Mexican Quinoa

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Mexican Quinoa is a simple “dump it and forget about it” slow cooker meal. We add uncooked quinoa, veggies, beans, and a seasoning mix to the slow cooker and let it work its magic to deliver this tasty, nutritious, and satiating meal! Top your bowl with your favorite toppings — like cheese, sour cream, avocado, and lime.

Overhead image of Mexican Quinoa in a bowl.

Mexican Quinoa

These Quinoa Tacos are wildly popular in my home and truthfully, I don’t think meal prep gets much easier than that recipe. Everything gets thrown in the slow cooker (no advance prep) and you’re left with an ultra-tasty, meatless, taco filling that is hearty and satiating. 

I wanted to take the concept of having loads of flavor with crazy-easy prep time from those tacos and apply it to another nutritious and vegetarian meal. Enter: Mexican Quinoa. Equally easy, filling, and packed with good-for-you ingredients. 

This dish does pack a bit of a spicy punch, but nothing too overwhelming. You can adjust the seasonings to your preference, and with some cheese, sour cream, and/or avocado topping the bowl, the spice is greatly minimized. Even my two-year-old can’t get enough of this dish!

Ingredient shot-- images of the enchilada sauce and taco seasoning used in this recipe.

Mexican Quinoa Ingredients

The three main ingredients that impact the spiciness level of this dish are the enchilada sauce, taco seasoning packet, and jalapeño peppers. 

  • Enchilada sauce. Enchilada sauce can vary greatly in heat from brand to brand. This recipe calls for quite a bit of it, so I recommend using a mild sauce. Personally, I love and recommend Old El Paso’s® mild red enchilada sauce (not sponsored). I would say this particular brand keeps this dish more on the mild side. If you aren’t able to find this specific brand, I’d recommend tasting the enchilada sauce first and making sure it isn’t overly spicy. If it is, I’d recommend using only one can and supplementing the other can with additional chicken or vegetable broth/stock instead.
  • Taco seasoning. Taco seasoning packets can also vary in spice level and in overall flavor. I’ve generally found the cheaper the taco seasoning packet, the less flavor. Our personal favorite is McCormick’s® Mild Taco Seasoning (not sponsored). If you don’t mind spending a couple of extra minutes of prep time, you can always make your own. Check out my “quick tip” box below!
  • Jalapeños. We like the slight kick that jalapeño peppers add, but they’re completely optional. To keep the heat to a minimum, I recommend scraping out the ribs and seeds first before dicing the jalapeño. And using the same amount of chopped poblano pepper will provide a less-intense seasoning.


If you’d prefer to make your own taco seasoning blend instead of using a store-bought mix, here’s my go-to taco seasoning blend (this mix perfectly replaces the store-bought mix):

  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder (McCormick for mild chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, fine sea salt, and pepper

Make up several batches of this seasoning and put in individual plastic bags for your own grab-and-go mixes.


Topping Suggestions

Mexican Quinoa is great on its own, but the toppings really seal the deal. Our “must-have” toppings include extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and diced avocado. Here are some other ideas:

  1. Grated sharp (or extra-sharp) Cheddar 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.)

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

Shortcut Suggestions

  • Buy pre-peeled and cubed squash. Although it is a bit more spendy, buying prepared squash virtually removes any prep time on this Mexican quinoa. Cubed squash can be found in the produce section of many grocery stores. 
  • Use frozen, cubed squash. I’ve also made this recipe with frozen squash and it worked great. The one caveat to buying cubed squash is to make sure the pieces are small enough. We’re looking for small 1/2-inch cubes. Too much larger and the squash won’t cook in the time that everything else is done.
  • Pick minced garlic. Instead of mincing your own garlic, buy a jar of pre-minced garlic to save time. A garlic press is also a nice time saver and a way to still use fresh garlic cloves.
  • Look for pre-rinsed quinoa. Quinoa has a bitter saponin coating that needs to be rinsed before cooking. Some brands advertise pre-rinsed quinoa so if you’d like to save a minute or two, grab pre-rinsed!

