Home > Dinner > Tex Mex Quinoa Tex Mex Quinoa May 28, 2020 | 109 Comments SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Jump to Recipe This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy. This simple slow cooker Tex-Mex Quinoa casserole is packed with nutritious ingredients and a killer seasoning blend. This quinoa dish is fairly hands off, letting the slow cooker do all the work! After it’s done cooking, finish it off with fresh lime, herbs, and freshly grated cheese. Pair this Tex-Mex Quinoa with a light and crunchy side dish like this cucumber salad or this easy pasta salad with fresh corn. Tex-Mex Quinoa made in the Slow Cooker After sharing this Quinoa Enchilada Crockpot recipe, I’ve had so many requests for similar recipes; I’m excited to share this recipe today. My family can’t get enough of it, and I’m thrilled because it’s not only simple to assemble, it’s also loaded with nutritious ingredients. When I first got a slow cooker years ago, finding a good, filling, vegetarian slow cooker recipe was extremely rare, so I’m pleased that this recipe fits all of those categories. While meat can certainly be added or served on the side, you won’t miss the protein in this recipe. Quinoa and black beans are two great plant-based sources of protein. And alongside that, we’ve got lots of veggies and an amazing seasoning blend. The best thing to tie everything together? Cheese of course! So let’s start by talking about that very ingredient: Let’s talk cheese Pre-grated cheese has a cellulose coating that keeps it from melting nicely. While you can use it in Tex-Mex Quinoa, it will get a little greasy and won’t melt as smoothly. I recommend freshly grating the cheese. If you have a food processor with a grater attachment, it will only take a few seconds! We love pepper-Jack cheese in this recipe; it’s has a little bit of a kick with a spicy flavor and delicate mouthfeel. It also melts really well into the dish. If you aren’t a fan of pepper-Jack, I’d recommend a sharp Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese. Monterey Jack is fairly mild, so you may want to amp up the spices a bit if using that. Slow cooker cooking temperature Unfortunately, Tex-Mex Quinoa doesn’t cook well on low temperatures; the quinoa absorbs liquid too slowly and has a tendency to become mushy. I recommend cooking this recipe on high. Not all slow cookers cook at the same rate; some cook faster or hotter than others. I’ve tested this recipe in three different slow cookers and in one it was done in 2 hours 40 minutes while the other two batches took around 3 hours to finish. At around 2 and a half hours of cooking time, check on the dish, watching for the quinoa to have popped and liquid to be absorbed. While it’s tempting to lift the lid to check on the dish or sample a bite, slow cookers work by trapping heat and steam while the food cooks for a longer period of time. So, every time the lid is removed, the heat escapes and takes a while to build back up again. QUICK TIP Why does quinoa pop? It’s a lot like another seed people enjoy: popcorn! It’s caused by tiny bits of moisture inside the seed kernel. When heated, the steam expands and causes the outer hull to explode. Popped quinoa is a snack very similar to popcorn, too–except the puffs are much smaller than regular popcorn. Tex-Mex Quinoa variations Add heat: A tablespoon or two of diced jalapeños, hot sauce, and/or fire-roasted diced green chilies all add in some heat. Cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes also add in heat but add slowly– a little goes a long way! Reduce heat: If you’re concerned about spiciness in this dish, you may want to slightly reduce the chili powder (or make sure to use a mild chili). I also recommend swapping out the pepper Jack cheese for Cheddar. Make vegetarian: Swap out the chicken broth for vegetable broth. Even without meat, this dish has a good amount of protein in it, thanks to the quinoa and black beans. Add meat: Brown some ground turkey in a skillet and stir it into the finished dish or add some shredded cooked chicken to the finished dish. Convert this recipe to a pressure cooker: I haven’t personally made this recipe in a pressure cooker, but this is a great article for converting slow cooker recipes into a pressure cooker. Tex-Mex Quinoa tips Use fire-roasted diced tomatoes for more flavor. I love Muir Glen’s® fire-roasted diced tomatoes (not sponsored). Don’t forget the toppings. They add so much flavor, texture, and freshness to this dish. Our favorite toppings for this dish are chopped avocados, fresh cilantro, fresh lime, and fresh cherry tomatoes. Other options: sour cream, additional cheese, pico de gallo, guacamole, and green onion. 