Mexican Quinoa in Instant Pot

August 29, 2019 (Updated: September 4, 2019) By Aneesha |

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Healthy, filling and so easy to make, this Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa is a delicious one-pot meal. Quinoa, beans, corn and peppers cooked in Tex-Mex style in just 30-minutes. This vegan and gluten-free dish is perfect for school lunches, picnics and potlucks too.

Quinoa burrito bowl with sliced avocado

30-Minute Vegan & Gluten-Free One-Pot Meal

I love recipes that are high on flavor and super low in effort. THIS is one of those dishes. It takes me roughly 28-30 minutes to make this delicious quinoa burrito bowl in the Instant Pot, out of which 20 minutes are hands-off cooking time!

This dish is inspired by my Mexican Rice recipe. One time, I was looking for ways to add protein to some leftover Mexican Rice for my kids’ lunch. I realized that if I make this recipe with quinoa instead of rice, it’ll be a complete one-pot meal since quinoa is a great source of protein!

Also, all ingredients in this recipe are vegan and gluten-free, which makes this a great healthy one-pot entree or a side dish. I even entertain with this recipe whenever I’m cooking a Mexican inspired meal. I serve it with Veggie Fajitas or Salsa Chicken, and it is always a hit.

Great for School Lunches, Picnics and Potlucks

This recipe hits a home run when it comes to school lunches, and I’m speaking from mommy experience. Whenever my girls take this for lunch, I always get a ‘recipe share request’ by one of their friends… which makes me wonder, how much of that lunch are THEY eating ????

It’s also a great recipe for sharing at picnics and potlucks. Here’s why:

  • All ingredients in this recipe are vegan and gluten-free, which makes this a crowd-pleaser.
  • It stays good at room temperature, so no need to worry about refrigeration during warm days.
  • Easy to carry, no drips or mess, which makes this SO easy to transport. I transfer it in a large salad bowl, cover that with a lid. Done!
  • Easy to customize for everyone with a variety of toppings, like, pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese, chopped jalapenoes, onions etc.
Mexican Quinoa burrito bowl with sliced avocado

How to Make Mexican Quinoa in an Instant Pot

Here are the step by step instructions on how to make this easy-peasy one-pot meal in the Instant Pot, or any comparable electric pressure cooker:

Step 1: Finely Chop onions and peppers. Rinse quinoa for 10–15 seconds under running water, drain well and keep aside. (Picture 1)

Step 2: Saute Onions, garlic, chopped jalapeno and chopped peppers for 1 minute. Add spices including salt, cumin, chili powder, paprika and cayenne, and saute for another 30 seconds. This brings out the flavors of the spices. (Picture 1)

Chopping ingredients and sauteing aromatics in the Instant Pot
Picture 1: Chop onions and peppers, rinse quinoa. Saute aromatics with spices

Step 3: Add drained quinoa, rinsed and drained black beans, frozen (or fresh) corn and salsa to the pot. (Picture 2)

Adding bean, corn, salsa and quinoa in the Instant Pot
Picture 2: Add quinoa, black beans, corn and salsa

Step 4: Add a cup of water and stir well. Close the lid, and set the vent to ‘sealing’ position. Pressure cook at high pressure for 2 mins. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, after which release remaining pressure manually (QR). (Picture 3)

Adding water and pressure cooking quinoa
(Picture 3): Add water and pressure cook

Step 5: After the pin drops, open the lid and fluff the quinoa using a fork. Squeeze in fresh lime juice and cilantro and serve warm with your favorite toppings. (Picture 4)

Fluffing quinoa and adding lime juice and cilantro
(Picture 4): Fluff quinoa, add lime juice and cilantro

Toppings for Mexican Quinoa

This Mexican quinoa is flavorful enough as-is, but toppings is what makes this a fun recipe, especially for my kids.

We all customize our quinoa burrito bowls by choosing from a variety of toppings like sour cream, shredded cheese, chopped avocado etc. Here are some of our favorite choices:

Quinoa burrito bowl with sliced avocado

Tips for a Perfect Mexican Quinoa

  • I use canned black beans in this recipe. These can be substituted with pinto, kidney or white beans as well. 
  • If using dry beans for this recipe, cook them separately. You would need about 3/4 cup dried beans for this recipe.
  • To substitute taco seasoning in this recipe, replace all the spices with 2 tbsps of your favorite taco seasoning brand.  You may need to adjust salt based on your seasoning contents. 
  • For best results, I recommend adding salsa in this recipe.  But if you’re adding crushed tomatoes, add an additional 1-2 teaspoons of chili powder (or taco seasoning) to enhance the flavor.
  • This recipe works great for school lunches, potlucks and picnics. For potlucks, I keep the toppings in separate containers, to be added to individual bowls just before serving. 
  • This recipe can be made a day or two in advance and stays good in the fridge for 3-4 days.
A fork full of Mexican style quinoa with beans and corn

More Mexican Inspired Recipe from My Kitchen

You might also like: 13 Quick and Easy Cinco De Mayo Recipes

Quinoa burrito bowl with sliced avocado

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Quinoa burrito bowl with sliced avocado

