{Slow Cooker} Quinoa Tex Mex

A one-dish, slow-cooker tex mex quinoa casserole. This dish is bursting with fresh and healthy flavors with some good spice plus a great summer recipe. This dish is vegetarian, but chicken, ground beef, or ground turkey can easily be added in. 

A one-dish, slow-cooker tex mex quinoa casserole. This casserole is bursting with fresh and healthy flavors with some good spice. This dish is vegetarian, but chicken, ground beef, or ground turkey can easily be added in.

I tend to kind of forget about my slow cooker as soon as it gets warm outside.

Which is totally a shame, because slow cooker meals are my favorite.

Do a little work in the morning and it’s like a magical dinner appears come dinner time. I’m kind of obsessed with that idea.

And with slow cookers. Annnnd with this meal.

A one-dish, slow-cooker tex mex quinoa casserole. This casserole is bursting with fresh and healthy flavors with some good spice. This dish is vegetarian, but chicken, ground beef, or ground turkey can easily be added in.

Oh. And you know those slow cooker meals that take way too long to prepare before they are even in the slow cooker? Yeah…this is not one of those meals.

Mostly just opening a few cans and throwing them in the pot. The only thing that needs to be chopped are the peppers and onion. Not too bad right? This meal is so easy.

A one-dish, slow-cooker tex mex quinoa casserole. This casserole is bursting with fresh and healthy flavors with some good spice. This dish is vegetarian, but chicken, ground beef, or ground turkey can easily be added in.Also, this tex mex quinoa dish is super healthy. And vegetarian.

Oh, but doesn’t have to be vegetarian if you don’t want it. Some chicken breasts or cooked ground beef/turkey can definitely be added in. If you want to do chicken, add in the raw boneless skinless chicken breasts at the beginning with everything else. With ground beef or turkey, you’ll want to cook that all the way through and throw it in with everything about 30 or so minutes before the meal is ready to be done.

A one-dish, slow-cooker tex mex quinoa casserole. This casserole is bursting with fresh and healthy flavors with some good spice. This dish is vegetarian, but chicken, ground beef, or ground turkey can easily be added in.

Also, slow cooker meals are pretty easy to adapt. You can trade out vegetables for ones you prefer more.

And you could change the type of cheese you use. I used mozzarella which I loved, but a cheddar or Colby jack would be pretty great too. I used a can of Hunt’s tomatoes in this dish. The whole can goes in, you don’t even need to drain it! Hunt’s tomatoes uses a unique flashsteam peeling method which makes their tomatoes super fresh and tasty.

Time to dust off that slow cooker, because they are totally great for summer meals and this quinoa tex mex!

A one-dish, slow-cooker tex mex quinoa casserole. This casserole is bursting with fresh and healthy flavors with some good spice. This dish is vegetarian, but chicken, ground beef, or ground turkey can easily be added in.

4.8 from 16 reviews
{Slow Cooker} Quinoa Tex Mex
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 and 1/2 cups quinoa, well rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained (I used Hunt's)
  • 1 can (15.25 ounces) corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup sweet peppers, chopped
  • 1 poblano chili pepper (~3/4 cup), chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 cups water (or chicken broth)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2-4 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 and 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Optional: green onions, salt and pepper to taste
  1. Rinse the quinoa well. I rinse my quinoa in a mesh strainer under hot water.
  2. Place the washed quinoa, drained and rinsed black beans, undrained diced tomatoes, drained and rinsed corn in the slow cooker.
  3. Chop the sweet peppers and poblano chili pepper (remove seeds if desired). Add the chopped peppers, minced garlic, and chopped onion to the slow cooker. Stir everything together. Add in the chili powder, ground cumin, and water. Stir again and cook for 3-4 hours on high or until the water is completely absorbed and the quinoa is cooked through. All slow cookers cook a little differently so make sure to occasionally check the dish to make sure the quinoa isn't burning or sticking all to the sides.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, taco seasoning to taste, and green onions if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Stir in the mozzarella cheese and enjoy immediately.
  6. Have leftovers? I loved placing the mixture into a large tortilla (with extra cheese), rolling it up tight, and placing it in a skillet to brown the edges (1-2 minutes, switching sides every 30 seconds at medium heat). SO good!
RECIPE UPDATE: I have had a few readers report a mushy consistency. It seems when readers are getting this result they are cooking it for too long and/or on low. I've never had a mushy consistency with this recipe which is why I specify in the instructions to cook it 3-4 hours on high (no options for cooking on low). For best results (as all slow cookers cook a little differently) check yours every hour and only cook on high for a maximum of 4 hours.