2 tablespoons of chili powder may sound like a lot, but that’s the correct measurement! The heat in chili powder can certainly vary brand to brand and country to country. I use a non-spicy chili powder like McCormick® (not sponsored). Crockpot® is a specific brand of slow cooker. You can use any type of slow cooker you prefer for this Tex-Mex Quinoa. Leftovers As good as this dish is the day it’s made, it only gets better over time! One of our favorite way to repurpose leftovers is by warming through and using as a filling for a burrito. Add a few spoonfuls of the Tex-Mex Quinoa mixture into a large tortilla, add a little extra cheese (if desired), roll up tight, and place in a skillet to brown the edges (1-2 minutes, switching sides every 30 seconds at medium heat). More quinoa recipes Quinoa Chili with sweet potatoes Southwest Quinoa Salad with a cilantro-lime vinaigrette Quinoa Fried Rice with a simple stir-fry sauce Quinoa Enchilada Crockpot with ground turkey Citrus Quinoa Salad with a citrus vinaigrette FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content. Tex-Mex Quinoa 4.91 from 31 votes - Review this recipe This simple slow cooker Tex-Mex Quinoa casserole is packed with nutritious ingredients and a killer seasoning blend! This quinoa dish is fairly hands-off, letting the slow cooker do all the work. After it's done cooking, finish it off with fresh lime, herbs, and freshly grated cheese. SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe Tex-Mex Quinoa 4.91 from 31 votes - Review this recipe SAVE TO RECIPE BOX Print Recipe This simple slow cooker Tex-Mex Quinoa casserole is packed with nutritious ingredients and a killer seasoning blend! This quinoa dish is fairly hands-off, letting the slow cooker do all the work. After it's done cooking, finish it off with fresh lime, herbs, and freshly grated cheese. Course Dinner, Main Course, Vegetarian Cuisine Mexican Keyword Tex Mex, tex mex quinoa Prep Time 20 minutes Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes Servings 6 -8 servings Calories 616kcal Author Chelsea Lords Cost $6.32 Ingredients▢ 1 and 1/2 cups (270g) white quinoa, rinsed▢ 1 large sweet bell pepper, finely diced (I use red)▢ 1 poblano chili pepper finely diced (or use a green pepper)▢ 1 can (15 oz.; 432g) black beans, drained and rinsed▢ 1 can (14.5 oz.; 411g) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained▢ 1 cup (135g) frozen corn▢ 1 teaspoon minced garlic (~2 cloves)▢ 1/2 cup (65g) yellow onion, finely diced▢ 2 tablespoons ground chili powder▢ 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin▢ 1/2 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, onion powder, paprika▢ salt and pepper▢ 3 cups (763g) chicken or vegetable broth (use vegetable broth to make this a vegetarian recipe)▢ 1/4 cup cilantro, finely diced▢ 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice▢ 1 and 1/2 cups (140g) freshly grated Pepper-jack cheese shredded▢ Optional: additional cilantro, diced avocado, diced cherry tomatoes, additional lime wedges InstructionsPREP: Spray a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray (or use a slow cooker liner). Add the uncooked quinoa to a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for 1 minute. (This removes the natural bitter coating on quinoa.)VEGGIES: Finely dice the sweet peppers and poblano chili pepper (remove seeds from both). Add the chopped peppers, minced garlic, and diced onion to the slow cooker. SLOW COOKER: Place the rinsed quinoa, drained and rinsed black beans, undrained diced tomatoes, and corn in the slow cooker. Add in the seasonings: chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste (I add 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Stir everything together and put on the lid.COOK: Set to high and cook for 2-1/2 to 4 hours (See Note 1) or until the broth is completely absorbed and the quinoa is cooked through ("popped"). 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.FINISHING: Once cooked through, fluff quinoa with a fork and then gently stir in the chopped cilantro, fresh lime juice, and any additional salt/pepper as needed. Sprinkle the freshly grated cheese on top and cover with the slow cooker lid to melt for 5-10 minutes. Once melted, gently stir the cheese through the dish (it will continue to melt more and make everything extra cheesy). Serve with any desired toppings (additional cilantro, diced avocados, diced cherry tomatoes, additional lime, etc.).LEFTOVERS: We love adding this 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 NotesNote 1: Cooking time: This recipe doesn’t cook well on low temperatures; the quinoa absorbs liquid too quickly and has a tendency to become mushy. I recommend cooking this recipe on high. Not all slow cookers cook at the same rate -- some cook faster or hotter than others. Note 2: Keep the lid on! While it's tempting to lift the lid to check on the dish or sample a bite, slow cookers work by trapping heat and steam while cooking food for a longer period of time. So, every time the lid is removed, the heat escapes and takes a while to build back up again. Nutrition FactsServing: 8servings | Calories: 616kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 1070mg | Potassium: 890mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1944IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 535mg | Iron: 6mg 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. DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? 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.