Mexican Quinoa Tips

  • Cut the squash into even, small (1/2-inch) cubes. If the squash pieces are too large they won’t get tender in time.
  • If you do opt to cut the squash yourself, I recommend a good cutting board, a very sharp chef’s knife, and a quick refresher on cutting butternut squash if it’s been a while!
  • Cook on high. Unfortunately, this recipe doesn’t cook well on low. The quinoa needs higher heat to “pop” and cook through. 
  • Generously grease the slow cooker or use a liner.
  • Use good-quality vegetable or chicken stock and fire-roasted tomatoes. 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. I love what fire-roasted tomatoes do for this Mexican Quinoa — they add a depth of flavor with no additional work required on your end!

Dietary Concerns

  • Vegan: As written, this recipe is vegan. Keep toppings, such as sour cream and Cheddar cheese off, or use vegan alternatives.
  • Vegetarian: As written this recipe is also vegetarian. Be sure to use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock to keep it vegetarian.
  • Gluten-Free: Be sure to check the labels of all the ingredients used to make sure they weren’t processed in a facility with gluten. A lot of enchilada sauces and seasoning mixes do have gluten; Old El Paso enchilada sauce doesn’t typically contain gluten (just be sure to check the can). You can also cut down gluten risk by using my homemade taco seasoning blend instead of a store-bought seasoning blend.
  • Dairy-Free: Use a dairy-free cheese and/or sour cream for toppings.

Up-close overhead image of Mexican Quinoa.

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Mexican Quinoa

4.94 from 46 votes
Mexican Quinoa is a simple "dump it and forget about it" slow cooker meal. We add uncooked quinoa, veggies, beans, and a seasoning mix to the slow cooker and let it work its magic to deliver this tasty, nutritious, and satiating meal! Top your bowl with your favorite toppings -- like cheese, sour cream, avocado, and lime.
Print Recipe

Mexican Quinoa

4.94 from 46 votes
Mexican Quinoa is a simple "dump it and forget about it" slow cooker meal. We add uncooked quinoa, veggies, beans, and a seasoning mix to the slow cooker and let it work its magic to deliver this tasty, nutritious, and satiating meal! Top your bowl with your favorite toppings -- like cheese, sour cream, avocado, and lime.
Course Dinner, Main Course, Vegetarian
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword mexican quinoa
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 25 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 45 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Chelsea Lords
Calories 223kcal
Cost $6.72


  • 1.25 pounds peeled and cubed butternut squash (cut into 1/2-inch pieces) about 4 cups
  • 1 cup (138g) frozen corn
  • 1 can (15.25 oz.; 432g) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup (180g) uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.; 411g) petite fire-roasted diced tomatoes undrained
  • 1 small diced jalapeño (~2 tablespoons), optional Note 1
  • 2 cans (19 oz.; 538g EACH) mild red enchilada sauce Note 2
  • 1 cup (225g) vegetable or chicken stock (or broth) (we love Swanson vegetable stock best)
  • 1 packet (1.25 ounces) taco seasoning Note 3
  • Optional toppings: freshly grated sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, fresh lime juice, sour cream, chopped cilantro, diced avocado, etc.


  • PREP: Spray a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick spray. Be generous! Alternatively, use a liner for the pan.
  • BUTTERNUT SQUASH: Prep the butternut squash by peeling, removing the seeds and cutting into small 1/2-inch cubes. (It is important the cubes are small so everything will cook in time.) Add cubes to the prepared slow cooker.
  • SLOW COOKER: Add in the corn, black beans, rinsed quinoa (I rinse it in a fine-mesh sieve), minced garlic, tomatoes, optional jalapeño, enchilada sauce, the vegetable or chicken stock/broth, and the packet of taco seasoning.
  • COOK: Give everything a really good stir, cover and cook on high for 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 hours (4 hours is perfect in my slow cooker) or until the quinoa is cooked through (it has "popped") and the butternut squash is tender. Remove the lid and stir everything together really well. It's a bit soupy here, but the quinoa continues to absorb the liquid, so keep the slow cooker uncovered and switch heat to low. Let stand, stirring occasionally, for 15-25 minutes or until most of the liquid has absorbed. This is the perfect time to assemble toppings and whip up a side dish if you'd like.
  • SERVE: Season with additional salt and pepper if desired. Serve Mexican Quinoa in bowls with your favorite toppings. Our "must-have" toppings include freshly grated extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, sour cream, and a diced avocado. Freshly chopped cilantro and lime juice add some nice freshness and acidity.

