Oven-Baked Mexican Quinoa Casserole

Since making the Spinach & Lemon Quinoa Bake in December, I’ve been inspired to cook up a quinoa casserole in the oven. I went with a Southwest/Mexican theme and was amazed at how well it came together. I have to say that I’m pretty excited by this new and easy way of getting quinoa into my diet!

Oven-Baked Mexican Quinoa Casserole - Vegan and Gluten-Free {Dry quinoa and other ingredients cook right in the oven!}

The quinoa cooks directly in the oven, so you don’t have to worry about boiling and preparing it first. If you have a stove-top-to-oven dish (like this gorgeous Le Creuset one), then this is a one-pot meal. If you’re working with a limited kitchen (like me), then you’ll have to fry up the onion and garlic in a frying pan before tossing them into to your casserole dish. Either way, this is a super easy dish that I hope you’ll love as much as I did.

Oven-Baked Mexican Quinoa Casserole - Vegan and Gluten-Free {Dry quinoa and other ingredients cook right in the oven!}Oven-Baked Mexican Quinoa Casserole - Vegan and Gluten-Free {Dry quinoa and other ingredients cook right in the oven!}

I stirred-in canned beans and corn at the 45-minute mark, but felt that the beans were a little tough. I’ve therefore written the recipe so that they’re added after 30 minutes instead, giving them a half-hour to soften up.

Oven-Baked Mexican Quinoa Casserole - Vegan and Gluten-Free {Dry quinoa and other ingredients cook right in the oven!}

When I pulled the casserole out of the oven, I thought that it needed a bit more color, so I tossed a couple handfuls of baby spinach into it. Pretty + healthy for the win!

Oven-Baked Mexican Quinoa Casserole - Vegan and Gluten-Free {Dry quinoa and other ingredients cook right in the oven!}Oven-Baked Mexican Quinoa Casserole - Vegan and Gluten-Free {Dry quinoa and other ingredients cook right in the oven!}

This is good straight-up, but pretty darn amazing topped with a dollop of vegan sour cream, diced avocado, and fresh cilantro. You could also melt some vegan cheese (such as Daiya) on top. Mmm!

Oven-Baked Mexican Quinoa Casserole - Vegan and Gluten-Free {Dry quinoa and other ingredients cook right in the oven!}

I’m so excited by the prospect of just tossing everything into one pot and letting it cook-up in the oven. My next step will be to reconfigure my Quinoa Chili recipe so that it uses the same technique!

4.9 from 16 reviews
Vegan Oven-Baked Mexican Quinoa Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Fry up the onion and garlic, then toss everything in a casserole dish and let it cook in the oven for 1 hour. Too easy! Vegan / Gluten-Free / Nut-Free / Low-Carb
Author:
Recipe type: Main, Side
Cuisine: Mexican, Southwest, Tex-Mex
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 796 ml (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste or ketchup
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp chili powder (more if you like things spicy)
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 540 ml (19 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 311 g (11 oz) can corn kernels, with liquid
  • 3 cups baby spinach
  • Toppings of choice: vegan sour cream, avocado, cilantro, vegan cheese, etc.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a medium frying pan (or stove-top-safe 2.8 liter/3 quart casserole dish). Add onion and garlic, and saute until translucent, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat; and transfer to oven-safe casserole dish if not already using one.
  3. Add quinoa, deced tomatoes (with juice), water, nutritional yeast, tomato paste (or ketchup), and spices. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
  4. COVER and place in oven and set timer for 30 minutes.
  5. Caferfully remove casserole from oven and stir in drained beans and corn (with liquid). If the mixture looks dry, add a half cup of water.
  6. Return to oven WITH LID and set timer for another 30 minutes.
  7. Caferfully remove casserole from oven and stir in spinach. It will wilt from the heat.
  8. Top with sour cream, diced avocado and/or cilantro and serve.
  9. IF FREEZING: Make full recipe but leave-out the spinach and toppings. Let cool and freeze in airtight container(s). To serve: defrost fully, lightly reheat (in microwave or on stovetop), stir in spinach and add toppings of choice.

Update

September 16, 2013 – A kind reader who runs N=1 Lifestyle just reminded me that this recipe is in fact, freezer-friendly! I had actually discovered this a few weeks ago myself, but had forgotten to update the post. So feel-free to freeze this baby BEFORE adding the spinach and other toppings, and then just defrost and reheat it when you’re ready to eat it!

