I heart Tex Mex!
I had never heard of Tex Mex food before I moved to Texas. When I tried it for the first time, I was hooked. I mean, what’s not to love about grilled fajitas, cheesy quesadillas and chips and salsa!
Living in Texas means that you automatically have some kind of Tex Mex food every week. One of the sides that usually comes with a Tex Mex meal is Spanish rice. It’s basically white rice that has been cooked in tomatoes, spices and broth to give a flavorful accompaniment to your favorite entree.
Since I’ve begun my healthier eating and cooking journey, I’ve been using more quinoa, and less rice, in my meals. Because of this, I wanted to make a version of Spanish rice but using quinoa instead.
Quinoa is a superfood because it contains all 20 of the amino acids needed by the human body. There are very few plant foods that contain all of these amino acids. The human body can make 11 of these amino acids, but the remaining amino acids are absorbed from food. Usually, animal proteins are the best sources for these amino acids, but since quinoa contains all 20 of the amino acids, it is a great alternative for people that don’t eat or eat little animal products.
Amino acids are broken down and are used by the body to build muscle, regulate your immune system, helps cell growth, boost energy and so much more! They are essential to so many functions of the body.
Quinoa has higher amounts of protein, fiber and micro-nutrients. While it might look like a grain, it’s actually a seed from the same family as spinach. It is also gluten free and high in antioxidants. Some of these antioxidants may also be linked to help prevent or treat cancer. This little seed truly packs a nutritious punch!
The other benefit of quinoa is that it easy to throw together in a pot and cooks super quickly. That makes getting dinner on the table super fast! It only takes about 15 mins to make this dish, and 10 mins are just letting the quinoa cook, covered, on the stove.
This recipe uses the same spices that you would find in Spanish rice. So it tastes the same, but you get the extra nutritional benefits from the quinoa at the same time. Now that’s my kinda food! Where you can have something delicious and still be giving your body lots of nutrients to help it thrive!
This Mexican Quinoa is absolutely packed with bold flavor. The ground cumin gives a smoky flavor against the heat of the chili powder. The extra savory notes from the onion are offset with the natural sweetness from the tomatoes. And the cilantro not only gives a pop of color, but also that bright fresh flavor to elevate the dish.
I hope you give this recipe a try! It’s a fun way to make quinoa because it is so flavorful, fast and easy! It’s also gluten free and can be made vegan by swapping the chicken broth with vegetable broth. If you like things on the spicy side, feel free to add more chili powder, or take it to the next level by adding chopped jalapeños. Yum! Or tone it down by halving the chili powder used. This recipe is super versatile!
A super simple side to go with your Tex Mex feast! Gluten free, sugar free but full of protein, fiber and flavor!
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
- 1 10 oz can Rotel, mild
- 1.5 cups water or chicken/vegetable broth
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped
In a medium sized pot, add the olive oil and heat pot over a medium heat.
Once warm, add the onion and saute for a couple of minutes till starting to soften.
Add in the chili powder, garlic powder, cumin and oregano. Toast spices for about 1 minute, till fragrant.
Add in the Rotel and water or broth. Stir to combine.
Add in the quinoa and stir well. Cover the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low, and allow the quinoa to simmer until all the moisture is absorbed, approximately 10 minutes. Keep the lid on the quinoa the whole time.
Once the quinoa is cooked and all the liquid in the pot has been absorbed, stir the quinoa to fluff it up, and garnish with the chopped cilantro.
Store leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.