Recipe Notes

Note 1: We like the slight kick that jalapeños add, but they're completely optional. To keep the heat to a minimum, I recommend scraping out the ribs and seeds first before dicing the jalapeño. Poblano peppers are milder than jalapeños, which can be used instead.
Note 2: Make sure you pick the right-sized can of enchilada sauce -- these are the slightly larger cans. Enchilada sauce can vary greatly in heat from brand to brand. With the amount of enchilada sauce in this dish, I recommend using a mild sauce. Personally, I love and recommend Old El Paso's mild red enchilada sauce I would say this particular brand keeps this Mexican Quinoa much milder. If you aren't able to find this specific brand, I'd recommend tasting the enchilada sauce first and making sure it isn't overly spicy. If it is spicy, I'd recommend using only 1 can and supplementing the other can with additional chicken or vegetable broth/stock instead.
Note 3: Taco seasoning packets can vary in spice level and in overall flavor. Our personal favorite is McCormick's Mild Taco Seasoning. If you don't mind spending a couple of extra minutes of prep time, you can always make your own: whisk together: 1 tablespoon ground chili powder (McCormick for mild chili powder), 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, fine sea salt, and pepper.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 43.5g | Protein: 9.8g | Fat: 2.2g | Cholesterol: 0.9mg | Sodium: 1198.1mg | Fiber: 8.7g | Sugar: 9.3g

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.


I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

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Recipe Rating


  1. As a new reader, you are making it more and more tempting to whip out the slow cooker/large pots to make meals- even though we are heading into Summer right now! Excuse me as I check out those fajitas too!

  2. We must be on the same brain train because I just developed a very similar Mexican Crock pot Quinoa! But, you used squash, which I ADORE! So, you win. 😉

    1. 5 stars
      Sorry, found this post very late– I didn’t have any squash- I used sweet potatoes. Very good -My family loved it..

  3. Yes, more delicious slow cooker recipes! You are so good at these, Chelsea. 🙂 What a great idea to put butternut squash in this mexican dish! I love fall versions of classic recipes. I’m not a huge squash person, but I would totally love it in this. Pinned!

    1. Thanks so much Christine! That means a lot to me 🙂 I’ve never tried either in the slow cooker, so I’m really not sure how they’d fare. Wish I could be of more help

  4. I’m a new butternut convert. I’ve always loved it in ravioli and soup but we’ve been roasting it and it’s so good! This quinoa is the perfect dinner!

  5. Can you add Chicken breasts to this? I was looking at your quinoa soup recipe which has chicken breasts and wondered if you could make this a chicken dish? My teenagers do not consider it a meal unless there is some meat in it! It looks so good I really want to try….

    1. Yes, I definitely think you could add chicken to this! Let me know how it works if you try it out 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    I have never made a quinoa casserole before, let alone one in a slow cooker. This looks delicious Chelsea, I need to get my hands on the ingredients so I can make the recipe tonight!

    1. 5 stars
      This is a five star! I made this tonight and used garnet yams instead of the butternut squash and yum!!! I used water in place of the chicken broth since it was for a Vegetarian friend. It was so good!! I used your suggestion of store brand mild enchilada sauce and it was not too spicy!!

      1. I’m so thrilled to hear this was a hit and got a 5 star rating! 🙂 Thank you so much Melanie 🙂

  7. Yay for crockpot recipes! Especially if they include Mexican flavors and butternut squash. 😀 I am about to make your sweet potato skillet again this week but NOW I’m wondering if I should switch it out for this quinoa! What a perfect weeknight meal, Chelsea. 😀

  8. Loved the dish! I cooked it on the stove top for about an hour (my slow cooker is missing…..) on low heat and it worked well. Needed to be stirred often. I will be making the Sweet Potato Enchiladas this week. Love your site!

    1. So glad to hear this worked on the stovetop and you liked it!! (I’m sure this comment will be very helpful to people without a slow cooker!!) Thanks so much Donna, I truly appreciate your comments and trying out the recipes! 🙂

    2. I have a bunch of squash that i cooked and frozen awhile back, would you decrease the time on the stove top if the squash is already cooked?

  9. Hi there,

    Tried this recipe yesterday. I will say it’s flavorful but i think it is a bit too spicy. The 36oz of enchilada sauce may have been the kicker – it was almost too spicy to eat.

