Slow Cooker Mexican Quinoa packed with quinoa, black beans, pinto beans, tomatoes, and zucchini is a healthy and easy dish that can be used in a million ways. Jump to Recipe keyboard_arrow_down
This Crockpot Mexican Quinoa couldn't be easier to make and can be used for tacos, burritos, salads, soups, quesadillas, and more. It's healthy, filling, and can be prepped in advance and even frozen.
I'm always looking for new ways to add different grains to my meals. Don't get me wrong, I love rice just as much as the next person, but I feel like it's a good idea to mix it up whenever possible.
I happen to love quinoa, and all of its benefits: It is high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin B, protein, and tons of other good-for-you nutrients.
I first discovered this dish on another blogger's site (Chelsea's Messy Apron - she's amazing!) and couldn't wait to try it. Quinoa, beans, corn, and tomatoes are all combined and cooked in the slow cooker with spicy enchilada sauce and taco seasoning. What you get is a delicious and easy taco filling — and we all know how I feel about tacos!
It's really, really good and I don't think it can get any easier than literally adding every single ingredient to the slow cooker, turning it on, and waiting a few hours for the final product.
The first night I prepared it, we couldn't wait to try it as taco filling. It was just as perfect as we anticipated. The next day, we used the leftovers for burrito bowls with lots of fresh veggies piled on top. It's also a great complement to some tomato soup if you want to doctor it up into a spicy quinoa soup.
Can I Make This Mexican Quinoa in the Instant Pot?
Yes, if an Instant Pot is your jam, and you want to make this healthy dish even more quickly, then you can certainly make this in that appliance. Remember that dishes cook a lot faster in an Instant Pot (go figure) than they do in a slow cooker and you can't always just add the same ingredients to an Instant Pot and expect it to cook just like it would in a slow cooker. For a good idea of how the two appliances equate, read this post.
For this particular recipe, since it doesn't include any meat or dairy, it's pretty easy to set it and forget it in the Instant Pot as well. Use all the same ingredients, except cut the vegetable broth down to only half a cup. Be sure to rinse the quinoa first and spray the inside of your Instant Pot with cooking spray to keep it from sticking to the sides.
Finally, lock the lid and set your Instant Pot to cook for just one minute. I'm not even kidding. It works though! Remember to follow the instructions for your particular instant cooker and allow the pressure to release properly before taking the lid off. For this one minute method, you need to let the pressure release naturally so the quinoa can finish cooking. This takes about 10 minutes.
What Makes This Mexican Quinoa Healthy?
This recipe is healthy for so many reasons, particularly, of course, because every ingredient in and of itself is healthy.
- Quinoa is full of fiber, is good for your blood sugar and heart, has tons of essential vitamins and minerals, is gluten-free, and also is a great plant source of protein.
- Vegetable broth is low calorie, and contains a lot of the vitamins and minerals of the vegetables from which it was made. It is also fat-free and a great option if you are looking for a vegetarian or vegan broth.
- Black and pinto beans are high in fiber, have no cholesterol or fat, and are low in sodium and a good source of iron. Black beans also contain potassium and folic acid.
- Diced tomatoes with green chilies are low in fat, sugar, carbs, and calories and contain a little bit of protein, vitamins A and C, and calcium.
- Enchilada sauce contains all the goodness of tomato sauce like cancer-fighting lycopene, fiber, and vitamin C, plus the inflammation-fighting powers of spices like chili powder and cumin.
- Corn is a low-calorie source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. It's also a tasty way to deliver some added fiber to your diet.
- Zucchini and summer squash are a good, low-calorie vegetable to add to lots of dishes. They are both full of potassium, vitamin C and A, iron, folate, no cholesterol and nearly zero fat.
- Spices like taco seasoning (especially the low-sodium varieties) are a good way to add lots of flavor without the fat and extra calories. Plus, you gotta have taco seasoning to make the taco ingredients!
What Are Some Other Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes?
Slow cooker vegetarian recipes are up there with some of my favorites to create. Whether you subscribe to meatless Mondays or just want to get some more plant-based foods into your diet, these recipes are some of our favorites. I bet these will soon be on heavy rotation in your house, too!
- Chana Masala is a great meal to put in the slow cooker when you're craving some Indian food with a little spice and whole lot of protein, thanks to chickpeas.
- Ratatouille with Polenta Rounds can take just about any veggie you can throw at it — and churns it back out in a delicious, nutritious meal.
- Vegetarian Pozole is a Southwestern-inspired soup is sure to win over your Sunday crowd.
- Slow Cooker Tuscan Lentil Sloppy Joes are so good, your family will be asking for seconds, not "where's the meat?"
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- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 14 oz. canned black beans, rinsed and drained
- 14 oz. canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
- 14 oz. canned diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 10 oz. enchilada sauce
- 1 cup corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
- 1 U zucchini, chopped
- 1 U summer squash, chopped
- 3 tbsp. taco seasoning
Add everything to the slow cooker and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook on high 2.5 - 4 hours until the quinoa is cooked and not mushy. Since slow cookers differ in temperature, you will want to check the quinoa to make sure it doesn't get mushy and stop cooking it as soon as it is cooked through.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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