 Here are some more quinoa recipes:

Slow Cooker Mexican Quinoa

Slow Cooker Mexican Quinoa


{Slow Cooker} Cheesy Quinoa Enchilada Bake

The quinoa, chicken, and veggies are all cooked in ONE dish - the crockpot makes this dinner incredibly simple to make!

Crockpot Quinoa, Chicken Teriyaki, and Veggies

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

Crockpot Quinoa and Sweet Potato Fajitas

Quinoa Chicken Bowls with a Mango Salsa

Quinoa Chicken Bowls with a Mango Salsa

One pot Quinoa and Vegetable Dish

One pot Quinoa and Vegetable Dish

Detox Quinoa Salad

Detox Quinoa Salad

Greek Quinoa Salad on Chelsea's Messy Apron

Greek Quinoa Salad


Slow Cooker Quinoa, Chicken, and Sweet Potato Soup

Here’s where you can find the Hunt’s tomatoes at Wal-Mart:

Hunt's Tomatoes location

Special thanks to Collective Bias and Hunt’s for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions are my own.


    • jennifer says

      If I want to add chicken should I brown it first? I am.assuming so since this recipe only cooks for 30 minutes in the crockpot. I have been using my crockpot so much in this hot weather.

      • Brenda says

        I think the recipe says on HIGH in the crock pot for 3-4 hours. Double check your recipe. Also she mentioned if using boneless skinless breast, just pop it in raw with other ingredients. If using ground turkey, brown separately and add during last 30 minutes of crock cook time.

        This looks delicious. I can not wait to try it! Thanks!!!

  1. says

    This dish looks so great, Chelsea! I tend to forget about slow cookers during the summer too, but they’re definitely the easiest way to go. And I totally know what you mean about those recipes that call for you to cook a whole bunch of stuff BEFORE you put it in the crock pot. Kinda defeats the purpose, haha. This looks so great and easy, though! Love it!

  2. says

    Nothing like throwing a bunch of delicious things into a slow cooker, to see it magically transform into something delicious without slaving over a stove 😀 Love the flavors in this, and your use of quinoa! A comfort meal, that’s healthy! Love the cilantro and lime juice! I bet a nice chunk of avocado would be perfect to garnish too!

  3. says

    Yay for crockpot meals! I love them for busy days – chop a few things in the morning and then dinner at night is so easy! This looks absolutely delicious – love me some tex mex!

  4. says

    This is just the perfect crockpot meal for a summer day! I need to utilize my slow cooker more in the summer as I’ll be out and about with the kids…it seems like there’s less time to cook in the summer! Pinning. :)

  5. says

    I’ve totally been neglecting my crock-pot since the weather got warmer….I should start using it again since I’d rather be outside enjoying the weather too. This quinoa casserole looks incredible – I love the tex mex flavors. Happy happy birthday – hope you’re having an amazing day girl :)

  6. says

    Slow cooker, Tex-Mex, Quinoa, Casserole — these words are like music to my ears! I love that they are all in one dish! I’m also loving the idea of adding chicken. It’s so hard to find good slow cooker recipes for the summertime, but this is just perfect. Pinned!

  7. Jamie @ Love Bakes Good Cakes says

    This sounds awesome, Chelsea! I love that you made this in the slow cooker – I had no idea you could cook quinoa in one!! Pinned! Thanks so much for sharing at Freedom Fridays! :)

  8. says

    This looks delicious, and I love how you can just dump everything in. That’s my kind of cooking! Pinned this one, because I’m working on adding more quinoa to my diet.