    It was however, awesome to finally be able to try to cook quinoa in the slow cooker. I think for next time I’d just use less enchilada sauce.

    1. Hi Molly! Glad to hear you tried this! I have never tried Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce, but that may be the reason it was too spicy. I used a mild red enchilada sauce when making this and my little one year old baby ate more than I did, so I don’t think the mild enchilada sauce made it too spicy for him to eat it :). If you end up trying this again maybe try a milder enchilada sauce or replace some of the sauce with water or chicken broth; hope that helps!

      1. I am planning to make this recipe this week, and I was also concerned about the spice. Could I substitute one of the cans of the enchilada sauce with something else? I don’t like spicy, but i do like the healthy ingredients in this recipe.
        I also never keep taco seasoning around because i just don’t use it often enough to make purchasing it worthwhile, only to have it get thrown away. Are there are few other spices i could substitute instead?

        1. You can substitute one of the cans and use chicken or vegetable broth instead. For the taco seasoning, you could quickly whip up your own if you have the spices on hand.

  10. Long time lurker, first time commenter… 🙂 Impressive space you’ve created here!
    Question – do you think I could use couscous instead of quinoa? (I love quinoa, but my darling doesn’t.)

    1. Hi Aida!! Thank you very much 🙂 I’ve actually never tried couscous in the slow cooker, but you could perhaps cook everything else in the slow cooker, cook the couscous separately, and then mix it all together. If you tried that, the enchilada sauce would likely need to be reduced since the quinoa absorbs a lot of that. Sorry to not be of more help!

  11. 4 stars
    Hi! I made this and it turned out too soupy/gloppy – but it did have great flavor. I’d recommend maybe try using ONE 28-oz can of red enchilada sauce. Also it did take a solid nearly 5 hours to cook everything on high. But it was very easy and tasty, and I will try it again! 🙂

    1. Hi Krista! Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately quinoa tends to cooks differently depending on your slow cooker, so some people might need the 2 cans of enchilada sauce or it will be too dry, I think it really depends on how hot your slow cooker cooks and how long you cook it for. Also letting the mixture sit without the lid helps absorb any extra liquid. Hope that helps!

  12. I tried this last night and it was the BEST dinner we’ve ever had. It was so good and my whole family even the LO’s ate tons of it. I was hoping to have leftovers, but didn’t get any. Guess I’ll be making it again real soon. Thank you!

  13. Do you think I could sub in a diced hearty potato instead of the squash? no one in this household eats squash but would love the flavor of this.

  14. I just came across you site and am bookmarking every recipe i read it seems! Thank you for all of these new crock pot recipes!! We love quinoa, so this makes it easy to eat it more! Keep it up please!

  15. Hi, looks delicious. However, I have everything to make this today EXCEPT the quinoa. I used all I had to make quinoa pizza crust, which came out great. But I digress! Do you think I could use wheatberries in place of the quinoa?

  16. I stumbled upon your website while searching for more recipes for my slow cooker. The food looks superbly amazing. Thank you for sharing your recipes with us!

  17. What size cans of enchilada sauce are considered large? I’ve only seen one size at my store so I’m wondering how many total ounces I need. Thanks!

  18. 5 stars
    Had this for dinner last night and it was hands-down the best thing I think I’ve ever eaten, by far the best quinoa dish. It was so easy, but you did say it would be! For the commenters that are saying it is too spicy, I didn’t think it was particularly spicy at all. If it helps, I used Old El Paso mild enchilada sauce and it was perfect. I can’t wait to try your other quinoa recipes. Thank you!

  19. This is awesome! I need to try this out, it’s so refreshing to find a recipe without onions or garlic!
    I know they can be omitted, but some recipes just don’t hold up without them.

  20. What size slow cooker would you recommend? I have a 2, 4 and 6 quart cookers. Sounds like the 2 qt will be too small, but is the 6 qt too big?

    1. I have the same question, wondering if I should just cut the recipe in half because it might make too much

        1. Thank you for sharing a plant-based slow cooker recipe! One frustration I have is when these types of recipes do not indicate up front the size of slow cooker intended. It makes a difference and no one should have to guess or scroll through the comments to find this information. Wishing more recipes for the slow cooker published online/by food bloggers were intended for the 3-quart size. Thank you again!

