As we head into fall and the busiest season of the year, weeknight meals should be easy, quick, and convenient, while still being nourishing and filling. Enter this Southwest Quinoa Bake! It’s easy to make, but packed with nutritious ingredients like plant-based protein-rich quinoa, black beans and plenty of vegetables. Plus, with a cheesy topping, it’s kid-approved and perfect for even the pickiest of eaters.
Instead of rice which takes quite a bit of time to cook, we’re opting for Bob’s Red Mill® Organic Quinoa in this recipe. It cooks in less than 30 minutes and it’s a great source of plant-based protein! If you’ve never tried quinoa, it has a slightly nutty flavor. Whenever we cook quinoa, we like to make a bit extra and refrigerate the plain leftovers for use in recipes all week. It’s even delicious as a breakfast cereal alternative!
This Southwest Quinoa Bake is made with vegetarian ingredients, using black beans to add a bit more heft. That being said, if you’d like to add some meat, go for it! This would be great with ground beef or chicken, or even leftover shredded rotisserie chicken. Either way, it’s plenty filling for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
To flavor the quinoa base, we use a medley of vegetables including red onion, bell pepper, tomatoes and corn, as well as spices like chili powder, cumin, jalapeño, garlic and cilantro.
To cut down on prep time, we use Litehouse® Freeze Dried Cilantro, Garlic and Jalapeño! The same intense, fresh flavor as their fresh counterparts, but no chopping needed! (Not sure about you, but mincing garlic is one of my all-time least favorite kitchen tasks. Jalapeño is up there too!)
You can store them in your pantry and use for just about any recipe. I especially love using the jalapeño and cilantro in a quick homemade guacamole. So much quicker and less messy than using fresh! It’s also a great way to cut down on grocery costs since freeze-dried last so much longer than fresh.
To finish off the quinoa bake, top it off with shredded cheese. Anything from cheddar to a Mexican-blend will be great here. Bake until melty, and there you have it! A delicious vegetarian weeknight dinner that the whole family will love.
When it comes to toppings, you can keep it totally plain, or dress it up with avocado (or guacamole), fresh tomatoes (or salsa) and more freeze-dried cilantro.