This is an old favourite recipe of mine, and it’s really quick and simple to whip up on a weeknight or as part of a meal prep routine. I’ve got a pot of it in my fridge for lunch today, and I’m really looking forward to it!
So, a rich, tomatoey, garlicky stew filled to the brim with quinoa. Sound good? Then join me on this little adventure in healthy foods for a quick easy recipe.
Now, I am a huge garlic fiend: I put it in everything, and I’m never shy about putting too much in. This recipe calls for three cloves, finely chopped.
The more finely you chop, the better the result will be further down the line. In fact, here’s a tip I learned from YouTube, what feels like a million years ago: after you’ve given your garlic a little chop, sprinkle some salt on top and chop it as finely as you can.
The salt helps the garlic to bind together, so you can get incredibly fine pieces that will release great flavour into your food.
Choosing ingredients for this Tex Mex quinoa
If you are trying to lose weight then a great option here could be a low-calorie spray, which would help to bring the overall fat content of the meal down. Of course, if you prefer to use olive oil that is your choice.
In my opinion, the cheapest canned vegetables work well in this. I rarely buy expensive chopped tomatoes but of course, the choice is yours.
If you are not keen on quinoa then I highly recommend making it with half and half of quinoa and rice. This will mean you get the health benefits of the quinoa but the comfort of the rice you know you enjoy. If you do this it should take just as long to cook, however, check the rice is fully cooked before moving to the next step.
How to make the Tex-Mex Quinoa step by step
Cook the garlic until it’s starting to brown at the edges.
Give this all a thorough mix and allow it to cook through and get nice and hot. You want to try to keep the temperature of this meal as hot as you can all the way through cooking: the quinoa we’re adding in a bit responds best to a high-heat environment.
In this instance, I’m using tinned, chopped tomatoes for convenience. If you’ve got access to some gorgeous, fresh tomatoes, then dice them up and throw them in! You’re aiming for 400g, which is about three medium-sized tomatoes.
The next step is to throw in some stock and your dry quinoa, before allowing them to heat through and mix completely.
At this point, you’ll likely see a lot of your quinoa float to the surface, as it’s completely dry and not very dense. As it cooks and absorbs moisture, it will sink to the bottom of your pot, so make sure to stir this mixture often, or the quinoa will weld itself to the base, and you’ll have a nightmare getting it off again.
I used vegetable stock here, but you can feel free to use whatever you like. As this is essentially a vegetable stew, I find the vegetable stock gives it the right kind of flavour. That said, as it’s a Mexican dish, a beef stock could pair well with Mexican spices, for example, the cumin we’ll be adding later.
Wait for the mixture to simmer, producing small bubbles at the edges, and then add in your next ingredients: the spices. I tend to keep it simple in this recipe: salt, pepper, crushed chillis, and cumin.
After you’ve spiced the dish, it’s simply a matter of covering and allowing it to simmer. The quinoa should need between 15 and 20 minutes to cook and expand completely, though make sure to check back and stir every five minutes or so.
The dish should have no liquid left when cooked. Look for expanded, soft, fluffy quinoa throughout, as well as fully softened black beans and sweetcorn. Give it a taste for seasoning, and plate up!
Suggested adaptions to the recipe
You can feel free to alter the amount of these ingredients you’re putting in, but it’s key to try to use the closest thing to a fresh chilli you can find.
A fresh chilli has a light, almost fruity quality which is really difficult to replicate in chilli powder, so I tend to use crushed chillis which retain a small amount of that.
If you’ve got a fresh chilli to hand, then throw that in! One small chilli (deseeded) should be roughly enough to spice up the whole dish to a good level.
What makes this dish special?
A bowlful of this is sure to lift your spirits and do you a world of good at the same time. My favourite thing about the dish is that if you’ve fully cooked out your garlic, you should be able to taste that earthy note underneath all the fragrant spices in the dish. It’s truly delicious!
The next, admittedly optional, step, is toppings! I usually squeeze half a lime over a bowl of this Tex-Mex quinoa, and it really brings out some gorgeous flavours in the dish.
The lime, chilli, and cumin work really well together to pack a lot of flavour into very few calories, what’s not to love?
There are plenty of different things you could throw onto this dish that might give it a lovely kick. I like lime, but I’ve also tried it with a little fresh coriander and some diced jalapeño: delicious!
This could be good with a scoop of low-fat sour cream, or even homemade salsa!
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Add the dry quinoa and stock, and mix thoroughly to ensure the quinoa is evenly distributed.
Add crushed chillis, cumin, salt, and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
Cover and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, stirring often.
Plate, and add toppings of your choice.
If you’re cooking this as part of a meal-prep routine, this will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, or you could freeze it for a quick reheat in the microwave.
Keywords: quinoa, Slimming World, Tex-Mex, Slimming World friendly lunch ideas,
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