          1. You’re welcome! I’ve updated the recipe to state the size of the slow cooker 🙂

  21. 5 stars
    Made this the other night and it’s delicious! It made a TON, however. I was wondering if I can freeze the leftovers? Is this a freezable recipe?

    1. So glad you liked it! I haven’t ever tried to freeze the leftovers so I can’t say for sure, but I do know others have successfully frozen some of my other quinoa slow cooker meals… sorry to not be of more help!

    2. 5 stars
      Hi Jessy,

      I am wondering if you tried tout freeze it ans if so what was the result once it came out of the freezer?


  22. Hi Chelsea– Do you think this recipe would work with ground turkey? Almost like a turkey chilli? Or would you recommend adding something like chicken breasts if I wanted to add meat to it?

    1. Hi Anita! I definitely think this would be DELICIOUS with ground turkey! (Cook it separately and add it to the finished mixture) You could also add some raw boneless skinless chicken breasts to the slow cooker and cook them with the rest of the ingredients, shredding them when everything is done cooking. I wouldn’t add more than 1-2 breasts though and you may need to slightly increase the liquid. I think either protein addition would work really well with this dish!

  23. 5 stars
    I’m doing a 20 lb challenge at my local gym and am trying to log in the nutritional value ie: calories, fat, carbs, protein, sugar, etc. Do you happen to have this information? BTW, it is a great dish!

    1. Thanks Lynda! So glad to hear you liked it 🙂

      Here are the nutritional stats:

      Slow Cooker Mexican Quinoa
      Nutrition Facts
      Serving Size 1 Recipe total Servings 8
      Calories 298
      Total Fat 1.86 g
      Saturated Fat 0.35g
      Monosaturated Fat 0.44g
      Polysaturated Fat 1.07g
      Total Carbohydrate 57.2 g
      Fiber 11.4 g
      Sugar 6.5 g
      Protein 14.8 g
      Calcium 96 mg
      Iron 4.04 mg
      Potassium 1112 mg
      Sodium 485 mg
      Zinc 2.6 mg
      Thiamin 0.56 mg
      Riboflavin 0.19 mg
      Niacin 2.33 mg
      Vitamin B6 0.37 mg
      Vitamin C 19.1 mg
      Vitamin A 6242 IU
      Vitamin E 1.55 mg
      Vitamin K 5.4 Ug
      Points 5
      Points Plus 7
      *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.

  24. Made this today although I did substitute one of the jars of enchilada sauce for chicken broth. I did add a jalapeño pepper to the mix and cooked on high for 4 hours. I will be making this again real soon. Delicious

    1. So glad to hear you liked it! And I love the addition of the jalapeno! Thanks for your comment 🙂

  25. 5 stars
    This is awesome and wondered if there are other less processed ways to create the seasoning as the cans of sauce are really really salty and heavily processed?

    1. I haven’t tried any alternative, but you could try to make your own homemade enchilada sauce and see if that works.

  26. 5 stars
    Spicy my butt! I added 6 Jalapeños and 2 cans of Hatch Chilies and it barely had a kick.

    On another note, what size crock pot are you using? I added about a half pound of chicken and it totally overflowed. I have a 3.5 quart pot. Cooked it on low for 8 hours. Tasted great. But think I may need a bigger pot

    1. Haha!! Yes I’m very unsure of how some people found it spicy as we don’t at all and all I can think is they are using very spicy enchilada sauce?? I use a 6 quart slow cooker so it sounds like you may need a bigger one! Glad you liked this!

      1. FYI – Trader Joe’s stuff tends to be spicy. Their taco seasoning is too spicy for my little one, and so is their enchilada sauce. It’s just a brand difference.

        1. Great to hear that!! I’ve never tried Trader Joe’s enchilada sauce but that would make sense why some people are finding it spicy! I used Mild Old El Paso and not spicy at all 🙂

  27. 5 stars
    I have made this at least 4 or 5 times and love it! It’s a perfect to have around for the week for quick and healthy dinners. And I love that it is meat free. Thank you for the great recipe and for getting me to try butternut squash:-)

    1. So glad to hear you love this!! And I’m glad you tried butternut squash – it’s our favorite squash! Thanks for your kind comment! 🙂

  28. 5 stars
    Hi, I was just wondering if you have ever tried cooking this on low for longer? Trying to make it for dinner one night, but want to start it before I leave for work!