  9. Valerie says

    OMG, I made this today….and it is SO delish! Shared it with another family, who also raved. Thanks for sharing

  10. says

    Now this is what I’m talking about! I’ve decided to try to quit eating meat again (with the exception of seafood but no more chicken, beef or pork!) so this recipe is perfect. Plus, who doesn’t love using their slow cooker, especially during the summer! Thanks for the recipe, Chelsea!

  11. says

    I love quinoa, but have only used it in salads. Can’t wait to try it in the slow cooker, especially with a Tex-Mex twist.
    And the added bonus is that this is such a healthy meal. The idea of starting it in the morning and coming home to a meal just waiting to be eaten will just add less stress to the day. Your presentation in the bowl is a great idea–makes everything clear and simple. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Mikal says

    I made this last night. The flavors were great! I think I did something wrong though because the texture was really not what I was expecting. It came out kind of like a mush pile with the consistency of oatmeal. I didn’t wash the quinoa first. Also, I added two boneless skinless chicken breasts. Maybe that was the cause? Outside of the kind of gooey consistency it was awesome!

    I recommend that if you do add chicken to make sure to season it individually before sticking it in the pot.

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Thanks so much for the comment! I can’t figure out why your consistency was so off. I’ve made this with chicken and had the same consistency with or without it. I wonder if you maybe cooked it too long? How long did you cook it for?

      And great idea about pre-seasoning the chicken!

      • Mikal says

        I cooked it on low for 6 1/2 hours but then it sat on warm from probably another 3 hours probably. I went to bed and didn’t wake up when I planned on it :). Didn’t even think about that! Maybe next time I’ll try it on high and actually make sure I can take it off the heat when it is done.

        I’m actually eating it right now and it really is quite yummy! Thank you for the recipe! I look forward to making it again – and better! Ha!

    • Mikal says


      I made this again and cooked it for the RIGHT about of time. I did 3 hours on high. I also added the chicken breasts and seasoned them with a little salt, pepper, and homemade taco seasoning first.

      It came out EXCELLENT! I even got a compliment from my boyfriend, which is unheard of when it comes to food!

      • Ashley says

        And this is why you should always read the comments first…
        Mine also turned out mushy but I did the same thing, cooked on low for 6-7 hrs instead of the recommended high for 3 hrs. I’ll have to try it again :)

        • chelseamessyapron says

          Yes, unfortunately cooking it on low doesn’t work with this recipe so that’s why I didn’t include an option for cooking on low in the instructions! Hope it works out better for you next time :)

    • chelseamessyapron says

      When it is dry. I put mine in a fine mesh sieve and wash it really well. Rinsing the quinoa removes the saponin that had a very bitter and earthy taste.

    • chelseamessyapron says

      It will work without cheese, but I think a lot of the flavor comes from the cheese, so it will definitely be more bland without it.

  13. Katrina says

    Happy to have found this on Pinterest! I made it tonight and it is delicious. I too cooked it too long as I didn’t fully read the instructions while rushing to get out the door this morning. Happily, in it’s “mushier” state, it was great as a burrito filling topped with cheese and hot sauce.

  14. says

    I’ve never felt compelled to leave a review for a recipe…until now! This is my new delish, healthy go-to. I make it weekly for myself, and even my meat-loving carnivore of a boyfriend can’t get enough of this meat-free tastiness. Thanks so much for this tasty recipe!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      I am so happy you loved it Jenn! Haha my husband is a huge carnivore too! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review and kind words :)

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Thanks Tammy! I haven’t tried the recipe with anything else, so I’m not sure what would work in its place. You could try brown rice, but I can’t say if that would or wouldn’t work! Sorry!

  15. Alanna says

    Has anyone tried to make this a freezer meal? I was thinking you could maybe add the spices and canned items to a freezer bag and add the grain, water, and fresh peppers later, but would that really save that much time in the long run?

  16. says

    Omg looks so good! I just bought some quinoa the other day so I’ll definitely try this soon!

    I noticed all of the food blogger comments. Is there a comment support group for food bloggers? If so would you please email me some info? I’m new to food blogging and would love the support of some fellow food bloggers!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Hey Sharon! There isn’t a comment support group, but bloggers are super supportive! Just by commenting on lots of other blogs most people will generally return a comment on your blog :) I just checked out your site & love it!