Mexican Quinoa in Instant Pot

Healthy, filling and so easy to make, this Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa is a delicious one-pot meal. Quinoa, beans, corn and peppers cooked in Tex-Mex style in just 30-minutes. This vegan and gluten-free dish is perfect for school lunches, picnics and potlucks too.
4.84 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate Recipe
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
NPR: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 370kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp garlic crushed, about 2 cloves
  • 1 cup onion chopped, 1 medium onion
  • 1 cup bell peppers chopped, red/yellow/orange/rainbow
  • 1 jalapeno de-veined, de-seeded, chopped
  • 1 can black beans rinsed and drained, 14.5 oz can
  • 1 cup frozen corn , or fresh
  • 1 cup salsa , or crushed tomatoes (see notes for details)
  • 1 cup quinoa rinsed in a sieve
  • 1 cup water

Spices

Toppings (optional)

  • Pico de Gallo, sour cream, chopped avocado, onions or cheese.

Equipment

Instructions

  • Finely Chop onions and peppers. Rinse quinoa for 10–15 seconds under running water, drain well and keep aside.
  • Saute Onions, garlic, chopped jalapeno and chopped peppers for 1 minute. Add spices including salt, cumin, chili powder, paprika and cayenne, and saute for another 30 seconds. This brings out the flavors of the spices.
  • Add drained quinoa, rinsed and drained black beans, frozen (or fresh) corn and salsa to the pot.
  • Add a cup of water and stir well. Close the lid, and set the vent to ‘sealing’ position. Pressure cook at high pressure for 2 mins. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, after which release remaining pressure manually (QR)
  • After the pin drops, open the lid and fluff the quinoa using a fork. Squeeze in fresh lime juice and cilantro and serve warm with your favorite toppings.

Video

Notes

Tips for a Perfect Mexican Quinoa

  • I use canned black beans in this recipe. These can be substituted with pinto, kidney or white beans as well. 
  • If using dry beans for this recipe, cook them separately. You would need about 3/4 cup dried beans for this recipe.
  • To substitute taco seasoning in this recipe, replace all the spices with 2 tbsps of your favorite taco seasoning brand.  You may need to adjust salt based on your seasoning contents. 
  • For best results, I recommend adding salsa in this recipe.  But if you’re  adding crushed tomatoes, add an additional 1-2 teaspoons of chili powder (or taco seasoning) to enhance the flavor.
  • This recipe works great for school lunches, potlucks and picnics. For potlucks, I keep the toppings in separate containers, to be added to individual bowls just before serving. 
  • This recipe can be made a day or two in advance and stays good in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates and do not include any toppings.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition

Calories: 370kcal | Carbohydrates: 64g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 944mg | Potassium: 966mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 2466IU | Vitamin C: 59mg | Calcium: 82mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: instant pot mexican quinoa, Mexican quinoa, quinoa burrito bowl
Did you try this recipe?Mention @SpiceCravings or tag #spicecravings!

HEY! NICE TO MEET YOU!

Aneesha holding a glass of white wine Hi, I'm Aneesha, a foodie by birth and the mind, body and soul behind Spice Cravings. Here I share quick, easy & healthy Indian & global recipes that are low in effort and big on taste! A recipe doesn't make it on the blog unless it is tested multiple times and gets a thumbs-up from my taster-in-chief, my husband, and my teen-chefs, my twin girls!

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    scottjl
    November 4, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    4 stars
    Very tasty, easy recipe. But twice trying to cook it I got a “BURN” notice from my IP, had to turn it off, open the lid and scrape the burnt bottom. Any suggestions on how to avoid this? I used a 15oz can of crushed tomatoes and 8oz water and I still was getting BURN. Recipe is great though, this is a keeper.

    • Reply
      Aneesha
      November 4, 2019 at 8:42 pm

      Hi Scott, I’m sorry you had to deal with that. Since there is enough liquid in this recipe (juice from tomato + water),the only possibility could be that your cooker didn’t seal tightly. Sometimes, if the sealing ring isn’t snug enough, it causes the liquid to evaporate before the cooker can come to pressure, resulting in the burn error. This recipe has been tried by many readers and so far no one had that issue. I would recommend checking your sealing ring once. Thanks for your feedback and I’m glad you enjoyed the taste!

  • Reply
    Betsy G.
    September 8, 2019 at 10:07 am

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe. I made it using Penzey’s Cajun Seasoning since that’s what I had on hand. 🙂 Delicious!

    • Reply
      Aneesha
      September 8, 2019 at 11:08 am

      Hi Betsy, thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed it and even put your own spin on it. I’m definitely trying that with Cajun seasoning next time!

  • Reply
    Anaya J
    September 4, 2019 at 9:14 am

    5 stars
    Came out delicious! I packed leftovers for lunch 🙂

    • Reply
      Aneesha
      September 4, 2019 at 9:58 am

      Hi Anaya, I am so glad you enjoyed it. Even I packed this for kids lunch today 🙂

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