    I made it on high and it was DELICIOUS!

    1. I haven’t just because I don’t always have great success (or consistent results) with cooking quinoa dishes on low. There have been a few readers that have commented they’ve been successful with cooking on low and some that haven’t. The problem being that sometimes it turns mushy – the vegetables and the quinoa can become a soggier texture.

      So glad to hear you’ve enjoyed this dish! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  29. I’d never heard of your blog before, but this meal was featured a couple days ago on an food email list “Today Food” I subscribe too. I made this dish last night and it’s definitely a winner!! So delicious, health, filling, and oh so easy to make! Can’t wait to add this blog to my go to places for recipes! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oh I’m so happy to hear you found this recipe and my site! I’m so glad you enjoyed this dinner and hope you love anything else you try! 🙂

  30. Hi im in australia and love the sound of this recipe.. i dont think we can get a premade enchilada sauce here.. im assuning ita a tomato based u think i could sub it for passata with additonal herbs n spices id probably need to so some googling extras if any to add in plus urs uggestions r welcome

    1. I would recommend just making your own. Although, I did see some pre-made enchilada sauce in a Woolworth’s when I was in Perth if you want to try and look at the grocery store 🙂 If not, try searching a homemade enchilada sauce and trying that out.

  31. Hi, I am from Brazil and trying to learn how to improve my cookbook with my slow cooker anda here it is not easy to find canned black beans, do you think I could use the raw beans instead just adapting the time of cooking? I dont have a clue about how to adapt this since I dont have canned beans to test the texture. Sorry for the question if it is not apropriate…

    1. Hi Izabela! I think your best bet is to cook the black beans completely separate (not in the slow cooker) and then add them to the finished product. Raw black beans will cook at a much different time then the rest of these ingredients will 🙂

  32. I made this last night and let it run long while I was sleeping — about 8 hours. It smells amazing and I’m sure will taste great, but it did end up kind of as one big moosh. The quinoa has blended together more than it should, and burnt quinoa formed a ring around the top of my crockpot. I’ll just scrape that off and eat the good stuff in the middle – but as you did in this post, I warn against cooking quinoa long on low heat!

    1. Yeah, unfortunately, I’ve never had success with quinoa at low temperatures over long time periods! Hopefully you can still enjoy that center section 🙂 Thanks for the comment Libby!

  33. hi,
    I’d love to try this and also the quinoa soup recipe – but I stay clear of the ready-made sauces and spice mixes and only use non-processed ingredients. What would you recommend as substitutes ? What does these sauces/spice mixes contain that I can use as seasoning , making them myself ?

    1. I would recommend searching the internet for a recipe for homemade taco seasoning and homemade enchilada sauce and using the same amount of the homemade versions as indicated in the recipe 🙂

  34. Today was the perfect cool, rainy Sunday to make a hearty dinner. I’m so glad I found this recipe on Pinterest. I followed your recipe exactly and it was DELICIOUS and so flavorful. I added tortilla chips as a topping, which gave it a nice crunch. I’ll definitely be making this again soon.

    1. Oh so glad to hear it!! Thank you so much for your kind comment! 🙂 And I love the idea of topping it with tortilla chips!

  35. This looks delicious and I cannot wait to try it.

    I also want to thank you from those of us with onion sensitivities that this does not contain onion (except for what is in the enchilada sauce and taco seasoning). I normally exclude it from my meals, but it’s nice to see someone else cook a dish without it.

    1. Thank you Shannon!! My husband actually HATES onions haha. So while they are one of my very favorite additions, I have to use them sparingly in my recipes when he’s either out of town for business or I’ve disguised them well enough… And then there are plenty of recipes just without them 🙂

    1. You can google a recipe for homemade enchilada sauce and try that. I haven’t tried a homemade version in this so I’m not sure how the flavor will be (too spicy or too mild?) so you may want to use half homemade enchilada sauce and half chicken or vegetable broth.

  36. 5 stars
    I have homemade taco seasoning. I’m thinking a packet would hold at least 1 Tbsp. That sounds like way too much. What do you think? I figure: if it is runny, I’ll serve it over brown rice. Thanks!

