Jan 102019

Mexican Quinoa

Mexican Quinoa

I am going to be straight with you – I’m not usually a big fan of swap recipes. These are the recipes that take a classic dish and swap out some of the ingredients for healthier options. In my experience, these swap recipes too often taste so different from the original that it is hard to accept. However, when it comes to rice and quinoa, I make an exception. Both grains readily take on the flavor of the cooking liquid so as long as the cooking liquid is tasty, the final food product is tasty. Since I love Mexican Rice, I decided to experiment with Mexican Quinoa and this recipe is a winner!

Why quinoa instead of rice? Well take a look at a simple comparison of a few of the items listed on the nutrition facts label. The serving size is 1/4 cup, dried.

Quinoa Brown Rice White Rice
Fiber 5g 1g 0g
Protein 5g 3g 3g
Potassium 239mg 100mg 14mg

It is pretty clear that quinoa wins out when comparing the some of the key nutrition facts. Now that you see why I wanted to find a way to use quinoa instead of rice, here is my Mexican Quinoa recipe.

Mexican Quinoa


  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 8 oz tomato sauce (recommend low sodium or no salt to avoid the dish becoming "too salty")
  • 2 1/4 cups chicken stock (recommend low sodium)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper


  1. Heat canola oil in a large pan. Add quinoa, and stir. Allow the quinoa to lightly toast. Will take 3-5 minutes. Watch closely, as you want it to toast, but not burn.

  2. Add cumin, onion, and garlic to the quinoa. Stir well. Continue to cook until the onion begins to soften, and garlic becomes aromatic. Again, watch closely. (Burned garlic is very bitter.)

  3. Pour in tomato sauce and chicken stock. Add salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Turn up heat and bring to a gentle boil.

  4. Once bubbly, cover and reduce to heat. Simmer for 20 minutes.

  5. Remove from heat, but leave covered for 10 minutes. Fluff with fork

Recipe Notes

Mexican Quinoa stores beautifully in the fridge for a few days. It also re-heats well. Great for packing lunches. I also cook an egg and put on top for a fast, flavorful breakfast that has great satiety!