  17. naisha says

    My husband made this for last night’s dinner. It was fantastic! We didn’t have enough chilli powder so he used a tbsp of chipolte chili powder as a substitute. Added a bit of a wonderful bite to it! Put it in a little corn tortilla with a dollop of sour cream and avacado slices….to die for! So glad I found this recipe!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      I have GOT to try chipotle chili powder – sounds delicious! Thanks so much for giving this a try and leaving a comment :)

  18. heather richardville says

    LOVED this recipe :) Quick, easy, and nutritious! We topped ours with fat free sour cream, salsa, and chopped avocado. My husband promptly grabbed the baby from me and offered to entertain her while I got him seconds 😉 great recipe!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Thank you SO much Heather! I so appreciate your sweet comment haha and it made me laugh :) Thanks again!!

  19. Tammy says

    This was delicious! I was a little confused about the cook time – the recipe says 3-4 or 5-6 hours on high. I ended up cooking it for 5 hours on low. I added 3 chicken breasts, and I added 4 T taco seasoning, but left out the additional cumin and chili powder. I used Colby jack cheese. Hubby said it was awesome and got 3 helpings! All my kids loved it too- veggies and all! Thank you!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      SO glad to hear you enjoyed it! And sorry for the confusion on the cook time, I fixed the recipe :) Thanks so much for leaving a review and so glad your kids liked it :) Have a good one!!

  20. Laurie says

    Hi Chelsea! I’m brand new to your blog, but I tried this recipe tonight, and I’m a huge fan! I’m excited to explore your blog more and try more of your recipes. Thanks!!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Hi Laurie! I am so glad!! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment – it means a lot to me! Have a wonderful day :)

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Slow Cooker Quinoa Tex Mex Dish
      Nutrition Facts
      Serving Size 1 Recipe total Servings 6
      Calories 660
      Total Fat 9.95 g
      Saturated Fat 3.98g
      Monosaturated Fat 2.82g
      Polysaturated Fat 3.15g
      Total Carbohydrate 110.6 g
      Fiber 17.9 g
      Sugar 5.3 g
      Protein 32.8 g
      Cholesterol 15.26 mg
      Calcium 331 mg
      Iron 6.89 mg
      Potassium 1538 mg
      Sodium 83 mg
      Zinc 5.8 mg
      Thiamin 0.95 mg
      Riboflavin 0.5 mg
      Niacin 4.42 mg
      Vitamin B6 0.89 mg
      Vitamin C 58.3 mg
      Vitamin B12 0.26 Ug
      Vitamin A 1758 IU
      Vitamin E 2.29 mg
      Vitamin K 8.8 Ug
      Points 13
      Points Plus 16
      *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.

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Hey Julie! The nutrition facts are one comment above yours; there are 660 calories if you divide this recipe into 6 servings! :)

  21. kara says

    I think there was too much liquid in this recipe. I just made it, and it has been cooking for 3.5h on high(the last 30m without the lid) and is still very liquidy. The quinoa was cooked around the 3h mark, but it was more like quinoa soup. Tastes good, but I’d cut the liquid by a drastic amount if I made this again.

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Thanks so much for your comment and feedback. So interesting you had lots of extra water; I’ve never had any whenever I’ve made this! I wonder if it’s a difference of slow cookers? Did it still taste good if you drained off all the water?

      • Rene says

        It could be from a difference in quinoa also. I have noticed that the red quinoa that I normally use doesn’t need as much liquid added to it as does the white quinoa.

  22. says

    This was delicious! Wow I was amazed at how easy this was to make and how good it came out. The flavor profile really works great and add a little cheese & green onion to the top AMAZING! Great recipe thank you!!