    1. A packet of taco seasoning generally holds about 2 tablespoons. You can definitely scale the amount of seasoning to your personal preference 🙂 And yes great idea to serve it over some brown rice 🙂 Hope you love this Pat!

  37. 5 stars
    I made this last week, but I added a pound of my homemade chicken chorizo (cooked first), and it was fantastic! Great recipe, thanks!

  38. 5 stars
    This was delicious!!! I have a mean chili recipe, but am avoiding red meat nowadays, and I love both quinoa and butternut squash, so thought I’d give it a try. Am I ever glad I did!! I think this is even better than the chili with meat! I’ll admit I changed the recipe a bit. I’m a big fan of spicy, so I added two large jalapenos (unseeded) and used the hot taco seasoning, and also added dried chili pepper flakes. Because this will last me three or four days (I live alone), it will only go on my semi-weekly schedule. What a terrific recipe! Thanks!

    1. Yay!! What a fun comment to read!! 🙂 So glad you loved this and it makes the semi-weekly schedule 🙂

  39. 3 stars
    I must have used a spicy enchilada sauce because this was so spicy I couldn’t even eat it! I used two 14 oz cans. I had to package it up and the next day I added another cup of cooked quinoa, a can of tomatoes, and a can of black beans to try to mellow it out. It’s still pretty hot but edible. I love how easy it is and the healthy ingredients so I may have to try again with just one can of enchilada sauce.

    1. Ooo yes must have been a spicy sauce! Sorry it was too spicy for you Michele!! Definitely try it again though with just one can (perhaps mild?) This is one of our favorite meals!! Thanks for the comment!

  40. I made this today and with great results! It would be a very easy and quick recipe for beginners. I followed the recipe exactly, but I would make a few changes. The butternut squash was still a little underdone by the time the quinoa was finished cooking, so I would either cut the butternut squash into smaller pieces or bake the butternut squash in the oven with some seasoning before hand. I would also reduce the amount of taco seasoning in the dish out of personal preference (the taco flavor seemed to mask the great flavors of the butternut squash). Overall this is a very interesting recipe. It reminded me of a sort of meatless, mexican chili. I would eat it next time with more cheese and crushed tortilla chips!

  41. 5 stars
    Wow. I made this for my boyfriend and I last night and it is AMAZING. We have a decent sized crockpot so next time I will add more beans, quinoa, corn, etc. I also found this dish to be extremely flavorful yet not spicy. For those who are sensitive to spicy foods this is an excellent dish for you. It is very easy for someone who loves spicy (Me!) to create a spicier version. Thank you so much for sharing! We loved it!

    1. Sure! I would recommend probably a pound. You could use a rotisserie chicken, shred it, and stir in about a pound after everything is done cooking. We’ve done that before and loved it!

  42. 5 stars
    Had this for dinner tonight, it was delicious! I had some farro made already, so reduced the enchilada sauce a bit and added the farro in for the last hour of cooking. I cooked on high for a bit, but then on low for most of the time. I had some cornbread, so put a square of that in a bowl topped with this, it was SOOOOO good!!

    1. So happy to hear this was enjoyed!! Thanks so much for the review and your photo is lovely! 🙂

  43. 5 stars
    Chili was a hit! Found a recipe for the enchilada sauce and made my own–this helped me gauge the heat. It was delicious! Even for the meat eaters–Thank you!

  44. 5 stars
    Has anyone tried freezing leftovers? This made more than enough for my husband and I and we LOVED this dish so I don’t want any of it to go to waste.

    1. You can buy pre-cut butternut squash at the grocery store. Otherwise it’s not too difficult if you have a good knife 🙂

    1. I’m not sure the exact cup amount (I’ve never measured it with cups), but if you divide the entire dish into 8 equal parts each part is 1 serving. Hope that helps!

  45. 5 stars
    Okay, I just have to say that I’ve made this recipe like a hundred times, and it’s amazing! It’s so easy and so so delicious. I actually made it recently for my now-boyfriend on our second date, and I’m pretty sure it made him fall in love with me haha. Anyway. Thanks for this great go-to recipe!

    1. Awe this made my day!! Haha! So thrilled to hear that you’ve enjoyed this and it helped seal the boyfriend deal 😉 Thanks so much Maurine!

