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Mexican Quinoa (One Pot)

This Mexican Quinoa (One Pot) is a simple, healthy, and delicious recipe that’s ready in 30 minutes. It’s chock full of protein, thanks to the quinoa and black beans, and it’s a perfect side or main dish. The best part? It’s all made in one pot, making cleanup a cinch!

Mexican quinoa with black beans and corn in a bowl.
This Mexican Quinoa tastes incredible and is chock full of plant-based protein.

Video: Watch Us Make This Recipe

Why This Recipe Stands Out

We love easy one-pot meals, and this Mexican Quinoa is no exception. It’s quick, easy, and incredibly delicious. Here’s why this recipe stands out:

  • Quick and Easy: This recipe is ready in just 30 minutes, making it a great option for busy weeknights just like our 30-Minute Taco Casserole.
  • One Pot: With just one pot, the cleanup is a cinch, leaving you more time to enjoy your meal. This One Pan Chicken Fajita Pasta is another one of our favorites.
  • Versatile: This dish can be a side or a main course. It’s perfect for family dinners, potlucks, and picnics.
  • Healthy: Quinoa and black beans are packed with protein, making this recipe a nutritious choice. It’s a lot like our Mexican Chicken and Quinoa Stew that’s also packed with healthy ingredients.
  • Flavor: The fresh tomatoes, corn, cilantro, and lime all work together seamlessly to produce a superbly refreshing and flavorful quinoa dish.

Key Recipe Ingredients

Overhead shot of ingredients to make Mexican quinoa on a dark background.
  • Quinoa – This is the star of our dish, and for good reason. It’s a complete protein, packed with all nine essential amino acids, making it an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans.
  • Chicken Broth – Using chicken broth instead of water adds a depth of flavor to the quinoa as it cooks, resulting in a more delicious final dish.
  • Spices – Ground cumin and cayenne pepper add a warm, smoky spice to the dish for some delicious Mexican flavors.
  • Black Beans – We love the heartiness and protein boost that black beans add to this recipe. Make sure to rinse and drain them well to remove excess sodium and starch.
  • Lime Wedges – The freshly squeezed lime juice not only adds a zesty kick to the dish, but it also helps to brighten up the flavors of the other ingredients.

Substitutions And Variations

We love how versatile this Mexican Quinoa recipe is. Here are some of our favorite substitutions and variations to make it your own:

  • Spicier: If you like your food with an extra kick, feel free to increase the amount of cayenne pepper, or add some red pepper flakes.
  • Vegan: This recipe is already vegetarian, but you can easily make it vegan by substituting the chicken broth with vegetable broth or water.
  • Other Herbs: If you’re not a fan of cilantro, you can substitute it with parsley or even fresh oregano.
  • Other Beans: Feel free to use garbanzo beans or white beans instead of black beans.
  • Add Protein: For meat lovers, feel free to add cooked shredded chicken, cooked ground beef, or sautéed shrimp.
  • Turn it into a Salad: This one-pot Mexican quinoa is delicious on its own, but you can also turn it into a salad by chilling it and adding some extra fresh vegetables like bell peppers, or even some avocado slices on top.

Step-By-Step Recipe Instructions

  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine wire mesh to remove all excess water. Sauté onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add quinoa and just under 1 1/2 cups of broth.
  2. Stir in cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Cover and let it simmer for 22 minutes without lifting the cover. 
  1. Add corn and beans, cover, and continue to simmer for 5 minutes. Then, stir in cilantro and tomatoes. 
  2. Squeeze fresh lime juice over the dish to serve.

For full list of ingredients and instructions, see recipe card below.

How To Prep Ahead

This one-pot Mexican quinoa is not only a delicious and healthy meal, but it’s also incredibly easy to make, especially with a little bit of prep work. Take a look at our best prep-ahead tips for this recipe:

  • Chop Ahead: Chop the onion, garlic, and tomato ahead of time and store them in the fridge. This can be done up to 2 days in advance and will save you some valuable time when you’re ready to cook.
  • Make It a Day Ahead: This Mexican quinoa tastes even better the next day, so feel free to make it in advance and store it in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, simply reheat it and it’s good to go.
Overhead shot of Mexican quinoa in a bowl with a lime wedge and a fork on the side.
This Mexican quinoa can be ready in just 30 minutes and works great as a side or main dish.

What to Serve with Mexican Quinoa (One Pot)


  • Mexican Quinoa is a complete meal on its own, but if you’d like to add some extra protein, it pairs wonderfully with grilled chicken or even with some grilled shrimp.

Other Mexican Dishes

Commonly Asked Questions

What is the best way to rinse the quinoa?

Rinse the quinoa in a fine wire mesh to remove as much liquid as possible. This will ensure that the quinoa is properly washed and will not become mushy when cooked.

Can I use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth to make this recipe vegetarian?

Yes, you can substitute chicken broth with vegetable broth to make this recipe vegetarian. It will still give the quinoa a nice flavor and keep it moist during cooking.

How do I know when the quinoa is cooked?

The quinoa is cooked when the broth is fully absorbed and the grains have become translucent. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes to simmer.

Is it necessary to cover the pan while it simmers?

Yes, it is necessary to cover the pan while it simmers. This allows the quinoa to cook in the steam created inside the pan.

How long can I store the cooked Mexican quinoa in the fridge?

The cooked Mexican quinoa can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Just make sure to keep it in an airtight container to maintain its freshness.

Did you make this?

Please give us a rating and comment below. We love hearing from you!

Mexican quinoa with black beans and corn in a bowl.

Mexican Quinoa (One Pot)

5 from 23 ratings
This Mexican Quinoa is a flavorful dish that's chock full of healthy grains, protein, and southwestern flair! Perfect side or salad for all those get-togethers. Vegetarians will adore it. Be sure to rinse and drain well the quinoa before cooking.
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Amy Dong


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 whole onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¾ cup dry quinoa, rinsed and drained very well to remove as much liquid as possible
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth, just under
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp table salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 cup sweet corn kernels
  • 15 oz black beans, from can, rinsed and drained well
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • ½c cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • lime wedges, for sprinkling


  • Be sure uncooked quinoa is rinsed thoroughly and drained well to remove all excess water. A fine wire mesh works best.
  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil. Cook onion and garlic just until tender. Add quinoa to the pan. Add just under 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (between 1 1/3 and 1 1/2 cups).
  • Stir in cumin, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to simmer. Simmer until broth is fully absorbed, 22 minutes. Do not lift cover during cooking.
  • Stir in corn kernels and black beans, cover, and continue to simmer 5 more minutes. Stir in chopped cilantro and tomatoes.
  • Sprinkle with freshly squeezed lime juice to taste, and serve.


  • Make sure to rinse the quinoa thoroughly before cooking to remove its natural coating, which can make it bitter. Draining well is also important to prevent the quinoa from becoming mushy.
  • Use just under 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth for the quinoa. This will allow the quinoa to cook and absorb the liquid properly without becoming too soggy.
  • Remember to cover the pan while simmering to allow the quinoa to cook in the steam. Do not lift the cover during cooking to maintain the right temperature.
  • This Mexican Quinoa tastes even better the next day, so feel free to make it in advance and store it in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve, simply reheat it and it’s good to go.
  • Serve it with a side of fresh salsa or pico de gallo to add some extra zesty flavor to your meal
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating. We ❤️ hearing from you! 
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Nutrition (per serving)

Calories: 179kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 744mg | Potassium: 456mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 320IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Salad, Side
Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Diet: Vegetarian
Method: Stovetop

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