can’t say for sure, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work!! You would want to cook the meat first if you are adding it in! Hope that helps.

  11. Lilac Mess says

    Made this recipe last night and it was soooooo good. Even my picky husband had seconds! It was my first time cooking (and eating) quinoa. I ate the leftovers for breakfast I loved it so much. :) Thanks for an awesome recipe!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      YAY! I love to hear that! Thanks so much for your comment Lilac – I’m so glad you enjoyed this. And now I definitely need to try eating it for breakfast :)

  12. L says

    This looks great! Does anyone know if it would work to cook rice in the slow cooker instead of quinoa? Please let me know if you’ve tried this and/or have any recommendations how to do so!

  13. Shannon says

    This was amazing!!!! Thank you for the recipe ~ this was my first attempt at cooking with (and eating) quinoa! My family loved it (2 boys ages 8 & 5). I followed your recipe exactly but added a sprinkle of taco seasoning to ground chicken and added 1 can of chili beans with sauce. I ate it over copped romaine lettuce and my family ate it like chili. I can’t wait to try your other meals!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Hi Shannon!! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for your review!! I am so happy you all enjoyed it and had a good first experience with quinoa!! I love your additions and love the idea of having it over lettuce! Thanks again :)

  14. says

    This looks great! I’ve never cooked quinoa in the slow cooker. I’m wondering how long you would cook it on low? Will that give the same results as 3-3 1/2 hrs on high.

    • chelseamessyapron says

      I haven’t always had great success cooking quinoa in a slow cooker on low. That’s why I didn’t give directions for it on low. I would recommend sticking with just cooking it on high!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      I’m not sure!! Green enchilada sauce isn’t my favorite ever, so it doesn’t sound awesome to me, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work and if you really like green enchilada sauce I bet it would be good. If you do give it a try, I’d love to hear the results!!

  15. Dori says

    This is by far the best quinoa recipe I’ve tried! It’s kind of tough for me to do a 3 hour crockpot meal but I just plan on a day that it works for me. So yummy! Thanks!

  16. Karen says

    My fitness pal puts this recipe at over 650 calories. I was blown away. I am glad to see that it is not according to your recipe. Anyway, could include the nutrition chart with the recipe so we don’t have to look in comments for it? I do love the recipe but I would have to change it if it was over 650 calories.
    Thanks for the wonderful presentation.

    • chelseamessyapron says

      I’m not sure why My Fitness Pal is putting this recipe at such a high caloric count. Here’s the calorie count that was generated when I inserted all of the ingredients for this recipe:

      Serving Size 1 Recipe total Servings 8
      Calories 410
      Total Fat 8.58 g

  17. Megan says

    I made this tonight, and it has amazing flavor! I went ahead and pre-portioned it out into roughly 1 cup servings. I’m freezing three servings, so I’ll be able to share how well it freezes. Easy recipe to make and would be great as tacos or as I’m planning to eat it, with shredded lettuce. Mine wasn’t runny enough to eat chili style as someone else mentioned.

  18. lacey says

    I had no idea what quinoa was until I saw this recipe, Cooking as we speak. smells awesome!! Do you have other healthy recipes that are kid friendly?

    • chelseamessyapron says

      So glad to introduce you to one of my very favorite foods! Hope you all love it! Most of the meals I make are geared towards healthy eating and family friendly (all taste tested by my little boy!) feel free to browse my recipe index for some more recipes. My little guys favorite is probably the one skillet cheesy taco quinoa!

  19. Rachel says

    Hi, This looks amazing. Say we *gasp* dont have a slow cooker right now. Could a dutch oven work on say medium high for the same amount of time? maybe just adding liquid if necessary? thanks for the recipe and my new pinned blog!

  20. Wendy Tucker says

    This dish is amazing!!! We just finished dinner and the entire family loved it!! We cannot wait for leftovers tomorrow! Thanks for sharing.

  21. Coco says

    I made this tonight and it was really good! I didn’t have enough Enchilada sauce so I used canned tomato sauce. Delish!

  22. Andrea says

    How do you think the recipe would turn out WITHOUT the enchilada sauce? That is the only ingredient I don’t have and to be honest I forgot to pick it up. And on this snowy day….I won’t be going to the store anytime soon. Any replacement ideas?

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Hi Andrea! The enchilada sauce is a pretty key element, I would wait to make this until you have some or you could try making your own homemade enchilada sauce if you have those ingredients. The blog Gimme Some Oven has a great recipe for homemade enchilada sauce. Hope that helps.

  23. Tina says

    I just made this tonight, using my slow cooker for the first time, and it turned out perfect!! I substituted the turkey for “veggie ground round” and used fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones and it was so delicious! It had a ton of flavour but wasn’t spicy. I will definitely make it again :)

  24. Kari says

    I figure that I can make this in a skillet instead due to my commute and I don’t want it sitting to long in the crock pot. Mushy quinoa is not yummy at all. :) I typically make my quinoa in a rice steamer and it’s always perfect. So would you make your quinoa separately and then combine it at the end or would you have the quinoa cook in all the juices in the skillet? Thanks! :)

    • chelseamessyapron says

      You can plug in the ingredients to an online calorie calculator to find the nutritional information. I know My fitness pal is a popular one!

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