An incredibly easy (one skillet needed) + super healthy cheesy taco quinoa dish. This dish is kid-friendly, veggie-filled, and a perfect meatless meal. Meat can easily be added and still be done in one skillet.
In between our move from Ohio to Australia, we were able to visit our family in Utah for a couple of weeks. One of the nights we were there my mom asked me to make a dinner — one that required very little dish clean-up was somewhere in that request. I decided to do her one better and use only ONE dish, because you all know how much I like my one dish dinners. You do know, right? Exhibit 1, Exhibit 2, Exhibit 3, Exhibit 4…bored yet?
The tricky part of this one-dish dinner was making sure to please everyone. With 8 people around the house, there are plenty of preferences to be met. Luckily my entire family is pretty health conscious and enjoy veggie-filled meals. That being said, there are the big meat-eaters too and making a meatless meal was a bit of a gamble.
Well, you probably know how this story ends because if it ended poorly (AKA no one liked it) I wouldn’t be sharing this recipe or the story for that matter…
This dish was a huuuuge hit. In fact, it was gone so quickly a few people even missed out on it. Seriously, it was gone in less than five minutes and it was then that I remembered I was cooking for 8 people not 3. Oops. Good thing it was so easy I could whip up another one real quick.
My one sister told me this was the best dish I’d ever made for her. Granted, she said that last time I made her dinner 7-8 months ago, but she insisted this one was even better. In fact she said this was the best way she’d ever eaten quinoa ever.
And I’m definitely not arguing with her – this is one heck of a quinoa dish. Guaranteed you won’t even miss the meat!
HOWEVER, if you really can’t go without meat (or those growing boys in your family can’t) you can easily add meat to this dish and still keep it in one skillet. If you want to add meat, I would recommend doing a lean ground beef or ground turkey or even ground chicken. All you’ll need to do differently is brown the meat very first in the skillet. Once the meat is cooked through, drain out any grease leftover and you can begin following the directions for this dish. Told you that was easy!
You can also make a myriad of other substitutions – especially with how you choose to top your dish. Basically just choose whatever you like to top tacos with! I like freshly chopped tomatoes and avocados, some herbs (cilantro usually), lots of sour cream, and usually an extra handful of cheese. Some other topping ideas: freshly squeezed lime juice, shredded lettuce (probably serve that on bottom though), peppers, jalapeños, onions…
As far as changing up the actual dish, you can definitely decrease the cheese amount to taste preferences. Alternatively you could increase the cheese or try some different kinds of cheeses in this dish. You can switch out the types of beans used too. You can decide to increase or decrease spice based on the salsa you use. I call for mild in this dish, but use what you like best.
One of the VERY important ingredients called for in this dish is Taco Sauce. Do not leave out or use substitutions for taco sauce. You can use a more spicy version (I used mild), but make sure you have it. If you aren’t sure what taco sauce is, I find it near ingredients like taco seasoning, enchilada sauces, hard shell tacos, chiles, etc.
It’s time to get your whole family on board with this delicious and healthy meatless meal – guaranteed they’ll want seconds!!
- 1 cup regular white quinoa
- 1 can (15.25 ounces) black beans
- 1 can (15.25 ounces) corn
- 1 cup mild taco sauce
- 1 cup mild salsa
- 3 cups water
- 1 packet taco seasoning
- 4 ounces neufchâtel or light cream cheese
- 1/2 cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese
- Optional toppings: 1 large tomato, 2 avocados, sour cream, fresh or dried herbs (cilantro), salt and pepper
In a thin mesh strainer, rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Drain and rinse the black beans and the corn.
Add the rinsed quinoa, black beans, corn, taco sauce, salsa, water, and taco seasoning to a large skillet. Stir together until well combined over high heat.
Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the skillet, and then reduce the heat to a low-medium heat.
Allow to cook covered for 20-25 minutes. This time will vary depending on the heat of your stove-top. For best results, check it every 3-5 minutes and give it a good stir at each check to avoid burning or sticking to the bottom. (If the water is absorbing too fast for the quinoa, reduce the heat. If the quinoa isn't cooking very quickly, you may want to slightly increase the heat)
Once the liquid is absorbed into the dinner and the quinoa is in a light/fluffy form, stir in the cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese. I like to cube the cream cheese and place the cubes throughout the dish as it melts quicker this way.
Once all of the cheese is melted it, remove from the heat and optionally top however you prefer. We love sour cream, chopped tomatoes, and chopped avocado on ours!