Spicy Cowboy Quinoa

This dish is simple, fast and great with so many things. I like to make it in HUGE batches and eat the leftovers for several meals. If your lucky enough to have a generator or reliable WAPA, it freezes well also. The ingredients are simple: quinoa, can black beans, can corn, can tomatoes, water, onion (optional), and spices. Quinoa is a member of the whole grain family, and so is whole kernel corn. In addition, quinoa is a complete protein, which means it contains every essential amino acid. Together, with the black beans this dish is high enough in protein to be eaten on its own, used in other dishes, or as accompaniments to main dishes.

Just cook the quinoa in the pot with the canned tomatoes and water. Then add the corn and black beans once the quinoa cooks. I like to use Rotel with diced green chilies, but I have a love for spicy foods! Note, if you use a can bigger than 12 oz you may want to use less water. Additionally, you can also use vegetable or chicken stock in place of water. *If you are watching your salt intake, be sure to check the food label and try mixing 1/2 cup of stock with 1/2 cup of water to reduce the sodium and add flavor.

Some optional add ins are chopped onion and cayenne pepper. My mom and I used a red onion tonight because it was what we had in the fridge. We both love onions. If your an onion lover too, try adding different kinds, like sweet Vidalia or green onions. As for the cayenne pepper, add at your own risk!

The first time I made a variation of this was to stuff inside an acorn squash and roast. It was amazing, and of course topped with my favorite ingredient, CHEESE! However, it is important to note that on its own this dish is gluten free and vegan. Some of the most common ways I eat this is with roasted vegetables and/or grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp, on top of a bed of greens, and in burritos and quesadillas. For the blog today, I had my wonderful mother helping me to cook. High five to my wonderful sues chef!


  • One cup uncooked quinoa
  • One 15 oz can black beans
  • One 15 oz can corn
  • One 12oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • optional, 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • optional, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


To start, place saucepan on stove and add 1 cup water, 1 cup quinoa, and one can diced tomatoes.  Cover and bring to a boil. Add spices. Optional, add 1/2 diced onion. Once boiling, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes covered, stirring occasionally. Quinoa is cooked when grain is expanded and all the liquid is absorbed. While simmering, drain and rinse the black beans and corn. Then mix with quinoa and you’re done! Enjoy!

Nutrient breakdown:

# of servings 6
Serving size 1/6 of recipe
Calories 236
Protein 11g
Fat 3g
Carbohydrates 45g
Fiber 10g
Sodium 184mg

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