Oven-Baked Mexican Quinoa Casserole - Vegan and Gluten-Free {Dry quinoa and other ingredients cook right in the oven!}Oven-Baked Mexican Quinoa Casserole - Vegan and Gluten-Free {Dry quinoa and other ingredients cook right in the oven!}

111 Comments

  1. Monica says:

    Yowza!
    I love the color the avocado & sour cream add to the casserole – I would definitely try it but I’m in a college dorm until summer, poo.
    But it looks & sounds delish :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks Monica! If you’re working with a limited cooking arrangement, try this recipe: great colors & flavors, and no cooking required if you use canned beans: http://www.vegangela.com/2011/01/17/avocado-mango-black-bean-salad/

      Reply
    • Stephan says:

      Did you ever try it?

      Reply
      • Stephan says:

        I made thhis and it turned out great, Got four dinners and one lunch out of it. I let one of my coworkers taste it (who is a big meat eater) and they said it was delicious. Big win! YAAAAY! I’m going to try one of your desserts next. By the way, my last comment was for Monica, I was trying to make a direct reply to her, but who knows if she still reads this? Anyway, I really did like this dish and it was my first dish with quinoa, I pronounced it wrong at the store and they laughed at me, but I can say it correctly now. :-)

        Reply
  2. Michelle says:

    Looks amazing!!! I will definitely be making this soon. :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Let me know what you think of it – thanks for stopping by ;)

      Reply
  3. This recipe was fantastic, I can’t thank you enough. I have recently decided to take the path to becoming vegan and it has been quite overwhelming. This was the first vegan recipe my mother and I attempted and it turned out perfectly. We were shocked how easy it was and how colourful the meal looked at the end. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Kimmi! I’m so glad that you liked it! Thanks so much for taking a chance on my recipe and taking the time to comment. Good luck with your path to becoming vegan. It gets a lot easier – promise :)

      Reply
  4. Oh I’m a huge fan of one-pot dinners and this looks superb! A great one for when guests are over, too, since you can spend the time chatting rather than fussing over the kitchen. Big win! :-)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      That’s true! Thanks so much for stopping by, I owe you a visit as well, it’s been too long :)

      Reply
  5. Im pinning to make this weekend. OMG it looks so good!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I didn’t see this comment come through – Thanks so much! Let me know if you tried it :)

      Reply
  6. Carole says:

    Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole’s Chatter is collecting links to posts about Mexican dishes and flavours. I do hope you link this one in. This is the link . Please do pop back to check out some of the other links – there are a lot of good ones already. Have a great week.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks so much Carole! I’ll go link a few Mexican Vegan recipes now… :)

      Reply
  7. Gabriela Garza says:

    Thank You for posting this! Im Mexican and i thought it was incredible! This turned out amazing!!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Wow, I’m honored! Thanks for trying it, and taking the time to leave feedback :)

      Reply
  8. Aimee says:

    Angela I stumbled upon your website the other day and I’m so glad I did. Your recipes look fantastic. I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious. I plan to make it again over the weekend to have on hand for a quick lunch or dinner. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Aimee – I’m so glad you tried it and liked it. Thanks for letting me know :)

      Reply
  9. Carole says:

    Angela, thank you for linking this in to Food on Friday. We have got a super collection of Mexican dishes. I hope you have stopped by some of the other links to check them out!

    Ps I have just signed up to follow your blog. A follow back to Carole’s Chatter would be wonderful – or have you already followed? Cheers

    Ps If you would like email reminders of future Food on Fridays, just pop by and comment and include your email – I won’t publish it – and the reminder will be by bcc so it will remain private

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks Carole! Yes, I’ve added your blog to my RSS reader and will follow the Food on Fridays posts there. Thanks again!

      Reply
  10. Lisette Armstrong says:

    Ange just made this for dinner as was in need of an easy, comforting meal after a big night out. I upped the chilli and added some fresh grape tomatoes. LOVED it! It was a winner for both Lindsay and I and think it’ll feature as a regular on the menu each week. Thanks!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      YAY! I’m so glad you like it! Fresh grape tomatoes are a great addition. Stay tuned for a curry version… :)

      Reply
  11. zubbles says:

    This is fantastic! Do you think it would work in a slow cooker?

