Quinoa Fajitas

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These Quinoa Fajitas are probably unlike any fajitas you’ve ever tried! The filling is made up of loads of veggies, shredded chicken, and quinoa! Dump everything into a slow cooker and forget about it until dinner time. Once everything is cooked, shred the chicken and layer the filling into warmed tortillas. Add your favorite fajita toppings like cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and fresh lime juice.

Overhead image of Quinoa Fajitas in tortillas, ready to be served.

Quinoa Fajitas

The aim of this recipe is to deliver a nutrition-packed, ultra-flavorful meal that can be prepared in no time at all! In my experience, it’s pretty hard to find a quick slow cooker meal that’s also nutritious. Instead of dumping in cans of condensed soup, we’re adding in some fresh, some frozen, and some canned veggies. Now before you say that quick and slow cooker are mutually exclusive, what I’m talking about is the prep time. If you can throw it all in and go, in my book, that’s quick.

This meal is also very easily made vegetarian and while it may seem there’s not a whole lot of protein in these quinoa fajitas, they’re actually packed with protein. Both black beans and quinoa are excellent sources of plant-based protein. If vegetarian is not your aim, then go ahead and pair this recipe with chicken for some protein-packed fajitas that are ultra-satiating!

QUICK TIP

Typically the more protein in a dish, the more satiating it is. This means you’ll be fuller for longer and more protein helps to curb cravings among other things.

Process shots-- images of all the ingredients being added to the slow cooker.

Quinoa Fajitas Shortcut Tips

  • To ensure the prep for this dish is as quick as possible, we minimize the number of fresh veggies required. So while there aren’t any onions or garlic in this dish, we add garlic and onion powder instead. (Feel free to add in garlic and onion if you prefer; I’d sauté them first since they might not soften enough in the slow cooker.)
  • Buy pre-chopped butternut squash or sweet potatoes to save prep time. A lot of stores sell these ready-chopped veggies in the produce section of the store.
  • Look for frozen, thinly sliced peppers (usually in a package with onions) instead of thinly slicing fresh peppers. Again, you’ll find these in the produce section and also in the freezer aisle.
  • Add fire-roasted tomatoes. This type of tomato is charred over a flame before being crushed and canned. Contact with that flame brings out the tomato’s sweetness and gives a distinct smoky flavor. Essentially, you’re getting more flavor without any extra work.
  • Use a fajita seasoning mix. Instead of measuring out individual spices, you can use a packet instead. If opting for the packet, I recommend getting a good quality brand to ensure these Quinoa Fajitas have enough flavor.

Homemade fajita seasoning

Instead of using a packet of fajita seasoning, here is a recipe for a homemade blend (the yield is the same quantity as 1 packet). While packets are the quickest, if you have the time, homemade tastes the best, is more economical, and you know exactly what’s in it. This is important if you’re concerned about additives, gluten, or animal products.

  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder (use McCormick® for less heat)
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: paprika, fine sea salt, white granulated sugar, ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon: ground cayenne pepper (increase or decrease depending on heat preference)

QUICK TIP

While you’re at it, make up several batches of this fajita seasoning blend. Package them in individual serving-sized packages and store them in the pantry. They’ll be just as easy to use as the store-bought mixes!

Process shots-- images of the tortillas being charred and then stuffed with the Quinoa Fajita filling.

Quinoa Fajita Notes

  • Cut the sweet potatoes into even and small (1/2-inch) cubes. If the potato pieces are too large, they won’t get tender in time.
  • Cook on high. This recipe doesn’t cook well on the low setting. The quinoa needs higher heat to “pop” and cook through. 
  • Generously grease the slow cooker or use a liner. Quinoa tends to stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Use good-quality vegetable or chicken stock. I highly recommend Swanson’s® vegetable or chicken stock (not sponsored) which I’ve found to have the most robust flavor for a store-bought stock.
  • Make vegan/vegetarian. Replace the chicken broth/stock with vegetable stock/broth and leave out the chicken (no other changes necessary). For toppings, stick to vegan alternatives if vegan.

Topping Suggestions

These Quinoa Fajitas are delicious, but the toppings really seal the deal. Our “must-have” toppings include extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, fresh lime, and a thinly sliced avocado. Here are some other ideas:

  1. Cotija cheese
  2. Chopped cherry tomatoes 
  3. Fresh-chopped cilantro or thinly sliced green onions
  4. A squeeze of fresh lime
  5. A large scoop of sour cream (we use fat-free to keep these on the light side); you can also use Greek yogurt.
  6. Sliced avocado or scoop of guacamole
  7. Pickled red onions (I share a quick pickled red onion recipe on these chicken tinga tacos)

Up-close image of the Quinoa Fajitas with all the toppings.