  23. Robyn says

    I made this for dinner last night. When my husband walked in the door after work he said, “It smells amazing in here! When can we eat?” I love the flavor combination in this recipe, but like a few previous commenters, mine came out a bit mushy. That certainly didn’t stop us from eating it though! Super deliscious. I only cooked it for 3 hours, but maybe it’s my crockpot? Next time I’ll try decreasing the water a little as I can always add more if needed. Thanks for the recipe; we will definitely be making this again. And if it turns out a bit mushy again, we will just throw it in some tortillas for some amazing burritos!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Thanks so much for your comment Robyn!! It seems to be that if you have a crockpot that runs to hot or leave this in too long it gets mushy! It’s hard to know exactly since slow cookers can cook so differently so no matter how many times I test a recipe, you can never know what happens in different slow cookers! But let me know if reducing the water is the answer or just less time in the slow cooker if you do try this again :) So glad it still tasted good!! Have a great day :)

    • chelseamessyapron says

      I’ve never tried freezing it, but you could definitely give it a try. Sorry to not be of more help. If you do try it out, I’d love to hear the results!

  24. Trish says

    I just made this for dinner tonight – we’re vegan so I used veggie broth and will be leaving out the cheese. It’s delicious, though! I actually only cooked it for 2 hours on high in my Stay or Go, and it’s perfect consistency!

  25. says

    This looks like a terrific meal to make on the weekend for the week ahead. I post a weekend healthy recipes roundup on my blog and had to link to your recipe. It looks like a real family pleaser.

  26. Corinne Carey says

    What size crockpot do you use? I have a 6 quart and the new Crockpot Casserole which is about 3 1/2 quarts (9×13 crock). I understand that the size of the crockpot can have a large effect on the results (overlooked, dry, etc).

  27. Melanie says

    This recipe is currently in the crockpot! It’s been 3 1/2 hours on high and the chicken is still raw. I’m hoping 30 more minutes will do the trick. This recipe looks delicious!! Any feed back from others adding chicken?

    • chelseamessyapron says

      I hope this worked out for you Melanie! And perhaps other readers who have tried chicken can comment. I have found that first cutting the chicken into smaller pieces and then putting the chicken at the bottom of the crockpot works really well!

  28. Christi says

    I meant to make this tonight with the crockpot, but wasn’t able to time it right. Instead I sauteed the chopped veggies in a 6Qt stock pot, then added the seasonings. After letting the seasonings cook a few moments, I added the liquids and then the rinsed quinoa. I brought the mix to a boil and then cooked for 20 minutes. Last step was to add some more chili powder, the lime juice and cheese. Not as low stress as your recipe, but still do-able if you don’t have the three-four hours needed for the crock pot.

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Thanks so much for your comment Christi – this is so helpful for other readers! I appreciate it and I am glad it all worked out well :) Thanks again!

  29. Elisabeth says

    Thanks for the recipe! We made this for a potluck dinner party. There weren’t poblano peppers at the store, so we substituted with a can of green chili peppers. The flavor got a lot of compliments. The texture was definitely not at peak consistency due to transport time and keeping on low during social hour – it turned more into a hearty dip for nachos. Even my sister, who is an extremely picky eater and actively dislikes most of the ingredients, really enjoyed a bowl.

  30. Alicia says

    Just made this! I used organic shredded cheddar cheese & sour cream instead of shredded mozzarella, and it came out AMAZINGLY! I am so obsessed! Can you tell me how I should reheat the leftovers? I know you suggested in a burrito, but if I just want to eat it as is, could I reheat it in a glass pan in the oven? Thanks so much!

    • chelseamessyapron says

      So glad to hear you enjoyed it! I’ve never tried reheating it in a glass pan in the oven, but I don’t see why that wouldn’t work. I’ve only ever reheated leftovers in a burrito or quickly microwaved it :)

  31. Matt McCormick says

    This was excellent. I did not have a poblano so instead used a few chipotles (in Adobo sauce) and it gave a nice smoky heat. Thanks for the recipe — great combination.

    • chelseamessyapron says

      Ooo love the idea to add in some chipotles! So glad to hear you enjoyed this dish; thanks for the comment!

  32. Penelope says

    This sounds really good, I will try it in the Nu Wave oven with chicken drumsticks, because I can’t put anything in a slow cooker for 3-4 hours. I work an hour from home so it would be more like 10-12 hours in the slow cooker for me!

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