This one pan Mexican quinoa bake is loaded with veggies. With only 30 minutes, you can whip up a cheesy Mexican casserole the whole family will love. This recipe makes 10 servings, so it will feed a crowd or make you lots of leftovers! All you need is a cast iron skillet to make this quinoa vegetarian casserole. Add some chips and guacamole as a side dish for a perfect weeknight dinner!
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I often have weeknights that I don't feel like cooking. Either I'm low on time, nothing sounds good, or I just don't have a lot of food in the refrigerator. Luckily, you can whip up this quinoa vegetarian casserole even if you're low on time and ingredients!
This Mexican quinoa bake is filled with healthy veggies including black beans and bell peppers. Then, we'll load the top of the casserole with a hearty serving of white cheddar cheese to round out the dish. Everything bakes up perfectly in the oven and the cheey top gets golden brown.
What You'll Learn In This Recipe
I love to teach you a new skill in the kitchen with every recipe on this site. By making this recipe you'll learn:
- Some easy substitutions to use if you're making this recipe without many ingredients on hand
- How to care for your cast iron skillet
- Some easy side dishes and toppings to pair with the cheesy veggie bake
For more tips for improving your skills in the kitchen, sign up for my 5 day email series. You'll learn so many quick tips within this series.
Ingredients You Need
- Dried quinoa: Optionally, you can used a red or multi-colored quinoa.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: This is my oil of choice for sautéeing up vegetables.
- Orange & Red bell pepper: A yellow bell pepper would work as well.
- Red onion: Need help dicing an onion? Check out this one minute tutorial! You'll be chopping onions like a chef in no time!
- Garlic: ½ teaspoon of garlic powder could be used to replace the fresh or jarred minced garlic.
- Canned black beans: Be sure to drain and rinse before using. This helps remove excess salt and build up on the beans.
- Canned diced tomatoes with green chilies: You can also substitute for a regular can of diced tomatoes, if needed.
- Tomatillo salsa: Feel free to substitute for another type of salsa to make the dish more spicy or to accomodate what you have on hand.
- White cheddar cheese: This can be substitutted for any type of cheddar cheese or Colby Jack. Optionally, you can remove the cheese all together for a lighter or vegan version of the dish.
- Avocado/Green Onions: These are completely optionally but make a delicious garnish!
Tools & Equipment
Here are the kitchen tools you'll need to make the cheesy Mexican casserole:
- Chef's Knife: A high quality, sharp chef's knife will help you cut up all the vegetables in this dish in no time.
- Saucepan: We'll be using this to cook the quinoa.
- Cast Iron Skillet: This is one of my favorite kitchen tools - I use it almost every day. Be sure, if you're investing in a quality cast iron, that you learn how to properly take care of it. You can wash the cast iron with soap. Just be sure not to let it soak in water or soap. The main thing is to ensure your skillet is properly dried so it doesn't rust. Here's a short tutorial that shows you everything you need to know.
- Box Grater: This is only necessary if you need to shred your own cheese!
Recipe Frequently Asked Questions
Feel free to switch up the garnishes and toppings you use for this dish. Some of my favorite ideas include:
- Sour cream
- Pico de gallo
- Fresh lime wedges
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.
If you're feeling lazy, throw the leftovers in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high (100 percent power) for 2 -3 minutes until warmed all the way through.
Alternatively, reheat in an oven safe dish covered with foil at 375°F for 10 - 15 minutes until warmed all the way through.
Cheesy Mexican Quinoa Casserole Bake
- 2 cups dried quinoa
- 4 cups water
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 orange bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and diced into ½ inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper stemmed, seeded, and diced into ½ inch pieces
- 1 medium red onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic finely 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 for garnish (optional)
- green onions sliced on the bias for garnish (optional)
- Place quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Cook according to package instructions.
- While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in a 12 inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add bell peppers and onion to the skillet and cook stirring occasionally until the onions become translucent, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add garlic, black beans, and tomatoes with chilies. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, then remove from heat.
- Mix the salsa and cooked quinoa together until combined. Pour the quinoa into the vegetable mixture in the skillet and stir until well combined.
- Top with shredded cheese. Place cast iron skillet under the broiler until cheese is golden and bubbly, about 4 minutes. Be sure not to walk away from the dish while it's in the broiler otherwise something may burn.
- Optionally, garnish with avocado and green onions. Serve immediately.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
Here are some other Mexican-inspired recipes you may enjoy: