There is so much temptation to eat unhealthily at this time of year. Sweets, rich meals, and cocktails are everywhere!
Although I’m not one to pass up an indulgence (I wish I had the willpower), I do like to temper all the fattening options with healthier choices. Cookie calories don’t count if you eat a salad first, right?!?
This healthy Mexican Quinoa Casserole is so delicious and filling that you won’t miss the treats!
I created this casserole a few years ago as a way to use up the odds and ends filling my refrigerator. It’s been a favorite ever since.
This is my kind of comfort food. It’s hot and cheesy, but it’s also packed with vegetables and filling quinoa. The Mexican seasonings pull everything together, and really, who doesn’t love Mexican food?
These best thing about this healthy Mexican Quinoa Casserole is how flexible it is. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Add other vegetables, such a red pepper or corn.
- Replace the quinoa with rice or even fresh corn tortilla strips.
- Swap the cheese for Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack, or leave it off altogether for a vegan meal.
- Skip the baking for a quick bowl meal.
- Top the finished casserole with fresh cilantro.
- Substitute salsa for the tomatoes and chilies.
- Use kale instead of spinach.
- Replace the black beans with pinto beans.
I could keep going, but you get the idea. Make this healthy Mexican Quinoa Casserole the next time you’re craving comfort food and have fun putting your own spin on it!
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 chipotle pepper, chopped, plus a couple teaspoonfuls of adobo sauce
- 1 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 10-oz. can diced tomatoes and chilies (such as Rotel)
- 1/2 cup black olives, halved
- 1 6 oz. bag fresh spinach
- 4 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Combine broth and quinoa in a medium pot. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover pot, and simmer until broth is absorbed, about 15 - 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium high heat.
- Add onion to pan and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and starting to brown.
- Stir zucchini into onion and cook until it starts to brown around the edges, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat to medium and allow skillet to cool for a few minutes.
- Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt to vegetables. Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 30 seconds to 1 minute).
- Stir in chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, black beans, tomatoes, and olives.
- Cook until just heated through.
- Turn off heat and stir in spinach.
- When quinoa is ready, combine it into the vegetable mixture.
- Season with additional salt, if desired.
- Place half of the mixture in a medium casserole.
- Top with half the cheese.
- Cover cheese with remainder of mixture.
- Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
- Bake casserole for 10 to 15 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Serve immediately. Enjoy!
Doesn’t it look cheesy and delicious?