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Mexican Quinoa

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
Calories 223kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
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.


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.


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