One Pot Mexican Quinoa

5 from 1 vote

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One pot Mexican quinoa is loaded with quinoa, corn, red onion, spices, and more and it’s a great way to add protein and fiber to a meal. This is a dish the whole family can enjoy as a side or a meatless meal this week.

With all the flavors of your favorite taco dish, this fiesta quinoa makes a great make-ahead side and is great for leftovers the next day. It’s healthy, hearty, and packed with flavor in each spoonful.

Spicy Quinoa ready to eat with avocados in serving bowl

Make sure to check out my cilantro lime rice, or stuffed fajita chicken peppers for more tasty Mexican-inspired dinner ideas. 

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This One Pot Mexican Quinoa Recipe Is…

  • Flavorful
  • Easy quinoa dish
  • Healthy
  • Vegetarian 
  • Family friendly 
  • Made with fresh ingredients 

Ingredients Needed

Freshly diced veggies, taco seasonings and hearty grains make up this easy one pot meal. Top with your favorite protein or garnish and enjoy.

one pan spicy quinoa ingredients in prep bowls

Here’s what you need:

  • Quinoa: This is the base of the salad and provides protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates that help to keep you feeling full and satisfied.
  • Bell pepper: Adds crunch, texture, and color to the salad, as well as vitamin C and antioxidants.
  • Corn: Delicious sweetness and texture are added to the salad, as well as fiber and vitamin C.
  • Tomatoes: Adds juiciness, flavor, and color, as well as vitamin C and antioxidants.
  • Red onion: For a little kick and added richness.
  • Broth: Cooks the quinoa and adds flavor to the dish. Use chicken broth or vegetable broth if you want a vegetarian dish. 
  • Salt: Enhances the flavor of the ingredients and helps to bring out their natural flavors.
  • Granulated garlic: Adds flavor and aroma to the salad.
  • Pepper: Adds a spicy kick to the salad and helps to balance out the other flavors.
  • Coriander: Subtle and citrusy.
  • Cumin: Adds a warm, earthy flavor.
  • Olive oil: Provides healthy fats and helps to coat the ingredients and distribute the flavors.

Note: If you don’t have individual seasonings, you can also use a prepared taco or fajita seasoning mix.

How to Make it

Full directions on this recipe are featured at the end of this post in the printable recipe card. Below is a quick visual walk through.

First, heat oil in a large skillet and add the diced onion with bell pepper. Cook for around 5 minutes until they soften. 

add diced veggies to pan

Add the sweet corn, tomatoes, and quinoa to the pan and stir.

stir in corn tomatoes and quinoa

Pour in the broth, and seasonings.

Stir and cook covered for 20 minutes on low heat. 

add broth and seasonings to quinoa mixture

Check the quinoa mixture after 15-20 minutes. If you find you are running out of liquid in the pan and the quinoa is still uncooked add more water or broth into the pan.

Once the quinoa is cooked, fluff with a fork and serve your choice of meat and/or toppings. 

cooked spicy quinoa in pan simmer over low heat until soft

Topping Ideas 

Feel free to top your protein-packed quinoa anyway you would like in terms of flavor. 

Here are a few of my favorite toppings:

  • Sour cream
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Pico de gallo
  • Guacamole
  • Sliced avocados
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Hot sauce

Recipe Variations

If you want to add even more flavor to this dish, try one of these optional additions!

  • Stir in your favorite cheese or vegan cheese.
  • Add diced sweet potatoes to the dish. 
  • Instead of bell pepper use poblano pepper for added flavor or green chiles. 
  • Add fully cooked ground turkey to create a heartier meal. 
  • Use as a filling for burritos or vegetarian quesadillas
Spicy Quinoa in bowl with sliced avocado

Tips for Success

Make sure that your dish doesn’t lose all the liquid by checking in periodically. Add a little extra broth if needed, until the quinoa is fully cooked. 

The dish is ready when the quinoa is soft and cooked all the way through. 

This is a great for busy weeknights or meal prepping. You can meal prep and place in single serve containers and keep in the fridge for later in the week. Then reheat as you wish. 

Use a large skillet to ensure you have enough room for the dish to expand as it cooks up. The hearty quinoa will soak up the broth and spices and swell a bit as it cooks. 

Storing Leftovers 

This dish can be stored in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. You will love this reheated for an easy meal later on. Make sure it is stored in an airtight container. 

You can also freeze this one pan Mexican quinoa for 2-3 months. Use a proper freezer friendly container.

When ready to eat, thaw in the fridge the night before and reheat in the microwave or in a medium saucepan on the stove.

Note: If you heat on the stove add a splash of broth to ensure it doesn’t dry out as it reheats.

Common Questions

How can I tell if quinoa is done?

Quinoa should be tender and fluffy when it’s done. You can test this by taking a few grains of quinoa and pressing them between your fingers. They should be soft and slightly squishy, but not mushy.

Does white quinoa taste like rice?

White quinoa has a slightly nutty and earthy taste and a firm texture when cooked, which is quite different from the taste and texture of rice. While both quinoa and rice are grains, they have distinct flavors and textures. Quinoa has a slightly chewy texture and a mild, nutty flavor, while rice has a softer texture and a milder flavor. 

Print the Recipe

This one pan Mexican quinoa is a great meatless meal, weekday lunch, or side dish at a church potluck or cookout. I hope you love it!

One Pan Mexican Quinoa

5 from 1 vote
With all the flavors of your favorite taco dish, this fiesta quinoa makes a great make-ahead side and is great for leftovers the next day.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 39 minutes
Total: 44 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


  • 1 large skillet


  • 2/3 cup quinoa
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 red onion , diced
  • 1 cup chicken broth, or vegetable
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/5 tsp coriander
  • 1/5 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • avocado for serving
  • parsley for serving
  • sliced lime for serving


  • Fry chopped red onion and bell pepper in olive oil for 5 minutes. Stir vegetables and turn on low heat.
  • Add corn, tomatoes and quinoa to the pan.
  • Pour in the broth, and also add salt and spices. Stir and cook covered over low heat for 20 minutes. Make sure that the liquid does not boil away, add if necessary (broth or water).
  • Finished quinoa should be soft.
  • Serve with avocado, fresh parsley and lime wedges.


Nutrition information is calculated without toppings or garnish. 
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container. 


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 207kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 806mg, Potassium: 690mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 1231IU, Vitamin C: 59mg, Calcium: 88mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American

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About Andrea Updyke

Andrea Updyke is a married mom of two boys living in Raleigh, NC. She is a published author and blogger of more than 18 years and loves to celebrate the little things that make life awesome.

Whether she's sharing tasty recipes, traveling or hanging with the family, Andrea's goal is to help make your days a little easier and a lot more fun! Email inquiries to

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