Southwest Quinoa {gluten free}

This southwest quinoa captures the flavors of Southwestern food by adding corn, tomatoes, and avocado and leaving out the dairy. 

southwest quinoa in skillet with bowl and herbs in background

I’ve always loved Southwest/Mexican food but I used to feel kind of heavy and sloth-y after eating it. It must have been the cheeses and rich sauces that are typical ingredients for those dishes.  This week I wanted to make something that captured the essence of Southwestern food but without all the lethargy I used to feel after eating. I played around with some ingredients found in those types of dishes and came up with my Southwest Quinoa – a tasty whole-food meal that I think everyone will enjoy.

overhead shot of southwest quinoa with dishtowel and small bowl at the top

Versatile Quinoa

Quinoa is so versatile. You can use it in place of rice in any dish. I have quinoa for dinner a number of times each month because it’s so tasty and cooks in about 15 minutes. I make a big batch of grain (brown rice, quinoa, wild rice) every Sunday or Monday to add to make quick meals throughout the week.

Another benefit to quinoa is all its nutritional properties. One cup of quinoa contains over 8g of protein and 21% of the recommended amount of dietary fiber. Quinoa is also a good source of iron as well as carbohydrates.

closeup of southwest quinoa with bowl and herbs in background

Southwest Quinoa

I love my Southwest Quinoa because it’s so easy to make. For this dish, you seriously only have to heat a pan, cut up some veggies, and toss in your already cooked quinoa. I think it took me about 20-30 minutes to make in total (which includes all the prep work).

This easy & healthy vegan Southwest Quinoa can be made in under 30 minutes!Click To Tweet



Southwest Quinoa

This southwest quinoa captures the flavors of Southwestern food by adding corn, tomatoes, and avocado and leaving out the dairy. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 342 kcal
Author Mary Ellen


  • 1 tablespoon coconut or olive oil (if you're not using oil, you can cook veggies in veggie broth)
  • 1/2 small onion , chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 jalapeno , seeded and chopped very small (use 1/2 if you don't want it too spicy)
  • 14.5 oz roasted tomatoes , drained (but save liquid) - I like the fire roasted kind
  • 1 can black beans , drained and rinsed
  • 1 zucchini , diced
  • 2 ears of fresh corn kernels (or about 1 cup frozen)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (the smoked kind is my favorite for this)
  • salt and pepper , to taste
  • 1.5 cups pre-cooked quinoa
  • 1 avocado , diced
  • 2.5 tablespoons cilantro leaves , chopped
  • Juice of 1 lime


  1. In a large skillet, heat coconut oil. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeno and cook until for 3 mins.
  2. Add corn and zucchini and cook for another 2-3 mins.
  3. Add beans, tomatoes, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper and cook for about 5 minutes. If you need more liquid, you can add some veggie broth or water.
  4. Add in cooked quinoa to skillet and fluff with fork until quinoa is heated.
  5. Remove from heat and add the avocado, cilantro, and lime.
Nutrition Facts
Southwest Quinoa
Amount Per Serving
Calories 342 Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 14%
Total Carbohydrates 56g 19%
Dietary Fiber 16g 64%
Protein 14g 28%
Vitamin A 63%
Vitamin C 54%
Calcium 11%
Iron 4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Like my Southwest Quinoa recipe? It would be so wonderful if you could give it some love by sharing it!  

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19 thoughts on “Southwest Quinoa {gluten free}

  1. I really love your photography for this southwest quinoa Mary! That lighting is perfection 🙂 that’s also a really great idea to cook a grain at the start of the week to use throughout the week, I should start doing that too!

    1. Aw, thanks Kyra! I’ve been trying to work more on my photography. Which means I can’t do as many recipes but the photos are better. 🙂 Yes, making a big batch of grain at the beginning of the week has helped me so much.

  2. This looks delicious, and of course nutritious! I’m right there with you on the Southwest/Mexican food love, I just can’t get enough!
    Thank you for linking up with us for Meatless Monday!

  3. This sounds amazing!!! I make a very similar recipe, but this sounds like the rebooted/better version 😉
    I am totally going to make this on Friday for my friend Robin as we’ve both been super stressed and could use a healthful & delicious salad for lunch.
    Thanks so much for sharing this at Healthy Vegan Fridays – I’m featuring this on Friday. I’m pinning & sharing (and making!). Have a great week Mary Ellen!

    1. Thanks so much for the feature Kimmy! Let me know if you and Robin like it and I hope everything goes well this weekend with the prom. I know you’ve been working so hard on it. 🙂

      1. Robin and I LOVED it! It was so good. Exactly what we needed to plow through our meeting and organizing last minute details. YUM.

  4. Now this is my kind of healthy, hearty, chunky and satisfying way to enjoy quinoa! This recipe really kicks basic quinoa up a notch! Thanks for sharing your Southwest Quinoa with us at the Healthy Happy Green & Natural Party. I’m pinning and sharing.

  5. What a yummy combination. My friends and family will love this hearty Southwest Quinoa recipe-and so will I. I have to make this delectable dish soon! Thanks for sharing this at the Plant-Based Potluck Party. I’m pinning and sharing!

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