Spanish Quinoa

I’ve been in a mood for Mexican food lately, which was the impetus behind this delicious new recipe Spanish Quinoa. Having on hand some of my favorite Vegan Cheese Sauce made this recipe a perfect fit for a quick and easy, tasty addition to our recent family Mexican-themed dinner. It will work for yours as well!

A mixture of vegan cheese, salsa, and quinoa is a perfect side dish for your next Mexican-themed dinner.

Sometimes I just get a craving for some salsa. Maybe it’s really a longing for a dose of spice in my life.

Not that my life is lacking in it’s fair share of spiciness. I guess it’s like anything, every now and then we can always use a little more.

Cheesy Quinoa topped with sliced red peppers and served with flour tortillas and tomatoes

When my family got together for a reunion last month, we were strong-armed into volunteered to host dinner one night.

You know me by now. I love to cook. So normally I’m raring to go when it comes to fixing food for people. But this is my family. And I’m vegan. So is my little immediate family. But my expanded family? Not so much so.

To make matters worse, I’m also mostly gluten-free.


Food can seem like such a simple thing that in reality can be just the opposite.

Spanish Quinoa is photographed with a tomato and salsa

I’ve found the best thing to serve non-vegan guests is international cuisine. It’s usually easy to get away with non-meat based meals that way. Of course, the thought of international cuisine immediately sent me to dreaming about Mexican food.

We agreed that the main course would consist of my hubby’s famous Shawnsheladas.

I know what you’re thinking. Whobe-whatchyas?

We call them Shawnsheladas because, well, my hubby’s name is Shawn. And this recipe is his very own. At least that’s the way we like to think of it. Maybe one of these days I’ll talk him into letting me share it with you. It’s one of our family staples. Just imagine black beans, brown rice, corn, and a few other tasty ingredients.

But I needed some yummy side dishes for our meal too. And I also needed something that wouldn’t cause me to miss out on all the fun going on in the living room. I only get to see this crazy bunch once a year or so and I wanted to be a part of it all. What to do?

Quinoa came to the rescue. That’s right, Quinoa. It’s a grain and a super food because it’s packed with protein and other healthy things. And I think that’s great and all that, but what I really love is that it cooks quickly. What’s more, I happened to have a big, Costco-sized bag of it in the pantry. So, I threw some in a pot, brought it to a boil, mixed it with a few other ingredients and Voila! Or should I say Aquí! Spanish Quinoa!

A close-up shot of a vegan Spanish side dish

Having the meal prepared so quickly was nice. But having such rave reviews from the non-vegan folks that ate it? Well, that was just icing on a really good cake! Or maybe vegan cheese on some freshly cooked quinoa.

Ahh, life is good!

Spanish Quinoa is photographed with a tomato and salsa

Spanish Quinoa

This Spanish Quinoa is a delicious recipe with less than 10 ingredients, so it's easy to make and even easier to eat. Serve with your favorite Mexican dish.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Spanish Quinoa
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 300kcal
Author: Namely Marly


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup Salsa use your favorite
  • 1 cup Vegan Cheese Sauce or Vegan cheese
  • Chopped Bell Peppers optional


  • Cook chopped onions in the oil in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat until the onions are good and tender.
  • Add the minced garlic along with the quinoa and cook another minute, stirring so all the quinoa is equally distributed.
  • Add the vegetable broth and water; bring it to a boil and then reduce heat and cover. Simmer for 20 -25 minutes until the liquid has cooked down and the quinoa is tender.
  • Now it's time for the good stuff. Add the salsa. Depending on the consistency of your salsa, you might need to let any extra liquid cook out a little longer. You don't want this to be a runny side dish.
  • You could stop here if you want and you'd have a great side dish. However, I found that adding a cup of my favorite vegan cheese took this recipe from great to fabulous. I always vote for going for the FAB! If you agree, add one cup of vegan cheese and stir it so it's well incorporated.
  • Top with slivers of sweet bell pepper.
  • Watch for the stampede of family running in for seconds!


Updated by Marly · Permalink