This Mexican Quinoa Casserole Recipe is an easy and delicious one-pan dinner perfect for busy weeknights! Filled with ground turkey, bell peppers, and pantry staples like canned black beans, corn, and tomatoes, the whole family will love this cheesy quinoa casserole.
Easy Mexican Quinoa Casserole Recipe
Everyone loves a good meal that’s easily slapped together using pantry and refrigerator essentials. This nutrient-packed Mexican quinoa casserole is my favorite solution to busy nights, picky eaters, and recipe options that will feed us more than once. The best part is that it is completely versatile – simply use what you have on hand and don’t worry about the rest.
Bursting with high protein ingredients such as ground turkey, black beans, quinoa, and cheese, this delicious dinner is filling, but not heavy, and loved by athletes, husbands, and even picky kiddos.
Mexican Quinoa Skillet Ingredients
I really encourage anyone who makes this recipe to play around with the ingredients. If you don’t like something, leave it out. If you want to add something in that you don’t see listed, go for it!
To my skillet recipe, you’ll find:
- Ground turkey – I wanted to add something lighter than ground beef. If you’re vegetarian, feel free to skip the meat and add more/different kinds of beans or plant-based meat alternatives.
- Onion, Jalapeno peppers and bell peppers – Skip the jalapeno peppers if you’re worried about it being too spicy. Swap with canned green chilies which are guaranteed to be mild, but still add that delicious green chili flavor.
- Tomatoes – I didn’t have any canned diced tomatoes so I ended up using fresh tomatoes in this recipe. Canned tomatoes will work just as great and save you time.
- Canned beans and corn – pick your favorite bean variety.
- Cilantro – or not. I love cilantro, but if you’re not a fan, then definitely leave it out.
- Quinoa – If you don’t have any quinoa available, feel free to substitute with cooked rice, pasta, couscous, lentils, or any other favorite grain.
- Cheese – I love cheese, so of course, I made it a huge player in this dish. If you don’t like cheese, or you’re sensitive to dairy, it’s easy to leave it out.
For the full list and amounts of ingredients, scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
How to Make Mexican Quinoa Casserole
This recipe is kinda skillet, kinda casserole. I mean, the whole thing is cooked right in a skillet, but it’s baked like a casserole, so feel free to call it whatever you want. I tend to alternate back and forth.
Anyway, no matter what you call it, it’s super easy to make! And the leftovers? DELICIOUS. So don’t worry if you’ve got ’em.
Alright, let’s get started…
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and cook your quinoa according to package instructions. A couple of things to consider when making quinoa.
- One cup of uncooked quinoa equals approximately three cups of cooked quinoa.
- The package instructions will tell you to cook one cup of quinoa in three cups of water. I find this to be too much – especially for this recipe where it is being added to a pan filled with extra liquid. Instead, cook your quinoa in 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 cups.
Next, pick the pan or skillet you’re going to use. If you plan to cook and bake it in the same skillet, make sure you’re using a skillet that is oven-safe. If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, that’s ok. You can always transfer everything to a casserole dish before baking.
In your skillet cook your onions and brown your meat. Use any kind of meat or onion that you’d like! I wanted to keep this dish on the healthier side, so I chose ground turkey.
SEASON with whatever you want. I added taco seasoning, paprika, salt, and pepper. I didn’t want to overdo it and take-away from all the other flavors in the fish.
Add the jalapeño, garlic, tomatoes, and bell peppers, and then let it cook uncovered for at least 5-10 minutes or until most of the liquid pooling in the bottom of the skillet evaporates. Some liquid is OK, but we’re not making soup, so be patient here.
Add the drained corn, drained and rinsed black beans, cooked quinoa, and chopped cilantro. Mix well and continue to cook until just heated through. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in half of the shredded cheese. Sprinkle with chopped green onions and the remaining shredded cheese. When you’re ready to bake, tent with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake at 375 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Can this recipe be frozen? Yes, to freeze this Mexican quinoa casserole, cover tightly and freeze before baking. Allow your casserole to cool before transferring to the freezer.
How long will leftovers last when stored in the refrigerator? Leftovers are good for up to 5 days when stored in the refrigerator.
What to serve with this Mexican quinoa skillet? Salsa, sour cream, avocado, hot sauce, and CHIPS!
More Casserole Recipes,
If you try making this Easy Quinoa Casserole, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Easy Mexican Quinoa Casserole Recipe (One Pan)
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa (or 3 cups cooked quinoa (see notes))
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion (diced)
- 1 pound ground turkey ((or ground beef))
- 2 tsp taco seasoning
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 jalapenos (diced (see notes))
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes (or 10 ounces chopped fresh tomatoes)
- 3 bell peppers ((I used 1 red, 1 yellow, and 1 orange))
- 1 (15 ounce) can black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 (15 ounce) can corn (drained)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (minced)
- 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese (shredded)
- 1 cup green onions (sliced)
- 8 ounces Sharp cheddar cheese (shredded)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions. 1 cup uncooked quinoa equals approximately 3 cups cooked quinoa. I recommend cooking 1 cup quinoa in 2 1/4 cups liquid (not the recommended 3 cups) to prevent it from becoming overly soggy. Set aside until ready to use.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large, oven-safe skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and translucent (approximately 5 minutes). Add the ground turkey and sprinkle with the taco seasoning, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook, breaking up the ground turkey into smaller bits and pieces until cooked.
- Stir in the minced garlic and jalapeño peppers. Continue to cook for an additional 1-2 minutes before adding the tomatoes (fresh or canned) and diced bell peppers. Mix thoroughly to combine and cook, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes, or until much of the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the drained corn, drained and rinsed black beans, cooked quinoa, and chopped cilantro. Mix well and continue to cook until just heated through.
- Remove skillet from heat and stir in half of the shredded cheese. Sprinkle with chopped green onions and the remaining shredded cheese. Tent with foil and transfer to the oven. Bake at 375 degrees F for approximately 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
- Serve with your favorite salsa, hot sauce, avocado, or sour cream. Enjoy!
- If you don't have any quinoa available, feel free to substitute with cooked rice, pasta, couscous, lentils, or any other favorite grain.
- I added 2 diced jalapeños to my skillet. They were very mild and left me wishing I had added more. If you love spicy foods, you may want to add more. If you're unsure, start with less and add more as desired. You can also use canned green chilies which are guaranteed to be mild, but still add that delicious green chili flavor.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)