[ From Scratch Cooking ]

Easy One Pot Mexican Quinoa

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You can make this one pot Mexican quinoa recipe in less than 30 minutes. The recipe is plant-based and also is gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free. What I love about this recipe is that it contains quinoa, an amazing superfood, black beans, and an abundance of veggies which makes for a very well-rounded and healthy main course. This post includes the recipe and tips on having the items needed for this meal in a stocked fridge and pantry. I like to repurpose this into a second stuffed pepper meal if you have leftovers. Listed are ideas on changing it to meet your family’s needs.

How to Stock Your Pantry and Fridge to Make this Mexican Quinoa Recipe

colorful peppers and jalapeño in white glass basket with corn on the cob sitting on a cutting board

The driving force behind The Cross Legacy blog is not just a dinner recipe source but to help teach others how to have the items needed in their fridge and pantry to make almost anything. As a mom, I know how hard it is to make everyone happy for one meal; it is tough when each family member has certain food requirements. In our house, we only have one who has food allergies and is also a vegetarian. This is a healthy filling main dish that is vegan and allergy-friendly.

I am pretty consistent with what I buy for produce and have in my pantry, so I always know that I have the items necessary to make just about anything for meals. Switching things up seasonally with produce, especially fruits, keeps my selection interesting but peppers are year-round staples. The only thing that is not a staple in my fridge or pantry in this recipe is cilantro. If I buy cilantro I know that I will be making either this dish or tortilla soup in the next week. I always have the other items on hand, in one form or another. So if you don’t like cilantro or don’t have it on hand it is not a big deal to skip it.

Recipe Notes

This is the ingredient breakdown of each item in this recipe to tell you how I store it, how long it normally lasts in the fridge, and things on my pantry shelves to make this meal in 30 mins with ease.

Fresh Produce Ingredients:

Bell Peppers: This is a great recipe if you buy bell peppers all of the time with good intentions but then don’t know what to do with them once you get them home. There is no set number or color of pepper to add; I just use what I have on hand. This time I had the equivalent to 3 bell peppers, but I used a mixture of mini and large ones. The larger ones were actually from a shopping trip over a month ago. They were starting to get a little wrinkled and it was time to use them up. With having peppers in the fridge I could pull from the pantry the rest of the ingredients needed to make this one pot Mexican Quinoa.

Corn: You don’t need to have corn on the cob. We just happened to have it the night before, so I saved 2 ears of cooked corn for the recipe. However, 1 cup of frozen or canned corn would work just as well. Just drain the liquid if you use canned.

Lemons or Limes: I serve it with either a lemon or lime slice for the extra kick at the end. If I don’t have a fresh lemon or lime, I try always to make sure I have some bottled lemon and lime juice in my fridge, which doesn’t expire for a year to 18 months.

Cilantro: When you bring cilantro home from the store, snip the ends and put it in a jar of water in your fridge like you would flowers. Depending on how fresh it was at the store, it should last a week to 10 days in the fridge at home. Check the water every couple of days to see if it needs more. The cilantro is normally the deciding factor on what night I am making this Mexican Quinoa. If it looks like it is starting to wilt then I make it sooner. The cilantro is just a garnish at the end, so skip it if you don’t like it.

Avocados: I thought if I wanted to make something with avocado I had to run to the store and then use it that day. I have now started putting them in the fridge and they last 2 weeks. They will not ripen anymore in the fridge so I make sure they are to the desired state of ripeness before putting them in. I don’t buy the rock-hard avocadoes anymore either, so they can go straight into the fridge. Since I am the only one in the family to like avocadoes I have tried so many techniques to keep them fresh. I found that putting a cut-in-half avocado into a pint-size wide-mouth mason jar with the lid on (like the ones here) will keep it green for another week. This is how I keep them fresh for my whole 3-week produce shopping trip cycle.

Pantry Ingredients:

Quinoa: I store all of my dry pantry items in glass mason jars. This extends the shelf life of the item as it is airtight. For example, quinoa will last 3-4 years in a jar.

Broth: If you buy store broth and are on a gluten-free diet make sure you read the label. This was one item that we were letting gluten sneak in for a while and I didn’t even think to recheck it. Companies change how they make products, so you need to keep checking the label. Just because it is the same brand you always buy doesn’t mean it’s safe. After that, I started making all of ours from scratch. I always make sure I have some quarts of broth on hand, either frozen or pressure canned.

