Crockpot Quinoa (Southwestern Fajita)

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Fajita-inspired flavors make up this delicious, nutritious Crockpot Quinoa. Add everything (uncooked) into a slow cooker and forget about it as the appliance works its magic! This recipe is vegetarian and can easily be made vegan.

We love easy Crockpot Quinoa recipes — try some other variations next like this Mexican QuinoaQuinoa Tacos, or Quinoa Enchilada Crockpot meal.

Crockpot Quinoa

Crockpot Quinoa — Southwestern Fajita Flavored

This is truly one of the all-time easiest meals to prepare! It’s one of those throw-and-go recipes where you put everything into a slow cooker and a few hours later a tasty and nutritious meatless dinner is ready.

There is no chopping required unless you’d like to add the (optional) jalapeños. We use frozen prechopped peppers and onions to save effort and time. A packet of fajita seasoning is another time saver, although I’m also sharing a homemade fajita seasoning blend if you’d prefer.

This meal is naturally vegetarian, and it’s packed with protein. Quinoa and beans are both excellent sources of plant-based protein. That said, you can easily stir in some shredded rotisserie chicken to this meal once it’s finished cooking.

Crockpot Quinoa spice blend

Homemade fajita seasoning

Instead of using a packet of fajita seasoning in this dish, here is a recipe for a homemade blend (the yield is the same quantity as one 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!

Crockpot Quinoa ingredients

Crockpot Quinoa Ingredients

Besides the fajita seasoning mix (or homemade seasoning mix mentioned above), here are the rest of the ingredients in this meal, along with some helpful notes:

  • Quinoa. Quinoa has a natural coating called saponin which can make it taste bitter. Pour the uncooked quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water for 30 seconds to a minute. Alternatively, save time by purchasing pre-rinsed quinoa in the store. (This is generally advertised on the package.)
  • Chili beans. You can find chili beans near other beans in the grocery store. They are generally pinto beans in a mild chili-spiked sauce. If you can’t find chili beans (sometimes called ranch-style beans), I’d recommend using a can of pinto beans instead.
  • Black beans. Thoroughly rinse and drain before adding these in.
  • Frozen corn. Frozen corn will taste the crispest in this dish, but canned will work well.
  • Jalapeños. This optional ingredient adds flavor and spice! Be sure to remove the ribs and seeds of the jalapeño before finely dicing. If you prefer less heat, leave this addition out. To avoid any chopping, quickly pulse to break down in a mini food prep processor.
  • Garlic. Use jarred pre-minced garlic to avoid any chopping.
  • 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. If you aren’t vegetarian, chicken stock works great in this recipe. If you are vegetarian or vegan, be sure to stick to the vegetable stock.
  • Frozen tri-color pepper and onion blend. This is the secret to avoiding lots of chopping. This blend can be found among other frozen vegetables in the grocery store.
  • Fire-roasted diced 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.
  • Ground cumin and chili powder. In addition to the fajita seasoning, I do like to add a touch more seasoning to this Crockpot Quinoa.

Adding vegetable stock to Crockpot Quinoa.

Topping Suggestions

Crockpot Quinoa is delicious straight out of the slow cooker, but the toppings really make this dish unforgettable. Our “must-have” toppings include extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, fresh lime, and a thinly sliced avocado. Here are some other ideas:

  1. Cheese: Extra-sharp Cheddar, Monterey jack, pepper jack, Mexican cheese blend, fiesta cheese blend all work well here.
  2. Chopped cherry tomatoes or a quick pico de gallo
  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 pinto bean tacos)

Crockpot Quinoa

Crockpot Quinoa Notes

  • 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.
  • Stir gently. Once the quinoa has cooked through, mix everything together gently to avoid making the quinoa and veggies mushy.
  • Season at the end. Depending on seasonings used and how seasoned the fajita packet is, add additional salt and pepper at the end until flavors in this crockpot quinoa dish sing.

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Crockpot Quinoa

5 from 1 vote
Fajita-inspired flavors make up this delicious and nutritious Crockpot Quinoa. Throw everything (uncooked) into a slow cooker and forget about it as the appliance works its magic! (Naturally vegetarian recipe.)
Print Recipe

Crockpot Quinoa

5 from 1 vote
Fajita-inspired flavors make up this delicious and nutritious Crockpot Quinoa. Throw everything (uncooked) into a slow cooker and forget about it as the appliance works its magic! (Naturally vegetarian recipe.)
Course Dinner, lunch, Main Course, Vegetarian
Cuisine American, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword crockpot quinoa, crockpot quinoa recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 465kcal
Author Chelsea
Cost $7.12

Equipment

  • 6 quart slow cooker
  • Cooking Spray

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) chili beans in mild chili sauce Note 1
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 cup plain quinoa
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 and 1/4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (or broth)
  • 1/4 cup finely diced jalapeños (~1 small), optional Note 2
  • 1 package (14 oz.) frozen tri-color pepper and onion blend
  • 1 package (1.12 oz.) fajita seasoning Note 3
  • 1 teaspoon EACH ground cumin, ground chili powder
  • 1 cup Mexican blend or fiesta blend shredded cheese
  • Optional additions: sour cream (lite is great), guacamole or avocado, fresh lime, cilantro

Instructions

  • PREP: Generously spray the slow cooker with cooking spray. Rinse quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve to remove the saponin coating (some quinoa is pre-rinsed and says so on the package). If using jalapeños, remove ribs and seeds and finely mince or pulse in a mini food processor until evenly chopped.
  • SLOW COOKER: Add in the undrained chili beans and tomatoes. Add in the drained and rinsed black beans, corn, rinsed quinoa, garlic, vegetable stock, minced jalapeño, pepper & onion blend (no need to thaw), fajita seasoning, cumin, and chili powder. Give everything a good stir and then cover the slow cooker with a lid.
  • COOK: Cook on high for 2 and 1/2 to 4 hours. (Watch carefully, as all slow cookers cook differently - yours may be quicker or slower. Mine takes right around 3 hours and 30 minutes.) You'll know it's done when the quinoa has "popped" and most of the liquid is absorbed. Be careful to not overcook; if the quinoa burns at the edges, it can become a bit mushy. Stir gently and let mixture stand, off heat without lid, for about 5-10 minutes to steam through and allow remaining liquid to absorb. Stir once more gently.
  • FINISHING: Sprinkle in the cheese and allow to melt on top. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding additional salt/pepper if needed. Serve in bowls with desired toppings; we love lots of sour cream, fresh avocado or guacamole, fresh cilantro, and a good squeeze of fresh lime!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: You can find chili beans near other canned beans in the grocery store. They are generally pinto beans in a mild chili-spiked sauce. If you can’t find chili beans (sometimes called ranch-style beans), I’d recommend using a can of pinto beans instead.
Note 2: Omit jalapeño peppers if sensitive to spice!
Note 3: Or make a homemade fajita seasoning blend:
  • 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)
Vegan: Omit animal products to make this recipe vegan. You can find vegan substitutes for most of the items: cheese, sour cream, and broth.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 465kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 1133mg | Potassium: 980mg | Fiber: 16g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 4520IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 249mg | 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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7 Comments

  1. This looks great and seems like it is on the healthier side of things. Do you know how many calories are in a serving and the serving size?

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