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Economical, Healthy, Quick and Easy, Salad, Side Dishes, Spicy, Vegetarian

Tex-Mex Quinoa

by Nick

I had this dish for the first time at a Fourth of July BBQ and it sat kind of unassumingly in the corner of a table – way back behind the burgers, dogs, and beer.

Only after close inspection did I realize that it was many of my favorite things smashed together: quinoa plus standard tex-mex ingredients.

I’m not entirely sure who brought the dish to the party and I’m sure I didn’t follow the same recipe as they did because I just made it up as I went. But it has all the same pieces, is very tasty, and works great for a side dish or for weekday lunches!

Yield
Serves 6.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Tex Mex Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa, before cooking
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 small red onion, minced
  • 2 red jalapenos, diced
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Directions

1) Cook quinoa according to package. Most likely this will involve rinsing quinoa and adding it to 3 cups of simmering water (for 1 1/2 cups dried quinoa). Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Kill the heat and let it sit and steam for ten minutes. Then fluff with a fork.

2) Dice all veggies paying special attention to dice jalapenos, onion, and cilantro into fine bits.

3) Stir together veggies with quinoa. Season with salt and pepper and spritz with lime juice.

4) Serve immediately or chill and keep in the fridge for 4-5 days.

Cooking Quinoa

I’m starting to think that quinoa is getting so expensive just because people are learning that it might be the easiest grain to cook.

Once you cook it a few times, it becomes really hard to mess up (although I have managed to do so).

You should always check on the packaging for your specific quinoa as they might vary a bit, but you will probably have to rinse the quinoa under cold water and then add it to simmering water in a 2-to-1 (water-to-quinoa) ratio.

Cover it and let it simmer for about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Then kill the heat and let it steam for ten minutes. During this whole time, don’t stir the stuff or uncover it. Just let it do it’s thing.

Once it has steamed, then just fluff it with a fork and it should be light and fluffy and wonderful.

cooked

Nice and fluffy.

The Veggies

The veggies in this salad should be pretty familiar to any Tex-Mex lover.

veg

Time for the veg!

Be sure to dice the jalapeno and onion very finely and remove the seeds from the jalapeno if you don’t want it to be too spicy.

In my first try at this dish, I used way too much cilantro. It completely overpowered everything else so I cut down on it pretty substantially in the recipe.

A little cilantro goes a long way and in the below photo you will an example of a LOT of cilantro.

chopped

Take your time with this…

Honestly, it’ll probably take you about as long to chop the veggies as it takes the quinoa to cook so it’s a well-timed dish.

Then just stir the veggies and quinoa together.

Once everything is mixed well, add in the avocado, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, some cumin and red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.

While you are seasoning it, be sure to taste it and adjust it to your liking.

mixed

All mixed up!

You can eat this dish right away as a side dish. It’s fantastic slightly warm.

Of course, the real beauty of it is that it keeps really well and makes a great lunch for the week.

It will keep fine in the fridge for 3-4 days, but after that it starts to get a bit gross.

Just remember that if you are intending to store it for 4 days that all of the flavors intensify as it sits in the fridge. Namely, the cilantro and onion will start to completely overpower other stuff in the salad.

finished

Don’t over do the cilantro…

It’s a great salad though and has filling and wonderful flavors.

Honestly, I could eat this as a side dish to enchiladas or tacos instead of the standard beans and rice.

Just add this to my ever-growing list of reasons why quinoa is quin-wonderful.

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9 comments on “Tex-Mex Quinoa

  1. Thanks for the great quinoa cooking instructions! That makes a lot of sense. Never let it sit and steam before.

    Question: My normal grocery store only sells green jalepenos. How do green differ from red? Would substituting green for red at the same amount be sensible?

    LOVE your website. AWESOME awesome AWESOME!!!

  2. Slight detail – although listed in the ingredients list, the can of black beans is not written in with the instructions.

  3. I made this tonight…..delicious!! Like Heather, I could only find green jalapenos. Will be having this for lunch for the next few days.

  4. Just made this yesterday with cracked wheat instead of quinoa. You weren’t kidding when you said quinoa has gotten more expensive — $5/lb vs $2/lb for the bulgur! Super simple and super tasty!! Thanks for getting me a good lunch for the week.

  5. Made this last Thursday for a BBQ. It was a big hit. My 10-year old daughter liked it especially. I’ve been eating the leftovers for days. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hi! This looks fantastic! Does this recipe taste best served immediately after making or will it be just as good (if not better) the next day (refrigerated)? I want to serve this tomorrow afternoon and am deciding if it’s better to make it tonight or tomorrow. Thanks!

    1. Heya! Sorry, I didn’t get to this yesterday. I think it is best the same day honestly. IT’ll be good the next day though also.

      After 2-3 days it’s starts to break down a bit.

      Good luck!

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