One Skillet Mexican Quinoa Dinner

One Skillet Mexican Quinoa Dinner

I am truly trying to support my son in his desire to become a vegetarian. Yet, I am trying to balance the rest of the family wanting to eat meat with his desire not to. He is being very good about understanding that other members in the family are making different choices. He has offered to make different meals or eat different foods than us but I prefer we eat family meals. One family, at one table, eating one meal.

I have been doing tons of research on different dishes and options for meat free meals. I don’t want to eat pasta every night. My daughter detests rice. I bought quinoa the other day and have decided to start there with experimenting with vegetarian cooking.

I am a HUGE fan of one pot meals and I think I can take some of my older recipes and adapt them to make them vegetarian. I don’t want to be peeling, dicing and chopping all afternoon to make dinner. I don’t have the time and I don’t have the money to buy the veggies prepared. There have to be easier options and I will find them!

I started with this recipe for One Pan Mexican Quinoa from Damned and of course had to change it for our tastes and family. You can see the original recipe by clicking on the link above.


I am patting myself on the back over this dinner. Before one bite was even taken my daughter told me how much she hated quinoa and my son was complaining that I made Mexican food without meat. He is the one who wanted to be a vegetarian!

After a few bites the comments changed to, “This is awesome,” and “Wow, this is good!”

I served some chicken on the side. My daughter was the only one who added some. The rest of us ate it vegetarian style. All I did was fry a few pieces of chicken breast with salt and pepper in olive oil for her.

This recipe is gluten-free so my mostly gluten-free son could eat the same meal as everyone else.

I served this dinner with a green side salad.


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 TBSP chili Powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne Powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 + cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 (15 oz) can corn, drained
  • 1 (16 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, green onions, tortilla chips (if desired for garnishes)


  1. Add olive oil and onion to a large skillet over medium heat. Stir until onion softens and starts to turn translucent. Add garlic to pan and stir. Cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Add a little bit of the vegetable stock to the pan and stir well.
  3. Lower heat to medium-low and stir in the tomato paste to the onion mixture. Once the tomato paste has been fully incorporated raise the heat to medium-high and stir constantly allowing the paste to heat through and deepen in color.  It will become very fragrant and darker red after 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add spices, rest of the vegetable stock, quinoa, corn, beans, and tomatoes to the pan and stir well. Cover pan.
  5. Cook allowing mixture to lightly simmer for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. If it seems too dry add a bit more vegetable stock. Quinoa is done when the pieces get larger and the edges form a ring.
  6. Taste and adjust spices as needed. Serve hot with garnishes as desired.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Sounds yummy! I love quinoa! It’s good to use in place of rice for fried rice, too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. koolaidmoms says:

      Can’t wait to try it!

      Liked by 1 person

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