Canned Items: Black beans and tomatoes are staples here. I make sure that I always have cans of both on hand. You can use just regular diced tomatoes or fire-roasted tomatoes in the recipe. Canned vegetables have a 2+ year shelf life.

Seasonings: Watch out for gluten and hidden fillers in the seasonings as well. Make sure to check the labels and buy organic when you can. I have found around the winter holidays is the best time to get deals on spices and seasonings. The spice level on this recipe is family-friendly; you can add more spices if you like it hot.

Let's Get Cooking!

Mexican Quinoa Salad with Avocados on a white plate.

Easy One Pot Mexican Quinoa Salad

Amy Cross
You can make this easy one pot Mexican quinoa salad in less than 30 minutes! This recipe is also plant-based, gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 289 kcal



Fresh Produce

  • 3 Bell peppers, seeds removed
  • 1 Jalepeno, seeds removed
  • 1 cup Corn, fresh, frozen or canned
  • 1 Onion, medium
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • ¼ cup Lemon/Lime juice - can use either
  • ½ cup Cilantro, (for garnish)
  • 1 Avocado

Pantry Ingredients

  • 1 cup Quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 cup Vegetable broth or stock
  • 1 can Black beans, 15 oz. can, rinse before adding
  • 1 can Diced tomatoes, 15 oz. can


  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 2 tsp. Chili powder
  • 1 tsp. Oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Chop the peppers, onion, garlic and jalapeno and put them in the pot.
  • Turn on stove to medium heat, add about a tablespoon of your preferred oil to the pot and stir occasionally until everything is tender, about 3 min.
  • Add the 1 tsp cumin, 2 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp oregano, and salt/pepper to taste
  • Stir until veggies are evenly covered.
  • Add in black beans, diced tomatoes, corn, quinoa (uncooked) , vegetable stock/broth
  • Bring to a boil for 1 minute, then reduce to a simmer and cover with tight fitting lid. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add lemon or lime juice to the quinoa mixture, either in the pot or while serving.
  • Top with cilantro, avocado and enjoy!


This dish should be eaten within 4 days or put in the freezer for up to 3 months. 
You can also repurpose the leftovers for other meals, such as stuffed peppers, served cold as a quinoa salad, or burritos.
The Cross Legacy provides estimated nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is collected from the USDA database via Spoonacular, when available. If not available, nutrition information is pulled from other online calculators. Ingredients can vary and The Cross Legacy can make no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.


Calories: 289kcalCarbohydrates: 48gProtein: 11gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 619mgPotassium: 922mgFiber: 13gSugar: 6g
Keyword dinner, mexican, one pot dinner, one pot meal, quinoa, vegan, vegan dinner

Round 2 - Repurpose Mexican Quinoa for Another Meal

I am a firm believer in meal prepping any way I can when it gets wholesome food into my family’s diet.

Some of these suggestions below are how to adapt this for the rest of the family if needed and changes to the original vegan recipe so it doesn’t feel like leftovers.

Stuffed Peppers:

I cut peppers in half and used the remaining quinoa mixture to stuff the peppers. Sprinkle with cheese of choice and put in the air fryer or oven for 20 mins at 350 degrees. I serve this over brown rice. You could also add salsa.

If you didn’t want to have the stuffed peppers right away, you can pop them in the freezer and pull them back out for another night.

If I had thought about it sooner, I would have pulled out the cooked taco meat I had in the freezer and added it to the quinoa mixture in the peppers. To keep it vegan, you could use a plant-based beyond beef which is soy and gluten-free.

Quinoa Salad:

Another option is to serve it cold as a Quinoa Salad. Even better is scooping it up with a couple of corn chips… I might have had a couple while I was making the stuffed peppers. I tested the freshness of some corn chips I put in a glass jar 2 weeks ago; it was quality control.


With leftover Mexican Quinoa, you could make burritos easily. In a tortilla of your choice, add the quinoa mixture and cheese if you want, then roll it into burritos. I freeze them in a glass Pyrex dish with an airtight lid; then, you can pull them out individually as needed and warm up in the air fryer. It can be in the freezer for up to 3 months. There are endless ways you could repurpose this to eat the same week or to pull out in the coming months.

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Amy Cross
Hi, I’m Amy! I’m a wife, mom, author, speaker, influencer and Founder of The Cross Legacy. Eating fresh produce has always been important to me and my family, but during a season of my life when I struggled with... To learn more, click the 🔗 button above this bio.
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