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Tex-Mex Quinoa

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 198kcal
Cost $6.32


  • 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


  • PREP: 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!


Note 1: 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: While it's tempting to lift the lid to check on the dish or sample a bite, slow cookers work by trapping heat and 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.


Serving: 8servings | Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 31.6g | Protein: 14.8g | Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 5.7mg | Sodium: 810mg | Fiber: 6.9g | Sugar: 4.4g