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Quinoa Fajitas

5 from 4 votes
These Quinoa Fajitas are probably unlike any fajitas you've ever tried! The filling is made up of loads of veggies, shredded chicken, and quinoa! Dump everything into a slow cooker and forget about it until dinner time. Once everything is cooked, shred the chicken and layer the filling into warmed tortillas. Add your favorite fajita toppings like cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and fresh lime juice.
Print Recipe

Quinoa Fajitas

5 from 4 votes
These Quinoa Fajitas are probably unlike any fajitas you've ever tried! The filling is made up of loads of veggies, shredded chicken, and quinoa! Dump everything into a slow cooker and forget about it until dinner time. Once everything is cooked, shred the chicken and layer the filling into warmed tortillas. Add your favorite fajita toppings like cheese, sour cream, cilantro, and fresh lime juice.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword Quinoa Fajitas
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Calories 587kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $6.73

Equipment

  • 6 quart slow cooker
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (190g) uncooked quinoa
  • 3/4ths pound (11 oz.; 330g) boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts) optional Note 1
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (205g) frozen corn (or 1 can corn)
  • 1 can (15.25 oz.; 432g) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz.; 411g EACH) fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 cup (250g) chicken stock or broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups (270g) sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into small 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (170g) thinly sliced sweet bell peppers, (I used 1/2 an orange and 1/2 of a red pepper)
  • 1 fajita seasoning mix Note 2
  • Flour or corn tortillas
  • Toppings: shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, low-fat sour cream, cilantro, fresh lime, chopped avocado or guacamole, cherry tomatoes

Instructions

  • PREP: Thoroughly rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve. Drain and rinse black beans. Peel and dice the sweet potato (small pieces to cook in time!). Thinly slice the pepper(s) and then cut the long pepper strips in half lengthwise.
  • SLOW COOKER: Generously spray the slow cooker with nonstick olive oil spray or insert a liner. Combine the quinoa, chicken (See Note 1; be sure to cut each breast into 4-5 even pieces and each thigh into 3-4 even pieces), corn, black beans, crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, sweet potatoes, and peppers in the slow cooker. Add in the fajita seasoning mix or seasonings listed in Note 2. Gently stir everything together and press down to submerge the chicken below everything else.
  • COOK: Cook for 3-1/2 to 4 hours on high, watching it carefully so the quinoa doesn't burn (avoid opening the slow cooker and checking-- this disrupts the heating). I don't recommend cooking this meal on low; the quinoa gets too mushy. Cook until the chicken shreds and the quinoa has popped. Remove the chicken and thinly slice or shred with two forks. Gently stir everything together and taste for seasonings, adding additional salt and pepper as needed.
  • SERVE: Spoon filling into charred or warmed (See Note 3) flour or corn tortillas and top with optional toppings. For us, fresh lime, fresh cilantro, sour cream, and Cheddar cheese are must-have toppings!

Recipe Notes

Instant Pot: I recently tested this recipe in the pressure cooker/instant pot and it was too mushy and the chicken was undercooked. I'd stick with the slow cooker for this recipe!
Note 1: For a vegetarian meal, simply leave out the chicken-- no other changes necessary. We've found thighs remain the most tender, but breasts can be used. Cut the thighs or breasts into smaller pieces before adding them to the slow cooker so they can cook through in time. Submerge the meat in the cooking liquid. Make this recipe vegan by following the previous suggestions and using non-dairy toppings.
Note 2: Make your own fajita seasoning mix! Here's the blend to use instead of a packet:
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder (use McCormick for less heat)
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: paprika, fine sea salt, white granulated sugar, ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon: ground cayenne pepper (increase or decrease depending on heat preference) 
You can make this recipe in bulk and put in individual-serving packets. Scoop out 1 tablespoon for each packet.
Note 3: Here’s how we char the tortillas (optional):
  1. Spray both sides of the tortillas with cooking spray. I use an olive oil-based spray (canola works as well) and give each side a good spritz.
  2. Very lightly char each side of the tortilla over an open flame on the stovetop. If you don’t have an open flame, warm for 10-15 seconds in a skillet.
  3. Immediately remove the tortilla from the heat and fold in half. Place under a towel and repeat until all the tortillas are charred.
Nutritional information was calculated using corn tortillas.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 587kcal | Carbohydrates: 103g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 55mg | Sodium: 355mg | Potassium: 1693mg | Fiber: 19g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 13363IU | Vitamin C: 94mg | Calcium: 149mg | Iron: 7mg

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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48 Comments

    1. This looks amazing! Is it freezer friendly? I’m trying to find healthy slow cooker recipes for my toddler that I can freeze and serve on a busy day 🙂

  1. I love meals like this that I can just dump in the crockpot – makes life so easy! And fajitas are always a good thing : ) I love that there is sweet potato in these! And now I want some mexican food… haha

  2. These fajitas look awesome Chelsea! Love crockpot meals and this one sounds so tasty and flavorful 🙂 The quinoa and sweet potatoes are such a nice addition in here too and love how easy this is to whip up:)

    1. Thanks so much Kelly! 🙂 I love when dinner is in the crockpot and you don’t need to worry about it 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness, I’ve just made these…delicious!