  46. 5 stars
    The recipe lasts me the entire week, which is great if I know it’s going to be a particularly busy one! Top it with sour cream, or cheese, or avacado. I put it in pitas or tacos sometimes to change it up! Thanks so much for this recipe 🙂

  47. 5 stars
    Chelsea, this recipe was fantastic and simple (the best combination). I used the jalapeno and the spiciness was perfect, IMO, though I can see why some people may have found it too much for them. I was worried the sweet potatoes wouldn’t come out tender enough, but the 30 minutes on low sealed the deal.

    This one is definitely going in my Sunday meal prep rotation!

    1. Thank you so much for your comment Amit! 🙂 I’m thrilled you enjoyed this dish and that it makes it to meal prep rotations 🙂

  48. You may have answered this but there are too many comments to scroll through. How many cups/oz. is a serving?

    1. I don’t know the exact cup amount; there are 8 servings so if you divide the total amount of the dish into 8 equal parts, each of those parts are one serving.

  49. This looks amazing! Would substituting the squash with a green zucchini work? Or would it be too mushy? Thanks!

    1. Unfortunately I don’t think it would work; the zucchini would get too mushy in the crockpot and the flavor wouldn’t be the same.

      1. Ok thanks.. I thought so. I’m going to try it with the sweet potato as I’ve never had butternut squash before ??

  50. The recipes inspired me to take down that old crock pot after about a year of non-use. After I sandblasted the mouse droppings that barnaclized into the inside of pot and scraped the lid with a razor knife to remove the grease stains I was exhausted but hungry for that yummy black bean soup!

  51. 5 stars
    This was so good! I’m honestly not a huge squash fan, but I loved the combination in this. I used brown rice because I didn’t have quinoa handy, and I used the optional jalapeño. Nicely spicy but not too hot for the more timid members of the family. It’s thick and warm and was perfect for our chilly fall evening. Will definitely make again, thank you!

  52. 5 stars
    I made this recipe today even after reading all the comments on how hot/spicy it was. Well, it wasn’t hot at all. It had just the right amount of spice. I thought that 38 oz of mild red enchilada sauce was way too much but it wasn’t and maybe it helped when I put more squash in than the recipe listed. Overall I thought it was very good. I will make this again.

  53. I am so eager to try this!!!
    Any suggestions on putting this in an instapot instead of the crockpot? Would that work ok?

  54. Have you ever tried this with frozen butternut squash? Just curious if it would be more watery. Thanks in advance for your time and wonderful recipes.

    1. I haven’t, sorry Renee!! Wish I could be of more help. Thanks for your kind comment and following along 🙂

  55. I like using my Instapot instead of the slow cooker. Do you have cooking conversion times for the Instapot?

    1. I haven’t personally tried it in the instant pot yet, hopefully someone else can chime in here to help out! 🙂

  56. Hey! I live in China so find it tough to get enchilada sauce and taco seasoning. If I make it myself with tinned tomatoes or passata what spice mix would you recommend?

  57. Hello, this looks amazing and I’m excited to try. Would this be able to to be taken as a pot luck dish, left on a warmer type setting for a couple of hours or so? Wasn’t sure if it would get too mushy in that amount of time or not as I have very little experience. Appreciate your input. Excited to join your blog as well. Thanks

    1. So happy to have you Linda! Unfortunately I do think this would get mushy sitting for a couple of hours; quinoa tends to do that!

    1. The entire recipe divided into 6 equal parts; I don’t have exact cup measurements on that, sorry!

  58. Hi, Chelsea! About to try this tomorrow, but I was wondering if you ever cook it on low? I have a full day at work, so it’ll be in for about 8 hours. Thanks!

  59. 5 stars
    I have made you Mexican Quinoa at least a million times and thought I should rate it and let you know it has become my “go to meal” for any gathering. I was reading through the comments and read that you didn’t feel this would be good on warm for a few hours due to the quinoa getting mushy. I have kept it on warm for hours and even re heated it the next day still tastes incredible. I didn’t mind the mushy mess at all lol. I’m taking it to a potluck tomorrow for work.

  60. 5 stars
    I have using your recipe in my instapot, turns out great. I do chicken breasts first and then a second go with everything else.

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