Spoonful of Mexican skillet quinoa

Mexican Skillet Quinoa

October 6, 2015 by Michelle

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This shop featuring a Mexican skillet quinoa recipe has been compensated by Jewel-Osco. All opinions are mine alone. #StockUpOnPace #CollectiveBias #JewelOsco

Mexican Quinoa Skillet Recipe that is ready in under a half hour. Vegan, dairy free, gluten free, soy free, and overall allergen friendly. Healthy one pot recipe for a weeknight dinner!

I first discovered quinoa several years ago. And I was boring with it. I used it as a side dish, cooking it in chicken stock with dried parsley, which was delicious. And so I would buy more quinoa that would sit in my pantry because I can only make and eat that every so often. Fortunately, I started getting more adventurous with my quinoa as time went on, making some amazing recipes like a chicken and spinach quinoa entree and even some fun cold salad recipes with cranberries and more.

Once I realized how versatile quinoa is, I started having more fun with it and incorporating more flavors. It’s filled with protein, containing more than 8 grams in one cooked cup of quinoa, so I love incorporating it wherever I can…. like this Mexican skillet quinoa.

But let’s back up. Have you ever had quinoa? Or more importantly, can you pronounce it? I’ll admit that when I first discovered it, I was mispronouncing it. In fact, I remember eating at a restaurant in Chicago and ordering a dish with quinoa and giggling (ignorantly) to my friends that the waiter didn’t know how to pronounce quinn-oh-uh. Actually, it was me who didn’t know how to pronounce keen-wah. But thanks to my folly, you’ll always sound smart and pronounce it correctly. Quinoa? Keen. Wah.

After all, as much as I cook with it, I should know how to pronounce it, right?

This Mexican skillet quinoa recipe is one I’ve been playing around with since last winter. It is one of my family’s favorite recipes because it has a ton of great flavors. I love it because I can toss it all into a pan and have dinner on the table in under a half hour. Bonus? It’s vegan, dairy free, gluten free, nut free, and pretty overall allergen friendly – but it doesn’t taste like “health food,” so it makes a great potluck dish or one for entertaining other families who may or may not have allergy issues.

Spoonful of Mexican skillet quinoa

And while we eat the Mexican skillet quinoa as soon as it’s ready, this makes enough that we generally also have leftovers for the next day, and it’s just as good cold (my daughter swears) as it was hot the night before. Because it has avocado in it, I don’t like to reheat it.

This recipe has changed over time and as I’ve continued playing with it. While I started out using diced tomatoes, I quickly realized that a chunky salsa actually worked better and added a ton more flavor. And who do you think of when someone says chunky salsa? For me, hands down it’s Pace. Pace is always a consistently quality salsa, and it kicks up the flavor whether I’m using it by itself or in a recipe from over eggs for a breakfast burrito to an ingredient in my mile high tortilla pie.

I decided to make it again this week – and finally post my Mexican skillet quinoa recipe – but of course I had all the ingredients on hand except the Pace Thick and Chunky Salsa I needed. Fortunately, my Jewel is just down the road, so I ran there (literally – it’s that close!) to pick some up and get my dinner rolling. The fun surprise? Jewel is having a huge stock up sale right now, and – yay – Pace salsas are a part of it!


Now me, I like the mild thick and chunky Pace salsa for my Mexican skillet quinoa. I’m already adding chili powder, cumin, and other flavors to it, so I don’t want to overwhelm it with heat, but if you have another favorite Pace salsa? Go for it! And do it now while it’s on sale – stock up on Pace 16 oz. salsas while they’re 2 for $4 at your local Albertsons/Safeway store during the Stock Up Sale 9/30-10/13.

Pace Salsa at Jewel Osco

Mexican Skillet Quinoa

Now I love this Mexican skillet quinoa because it’s fast and easy, but it also cooks in just one pot, which means fewer dishes to wash at the end of the night, which makes my husband happy. All you need are quinoa (which we all know how to pronounce now), vegetable stock, black beans, Pace thick and chunky salsa, frozen corn, tomatoes, garlic, an avocado, lime juice, and some cumin and chili powder.

Ingredients for Mexican skillet quinoa

Start out by getting all your ingredients ready. Once you’re ready to go, you’ll want to have everything ready to dump at once – the quinoa, vegetable stock, Pace salsa, garlic, and black beans.

Prep your beans by pouring the whole can into a colander over your sink and rinsing them until the water runs clear. Measure out your quinoa and vegetable stock, and pull out your chili powder and cumin.

Next up? Mincing your garlic. While you might be tempted to use the bottled minced garlic… don’t. Fresh garlic is so much cheaper and the difference in taste is amazing. It’s surprisingly easy to peel and mince garlic. Need a tutorial? Check it out below.