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I don’t see why not, although I don’t own one, so I can’t comment on how long it would take. If you try it and it works, please let me know, so I can update the recipe.

      Reply
      • zubbles says:

        Thanks! I will!

        Reply
  12. Kristin says:

    Awesome and so easy!! Such a tasty, healthy and easy dish to make, we loved it and are so glad to find another Mexican inspired dish to add to our list, will be making this again.

    I did a bit of a guacamole mix on top with mushed avocado, coriander/cilantro, some fresh chopped tomato, some extra cumin, lemon juice and shallots.

    Yummo! Thanks!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Kristin – Glad you liked it! I like your additions, and I’m especially liking the addition of fresh tomatoes. Thanks for taking a chance on my recipe, and taking the time to comment. Take care!

      Reply
  13. Liz says:

    Just wanted to say that I love your website! I stumbled across it this evening when looking for some new avocado recipes and have spotted so many recipes that I want to try. I love the layout of each recipe too and the fact that there are lots of photos. Very best wishes from the UK!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks so much Liz! This comment totally made my day :)

      Reply
  14. Jennifer says:

    I am going to try this with a slow cooker too. Will report back! Looks amazing and I love a ‘one pot wonder’ with a pop of green at the finish. Can’t wait!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Ha ha, totally! Let us know about the slow cooker :)

      Reply
  15. Matt says:

    I made this last night and we really loved it! I’m gonna try some of your soup recipes later in the week. Love your site!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Matt! I’m so glad you liked it – thanks for taking the time to let me know, and thanks also for the link back on your site. Adding your blog to my RSS reader now :)

      Reply
  16. Ashley says:

    I’m eating this right now and had to comment on how delicious it is. And so easy! Usually I’m one to “doctor” a recipe but this is perfect AS IS! Makes me feel like I’m back home in Texas ;-) Thank you!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Thanks Ashley – I’m so glad you liked it!

      Reply
  17. Ann says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe! It was simple enough for me to make and turned out absolutely delicious! I bought some tortillas and plan to wrap up some of the leftovers to make burritos :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Great, happy to hear it. Great idea with the burritos :)

      Reply
  18. Michelle says:

    This was delicious, thanks so much for sharing! I only had crushed tomatoes and it worked but I think the diced probably work best. Can you recommend a vegan sour cream brand? Thanks, I love your recipes!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Michelle – Glad you liked the casserole! I use Tofutti brand sour cream. Hope that helps!

      Reply
  19. Erin says:

    Hi Angela! I’ve been following your blog a few months now and made at least 4-5 recipes which by the way were ALL amazing!! I can’t wait to try this one- just wondering if you had a recipe for vegan sour cream by any chance?
    Thank you! :) x

    Reply
  20. Jeni says:

    LOVVVVED it!!! Easy, tasty & covered most colors of the rainbow – our daily goal :)))) Thanks so much!!
    I’m referring along to our vegan facebook group.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      YAY! I’m super happy to hear it. Thanks for sharing it, I’ve got more on the way… :)

      Reply
  21. nycxx says:

    After living on NYC takeout for 6 years, I became vegan and organic and decided to start cooking. I’m terrible in the kitchen, but this is a dish that I can make. It has become my go-to dish – make it every week. Makes enough servings to take to work every day. Flavorful and EASY to make. Thank you so much for this recipe.

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Wow, I’m super honored that this is replacing your go-to takeout! Yay!

      Reply
  22. Kayla says:

    This recipe is amazing! I’ve recently started doing semi-veganism and this is easily my favorite vegan recipe. Very filling and tasty, everybody in my family loved it. Thanks so much for posting this! :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      You’re so welcome, I’m so glad to hear that it was a hit with you & your family :)

      Reply
  23. Karen says:

    This sounds amazing except I get deathly ill when I eat spinach, can I omit it ? Thanks!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yes, of course! The spinach is completely optional, but if you want the nutrients, you could stir-in some steamed broccoli. Good luck!

      Reply
  24. Sarah says:

    This was delicious! I found it made much more than 4 servings worth, but I’m excited for leftovers! Looking forward to browsing your recipes :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Oops! Well I suppose we have big appetites in this house then! I’m glad you liked the recipe – please keep in touch and let me know what else you try :)

      Reply
  25. Eva says:

    Hi! I plan to make this tonight & had a quick question!