    I don’t have a crockpot (and I’m going to be honest, as a Brit, I have no idea what a crockpot is 😉 Your recipe’s have travelled across the pond!), but I just followed the recipe and put everything in my casserole dish (I’m sure a tagine would work too) and cooked in the oven for 2 hours….perfect!

    Feels like comfort food, without any of the bad stuff!

    Thanks for posting this 🙂 x

    1. This comment made my day! 🙂 Thanks so much Natasha! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and you were able to adapt it to a casserole dish – that is so smart! We don’t have a tagine here in the states, I had to look it up haha. I wonder if crockpot is just a nickname, do you guys have slow cookers in the UK?

    1. Here they are 🙂
      Nutrition Facts
      Serving Size 1 Recipe total Servings 8
      Calories 421
      Total Fat 3.71 g
      Saturated Fat 0.76g
      Monosaturated Fat 1.06g
      Polysaturated Fat 1.89g
      Total Carbohydrate 79.7 g
      Fiber 11.7 g
      Sugar 4.7 g
      Protein 18.3 g

      1. Thank you! Just made it. Great recipe 🙂 But just wondering, do you know if the calories include the tortilla? And do they consider 1 serving = 1 fajita?

  4. You always have recipes I know my fiancé would love! Well, I don’t know about the quinoa because I’ve never tried it on him, but I’m pretty sure the rest of the flavors are familiar enough I could get him to give them a chance. Sadly we don’t have a slow cooker right now, but I think my dad’s getting us one as a wedding present.

  5. This looks delicious. Do you know about how much of the sweet potato and quinoa filling = 1 serving? (i.e. 1 cup, 1 1/2 cups, etc.?) Thanks!

    1. I hope this is what you are looking for – just got nutrition facts for this meal and there are 8 servings total! Have a great weekend Sarah!

      Nutrition Facts
      Serving Size 1 Recipe total Servings 8
      Calories 421
      Total Fat 3.71 g
      Saturated Fat 0.76g
      Monosaturated Fat 1.06g
      Polysaturated Fat 1.89g
      Total Carbohydrate 79.7 g
      Fiber 11.7 g
      Sugar 4.7 g
      Protein 18.3 g
      Cholesterol 2.4 mg
      Calcium 91 mg
      Iron 5.16 mg
      Potassium 1065 mg
      Sodium 273 mg
      Zinc 3 mg
      Thiamin 0.68 mg
      Riboflavin 0.27 mg
      Niacin 4.64 mg
      Folic Acid 24.4 Ug
      Vitamin B6 0.59 mg
      Vitamin C 39.4 mg
      Vitamin B12 0.04 Ug
      Vitamin A 1958 IU
      Vitamin E 1.21 mg
      Vitamin K 9.2 Ug
      Points 8
      Points Plus 10

  6. We just had this and LOVED it! One of the best meals we’ve ever eaten and going into our meal rotation. Thank you for a very easy healthy meal!

  7. 5 stars
    Wow! Just found your site looking for a Mexican slow cooker recipe…so many great recipes! I really like that your recipes are focused on being easy yet use fresh and healthy ingredients. I love making meals ahead of time and eating them throughout the week Your site is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I cannot wait to make this recipe and many more!!!

  8. 5 stars
    This meal includes my favorite foods all in one, was super easy and didn’t require as much chicken as most recipes…so inexpensive as well! I served it to my kids in tortillas but I ate it alone…it’s a hearty meal in itself! Thank you for experimenting so others can enjoy! Going to try your other quinoa crockpot recipes too!

  9. Just wondering, I have a ton of butternut squash to use up. Do you think it would be okay to use the squash in lieu of the sweet potatoes? Thanks!

  10. hi! I’ve never used my 2qt crock pot before and I don’t see if this recipe is for a 2qt crock pot or a larger one. Can you please clarify?

  11. I am wondering if you have ever made this in an instant pot? I have made it before and love it but won’t have enough time to make it in crock pot.

    1. I’ve never made it in the instant pot, but it should be just fine if you cook it in there (I believe a few other readers have tried this; so hopefully someone can chime in here with better directions!) Let me know how you like it! 🙂

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