Make a delicious twist on Mexican food, even if you have minimal ingredients in your fridge and pantry!
You know those nights you look in the fridge and think - “probably should have gone to the grocery store like five days ago.” Yep, me too. Not gonna lie, having only a handful of fresh ingredients in my fridge really forces me to get creative...especially when you have people coming over and you can’t just serve them cheese and crackers for dinner.
In comes me trying to figure out what the heck to make for dinner. While I’m all about meatless meals (we eat them all the time), I know I have to incorporate a good amount of protein so everyone isn’t hungry 2 hours later. I used quinoa and black beans as my inspiration for the dish...oh and some amazing tomatillo salsa with serrano pepper. Top it all off with white cheddar cheese, what more could you ask for?!
Okay so here’s the thing about grabbing (somewhat) random ingredients from your fridge and pantry to make a meal. It gives you the versatility to switch things up as you’d like, and make the dish your own...or make substitutions when your fridge is empty. Here are a couple suggestions on how to switch up this dish:
- Don’t have white cheddar cheese? Feel free to use cheddar or colby jack! Or remove the cheese all together for a lighter or vegan version of the dish.
- No diced tomatoes with green chilis? Try a regular can of diced or smashed tomatoes. You could also dice fresh tomatoes!
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder could be used to replace the fresh or jarred minced garlic.
- Use a different type of salsa. Want to make it spicy? Add hot salsa! Prefer red salsa? Go for it!
- Depending on how fancy you feel like getting, add some fun side dishes to this meal. Chips & queso, Mexican street corn, or avocado salad.
- Switch up your garnishes and toppings. Sour cream, cilantro, guacamole, pico de gallo, lime juice, jalapenos would all be amazing on top of this dish. Use what you have, or better yet, put a little of each topping in the middle of the dinner table for everyone to garnish their own dish as they like.
This is me telling you to take risks and substitute ingredients - you do you!
30 Minute Mexican Quinoa Skillet
- 2 cups dried quinoa
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 orange bell pepper diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 (15 ounce) canned black beans drained and rinsed
- 2 (10 ounce) canned diced tomatoes with green chilies drained
- 1½ cups tomatillo salsa
- 10 ounces white cheddar cheese shredded
- avocado and green onions for garnish
- Cook quinoa with water according to package instructions.
- While quinoa is cooking, heat a 12 inch cast iron skillet on medium-high heat with extra-virgin olive oil. Sauté diced bell peppers and onions until onions become translucent, about 7 minutes.
- Once onions are translucent, add minced garlic, black beans, and diced tomatoes. Cook for an additional 2 minutes on low, then turn off heat. Heat oven to the ‘broil’ setting so your oven is ready to go.
- Add salsa to cooked quinoa. Stir until combined.
- Add quinoa and salsa mixture to the veggies in the cast iron skillet. Stir until combined.
- Once mixture is combined, top with shredded cheddar cheese. Place skillet into the oven under the broiler until cheese is golden and bubbly (about 4 minutes). I like to keep the oven cracked open so I can keep my eye on the dish while it is broiling.
- Remove from oven. Garnish with green onions and avocado. Serve with tortilla chips.