    Should the quinoa be cooked or uncooked when we put it in the casserole dish to bake?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Uncooked! That’s what makes it so easy :) I’ll go update the ingredients now though, just in case other people wonder the same thing. Let me know what you think of it :)

      Reply
  26. Robyn says:

    I made this last night for me and my boyfriend who get’s sick of my love for Mexican and isn’t a huge quinoa fan…and he loved it! I added more garlic and more chili powder. Next time I think i’ll add in some red and yellow peppers for a bit more crunch :)

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Robyn says:

      Oh, and I also have to say this EASY recipe was perfect for a mom of 4 month old twins! Last night was the first night in 3 months I had dinner ready when my boyfriend got home from work!!

      Reply
      • vegangela says:

        Hi Robyn! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. I’m so glad to hear that it was a hit :)

        Reply
  27. Ashley says:

    I made this recipe and the left overs lasted me a week!! It was incredibly delicious!! Full of color and flavor! I will be making this again. Thank you Angela for this awesome recipe!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      You’re so welcome! I’m glad you liked my recipe :)

      Reply
  28. Kate says:

    This recipe was absolutely delicious! I (vegan) just made this last night for my (very non-vegan) family. They are incredibly supportive of my lifestyle, and are always willing and eager to try new foods and flavors. I cook a vegan dinner for everyone once a week, and this was our meal last night. Everyone loved it — it is such a full, dynamic meal — and a great way to show that vegan food is flavorful, colorful, filling, delicious and complete, all on it’s own. Thank you for such a great recipe!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Hi Kate – That’s so awesome that you have such a supportive family! I’m very happy to hear that this recipe was such a hit with them! Thanks for taking the time to let me know :)

      Reply
  29. Sarah says:

    I can’t eat tomatoes. Would subbing the same amount of vegetable broth for the can tomatoes work?

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      You’d need less broth, but I think the recipe wouldn’t be as goo without the tomatoes. I recommend trying this recipe instead: http://www.vegangela.com/2013/03/24/red-curry-quinoa

      Reply
      • Sarah says:

        I made this 2 nights ago and did end up using less broth. It was still tasty. My husband enjoyed it, and I served it with tortillas and guacamole. Thanks for the suggestion. :-)

        Reply
  30. Sally says:

    Made this for dinner tonight, my boyfriend and I both LOVED it!!! So tasty!! Will be making this again for sure!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yay! Thanks for taking the time to let me know :)

      Reply
  31. kum says:

    I often make quinoa upma and quinoa pilaf. I sometimes eat quinoa with sambhar(thick lentil and vegetable soup) and curries.

    oven-baked-mexican-quinoa-casserole looks so Yum!

    Blog global vegan fare

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Sounds great, let me know if you try my casserole :)

      Reply
  32. Laura says:

    Just made this. Absolutely gorgeous. Nicest thing I’ve cooked in ages. Stuffing the leftovers in a pitta for tomorrow. Loved it. :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  33. Michelle says:

    I made this tonight for the first time and LOVE IT! Thank you!! It’s fantastic. I cooked it in the oven in a cast iron skillet and it came out perfectly. Topped it with avacado and vegan sour cream like you suggested. Super yum!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yay! I’m so glad to hear it. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know :)

      Reply
  34. Mônica Galvao says:

    Hi there!

    Just finished preparing this recipe and it turned out amazing! Thanks for that! :)

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yay! So glad to hear it, thanks for commenting ;)

      Reply
  35. Kate says:

    I tried this recipe last night and it was wonderful! I added diced green peppers in addition to the onions and garlic and also added cubed and spiced red potatoes (next time I will boil them before I add them.. they came out a little hard). I topped it with a bit of cheese and sour cream — so delicious and filling too! And I have leftovers for the rest of the week!

    Reply
    • vegangela says:

      Yum, love your additions! I bet it would be great with roasted sweet potatoes too. Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

      Reply
  36. Zoe says:

    Hi – this looks tasty, but just have a couple of questions before I give it a go. Firstly, I assume that the quinoa should be rinsed to remove it’s soapy coating? And, secondly, how do you think this would go in a slow cooker? Cheers, Zoe :)

    Reply
    • Most commercial quinoa is pre-washed these days, but feel-free to rinse it if you want to be certain. I’m sure this would work in a slow-cooker, but I don’t own one myself so I can’t provide instructions on that. If you try it, please let me know – thanks!

