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One Pan Southwestern Quinoa

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One Pan Southwestern Quinoa

No time for dinner?

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Or, as a blogger, perhaps no time to take photos of any of the more savory items I’ve wanted to share with you? For some reason, I think I can make dinner and shoot it right at dinner time. It’s insanity. Trying to leverage my time in the kitchen doesn’t always work out, which is why you haven’t seen a savory post in a while. Trust me, it’s not just cakes, cookies and dessert happening around here. Today, we’re taking a break from breakfast and sweets for this One Pan Southwestern Quinoa.  It’s easy, easy, easy and delicious, delicious, delicious. On a busy weeknight, that’s a total win for me.

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I’ve been obsessed with all of the new “one pan this” and “one pan that” recipes for awhile now, so I decided to try a few out. I found two new recipes that I love and this is one of them. I’ve made this recipe a few times, now. I finally learned my “don’t try to shoot anything at dinner time” lesson, and made it again during the day last week so I could finally share it with you. My family didn’t mind; they voted this in as a new addition to our dinner rotation.

One Pan Southwestern Quinoa

I knew we would like it because it had a lot of the flavors that my family loves in some of our other favorite southwestern inspired meals. And I already know they like quinoa, so I was pretty confident this would be a winner. I did change up the spices just a bit to add more flavor. One of those spices is worth adding to your spice cabinet, smoked paprika. My lifetime experience with paprika was pretty much the basic stuff sprinkled on top of deviled eggs or potato salad. I never really felt like it had a flavor, just a color.

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Then, over the years, I started to see different people raving over smoked Spanish paprika or Hungarian paprika that was sweet or hot. I finally bought some Spanish smoked paprika; the smell alone had me hooked. It’s smokey and woodsy and warm but in completely different ways than some other common spices in your cabinet like chili powder, cumin or cayenne. Adding smoked paprika and some onion powder helped round out the flavors for me in this super fast dish.

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So “one pan” really means “one pan.” Simply saute the garlic and jalapeno, then add your spices and let the flavor bloom for just a minute. Then, everything gets added to the pan…the uncooked quinoa, broth, corn, tomatoes and beans. Bring it to a boil, cover, and 20 minutes later it’s done. Stir in some fresh avocado and chopped cilantro, squeeze some fresh lime juice over all, and you’ve got yourself dinner, or even a hearty side dish if that works better for you.

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One other bonus, it’s vegan friendly…yet omnivore approved. Unless you decide to top your One Pan Southwestern Quinoa with cheese or sour cream, which didn’t occur to me during my day time photo shoot.

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Sometimes the best ideas don’t happen until it’s actually dinner time, for real.


One Pan Southwestern Quinoa

Servings 4 Servings


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked Spanish style paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste, use less if you're using regular table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 14.5 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed and drained
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup corn kernels I used frozen and did not thaw
  • 1 avocado seeded, peeled and diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add garlic and jalapeno and lightly saute for a minute. Stir in spices, salt and pepper and allow to cook for another minute, watching your heat so that the garlic doesn't burn.
  3. Stir in vegetable broth, tomatoes, quinoa, beans, and corn. Bring to a boil.
  4. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes. The seeds will look like they've popped open, revealing a tiny white curly tail (the germ of the seed.)
  5. Fluff the quinoa with a fork then stir in avocado, lime juice and cilantro. Top with additional avocado, lime juice, cilantro, sour cream and/or shredded cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

*I removed the seeds and ribs of my jalapeno, but leave them in if you want more heat.

*Read the label when buying fire roasted tomatoes. Some have added chilis and therefore can be very spicy, too spicy for my kids. Mine did not have any extra spice. Again, get the spicy ones if you like more heat.

*You can also add some cayenne pepper when you add the spices. I think I'll do that next time. For us, 1/8 teaspoon will give just the slightest hint without being too spicy for my kids. If you like the heat, add more, maybe a 1/2 teaspoon to one teaspoon. If you're not sure, always start with less.

*Any kind of corn is fine, fresh off the cob, frozen or canned. Drain it if it's canned. Mine was frozen and I added it without thawing.

*Make sure you rinse your quinoa. It has a protective outer coating that can be bitter, so rinse thoroughly before cooking.

*We loved this so much that I made a double batch last time so I could have leftovers. The leftovers weren't as good as I thought they would be, until I realized that the mixture really just needed more moisture to bring it back. If you do have leftovers, just add more liquid when reheating it. I just added more vegetable broth and all was good again. I probably added 1/4 to a 1/2 cup, but you'll have to eye it based on how much you have. Start with less. You can always add more.

Adapted from Damn Delicious

The Merchant Baker Copyright © 2015

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