While you are mincing your garlic, heat a heavy pan on a little less than medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add a tablespoon of oil. Once it is shimmering, add the garlic and fifteen seconds later add the quinoa. Stir periodically so that the quinoa toasts for two to three minutes, which adds a great nuttier flavor in the end.

Toast quinoa to add a nuttier flavor

After two to three minutes of toasting your quinoa, dump in the vegetable stock, black beans, Pace salsa, cumin, and chili powder. Stir once to distribute lightly and turn up the heat to bring to a boil.

Add all ingredients to pot then cover

Once it is boiling, turn the heat down to a bare simmer and cover for 20 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, chop your tomatoes so they’re ready to add. Once the liquid is absorbed, remove the lid and it’s amazing how much the quinoa has fluffed up and created a very different looking dish.

Cook until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy

Remove your dish from the heat. Add the frozen corn and stir to distribute. While the corn is heating through, prep your avocado by slicing it into chunks.

Add frozen corn to cooked quinoa and stir

Add the avocado, tomato, and lime juice just before serving, stirring to ensure it’s distributed within the dish and coated with some of the lime juice to prevent it from browning.

Completed Mexican skillet quinoa

Yep, this Mexican skillet quinoa is really that easy and ready in under a half hour.

Mexican Skillet Quinoa

Mexican Skillet Quinoa

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This vegan and allergy friendly (dairy free, gluten free, etc) one dish dinner has amazing flavor and tons of nutrients. Ready in under a half hour, it's a perfect weeknight meal.


  • 1 T oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c quinoa
  • 1 c vegetable stock
  • 1 16 oz jar salsa
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 t chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 c frozen corn
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped


  1. Prep your black beans and garlic, and measure out your quinoa and vegetable stock. Heat a heavy pan over medium heat.
  2. Once the pan is heated, add oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add garlic and let sit for 15 seconds before adding the quinoa. Stir and let the quinoa toast for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable stock, salsa, black beans, chili powder, and cumin, then stir to mix. Bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a bare simmer.
  4. Cook for 20 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and add corn, then stir the corn in.
  5. While the corn is heating, chop your tomatoes and avocado. Add the tomatoes, avocado, and lime juice and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 184 Total Fat: 7g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 717mg Carbohydrates: 28g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 5g Protein: 7g
This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself.

Have you ever played with salsa like this? Besides a Mexican skillet quinoa, what is your favorite recipe?

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  • Ashleigh

    Looks so good! Quinoa anything is pretty darn yummy and this recipe looks like one the whole fam will enjoy! Thanks for sharing!

  • Christine

    I love how you spiced up quinoa in this recipe. 🙂

  • JenniferDawn

    I love quinoa. I like to mix it with oats too!

  • Kelly @eclecticmommy

    I think I’ve always pronounce it correctly, but now I can cook it properly. I gave up after a very lengthy and failed try at making quinoa as one of my oldest first grains. This is one quinoa skillet I would eat. [client]

  • Ariana

    Wow this looks awesome!!! I love one-pot dishes that are packed with flavour. I can guarantee this will be making an appearance in my fall rotation this year. Thanks for sharing!

  • Alexandra @ My Urban Family

    Yum! I love how much protein is in quinoa! I’ve been trying to use it more often lately as well – even adding a bit to chopped salads. Thanks for sharing!

  • Antionette Blake

    We recently discovered quinoa as well and I will try adding the Pace Peach Mango Salsa and serve it with chicken. Great recipe. #SITSGirls

  • Samara Thiessen

    Looks absolutely amazing! Quinoa is one of those things I have so badly wanted to use, but just have not learned yet! You are inspiring me 🙂

  • Jaelan @ Making Mrs. M

    This looks incredibly delicious. Anything labeled “Mexican” and I’m there!

  • Ludmilla

    I love the video – quinoa pronunciation!! lol
    I love quinoa with almost everything… Our favorite is stuffed pepper or portobello mushroom with quinoa and veggies!!

  • Angie

    That looks super tasty!

  • Mary

    I love anything that has quinoa in it and your dish looks delicious! I will be adding your recipe to my dinner menu soon! Thanks.

  • Ev {ev's eats}

    I make a version of this with rice! I love that you used quinoa! So much healthier!!

  • Charlene Asay

    I love quinoa! This looks like a great dish. I might have to add it to our menu. Thanks!

  • Kam Kay

    I love quinoa. Your recipe looks delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ashley

    I love quinoa! This sounds like the perfect Fall meal, too 🙂

  • Denay DeGuzman

    Your Mexican Skillet Quinoa recipe just jumps off the page because of your gorgeous photos. I’ve always wondered how to incorporate Quinoa into a dish that tastes delicious, but I’ve never taken the time to get creative with it. Now that I have this wonderful recipe, I’m totally game for giving it a try! Thanks so much for sharing it. 🙂

  • Rosie

    This looks taste. Love quinoa.

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