      Reply
  37. Girly says:

    I just made this and mixed in some vegan cheese and other spices to make it creamier! It was amazing! I will definitely be making this more often thank you for the recipe!

    Reply
    • You’re so welcome! I bet it’s awesome with vegan cheese :)

      Reply
  38. kimchee says:

    this was quite nice and definitely easy to make. i would say this recipe could easily serve six people as it was almost overflowing out of the baking dish! i added some fresh lime juice and fresh chopped chilis to give it a little lift. yum!

    Reply
    • You’re probably right but I like big portions, ha! So glad you liked it. Thanks for writing :)

      Reply
  39. Tay says:

    I just made this. It is so delicious. My husband and I think it is one of the best recipes I have ever made. I will make it again and again.

    Reply
    • Oh yay, that totally made my day! Thanks for taking the time to let me know :)

      Reply
    • Yay! Thanks so much for letting me know :)

      Reply
  40. Betty Lou Hooper says:

    I wonder if this casserole could be done in the slow cooker?

    Reply
    • I’m sure it could be – please let me know if you try it :)

      Reply
  41. Jenny says:

    I was wondering if you could explain how to make this in to a freezer meal? Would it need to be fully cooked before hand? What do you think of freezing all of the ingredients, minus the quinoa, that are mixed together and then on cooking day all you would have to do is thaw and add the quinoa? Would that work do you think?

    Reply
    • Hi Jenny – You can actually make the entire recipe and just leave the spinach (and optional toppings like avocado and cilantro) out. Just freeze it in a freezer-safe container, and then defrost and lightly reheat it when ready to eat. Stir-in the spinach and add the toppings just before serving.

      Reply
  42. Alxie says:

    I made this the other night and it’s SO GOOD. I’ve been sharing it with friends and raving about it! Does anyone happen to know the Weight Watchers points plus value? Thanks!

    Reply
    • So glad you like it! And thanks for sharing it with your friends. I don’t know the WW points, sorry…

      Reply
  43. Jennifer says:

    This is so delicious! It even freezes well! I froze lunch size portions to bring to work with me and am almost out now… Going to make more tonight because it’s SO GOOD! Thanks so much for this recipe!

    Reply
    • LOVE the idea of freezing this in lunch-sized portions. Must remember that. THANKS for sharing :)

      Reply
  44. anna says:

    As a university student, this meal is amazing! So easy and takes hardly any time to prepare. I found it a bit sweet for my liking – probably due to the ketchup – so I would make sure to buy tomato paste next time! Otherwise, delicious!

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you liked it! Thanks for writing :)

      Reply
  45. Sean says:

    Just made this for dinner. LOVED IT!! The only thing is 1 clove of garlic is too little. I had to put two or three. Of course, I love garlic. It keeps the vampires away. ;-)

    Can’t wait to try some more of your recipes. I already have a list of at least 10 that I want to try.

    Reply
    • I love garlic too, but I’m aware that some folks don’t love it as much, do I do tend to keep it to a minimum in most of my recipes. So yes, feel-free to adjust as needed. Glad you liked this recipe and looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the others :)

      Reply
  46. Belle says:

    Made this last night and it was fab! Thank you! Was clearly delicious as my husband has taken it for lunch today. I had to guess a bit on the quantity of quinoa as I don’t have cup measurers (am in London) but it looked like yours so I can’t have been too far off (I went for 200 grams). Thanks again.

    Reply
    • I’m so glad to hear that it was such a hit! Thanks for writing :)

      Reply
  47. Lynda says:

    YUMMO! I made this last night, all the vegies were from my garden except the black beans. I roasted a tray of cherry tomatoes while preparing the other ingredients and subbed this for the can of toms. I also added a few chopped green beans (I have an abundance), capsicum, extra garlic. For the water I subbed some stock made from the corn cobs after I cut the kernels off (have you tried this, makes a great stock). I left the spinach out and added some fresh coriander to serve.

    This was sooo delicious I had to go for a long walk after dinner, yeah for the twilight in the south!

    thx heaps :)

    Reply
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