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May 5, 2016

by Alyssa

Spicy Green Mexican Quinoa

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This Spicy Green Mexican Quinoa recipe goes with everything! Wrap it up in a burrito, serve with grilled chicken, or top it with an egg. You can't go wrong!

Spicy Green Mexican Quinoa -- light, fluffy and full of flavor! (served with a tasty black bean salad)

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I couldn't resist passing up another holiday without giving you a recipe to celebrate the occasion. While quinoa isn't technically from Mexico, it works wonderfully with Mexican-inspired ingredients. In this recipe we're recreating a classic Mexican dish, “Arroz Verde“, and giving it a healthier spin.

Forget the canola oil and white rice, we're sticking with all things green and nutritious with for this recipe.

SPICY GREEN MEXICAN QUINOA -- the perfect side dish to your favorite Mexican meal!

Celebrating with friends/family today? Awesome, because this recipe definitely needs to be on the menu.

And seeing that Cinco de Mayo is today and I gave you zero time to prepare, luckily this recipe is super simple to make. You just need to make a quick verde sauce, stir it into the quinoa then cook it like you normally would and DONE. 5 minutes hands-on time max.

That means you can whip up a batch of this quinoa, throw on your party outfit and be out the door in under 30 minutes.

Spicy Green Mexican Quinoa -- a super easy recipe that can be served with pretty much anything! Like Chipotle's Cilantro Lime Rice only BETTER!

Now if you've ever made Mexican rice before than you know they usually cook it in oil first and then add the water. The oil gives the rice that slightly crunchy texture and nutty flavor. I love the concept of that, but when I tried it with quinoa it was a TOTAL FLOP.

The quinoa was mushy, greasy and seriously disgusting.

So I figure why ruin a good thing? Let's just leave the oil out and cook our quinoa like we normally would, just add in this yummy spicy green sauce.

Sound good? Awesome ????

Spicy Mexican Green Sauce -- the perfect way to jazz up a boring old pot of quinoa or rice!

The green sauce starts with spinach, which is very mild in taste but packed with vitamins and minerals. Then there's cilantro (can't have a Mexican dish without cilantro!), a jalapeño pepper, some garlic, some lime and a touch of salt.


You just whiz it up in your food processor and you're done.

Spicy Mexican Green Sauce -- the perfect way to jazz up a boring old pot of quinoa or rice!

In many of my recipes, I actually start with pre-cooked quinoa. I've talked all about how I love to cook a big batch of quinoa on Sundays and then keep it throughout the week, but not this time. This time we're actually cooking the quinoa in the green sauce. So the quinoa soaks up all that amazing green goodness and holy moly… yum!

How to make the perfect Mexican Quinoa -- cook it with a spicy green sauce!


This has got me realizing that I need to do a lot more experimenting with flavoring quinoa as it cooks!

But back to this recipe…what I absolutely love about it, aside from the color, is the flavor. It's not overly spicy – I think the quinoa actually mellows it out a bit – but it has an underlying bite that goes so well with pretty much any type of Mexican dish you can imagine. I served mine with a quick black bean salad (in the recipe below!), but you could also serve it with:

It's super versatile and kind of reminds me of Chipotle's cilantro lime rice, but spicier and less salty. So good!

Spicy Green Mexican Quinoa -- cooked with spinach, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic and lime!

So now that we have the perfect dish to serve with all our favorite Mexican meals, I think it's time for you to go off and celebrate. And if you're reading this after Cinco has passed, take a moment and celebrate you. Because you're here, reading this recipe, making a healthy choice and nourishing your body with whole foods. You should be celebrated to, friend ❤

Your turn…

Have you ever tried flavoring your quinoa as it cooks? What is your favorite method?! I'd love to know as I really want to try out some new methods. Share in the comments below 🙂 Next up for me is going to be coconut water and maybe turn it into a breakfast bowl. YUM!

xo Alyssa

p.s. this recipe is totally perfect for packing up and taking with you to a party or potluck! I packaged mine up in this glass containers (which I'm obsessed with) and took it over to up parents house!

The perfect potluck salad >> Spicy Mexican Quinoa with a Simple Black Bean Salad

More Mexican Inspired Healthy Recipes:

Spicy Green Mexican Quinoa

It's super versatile and kind of reminds me of Chipotle's cilantro lime rice, but spicier and less salty. So good!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 Servings
Calories 235kcal
Author Alyssa Rimmer
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Spicy Green Mexican Quinoa -- a super easy recipe that can be served with pretty much anything! Like Chipotle's Cilantro Lime Rice only BETTER!
4.2 from 5 votes



  • Add spinach, cilantro, jalapeño, garlic, lime juice and salt into a food processor. Pulse until a chunky paste forms.
  • Add quinoa and green paste into a small sauce pan. Cover with water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to simmer. Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes until the water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Remove lid and set aside for 5 minutes.
  • While quinoa is cooling, add the black beans, corn and tomatoes into a small bowl. Stir together then season with spices, lime juice and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  • Before serving, taste the quinoa and adjust the salt if needed, then serve warm with the black bean salad and diced avocado. Garnish with cilantro and hot sauce if desired.


adapted from Pinch of Yum


Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 415mg | Potassium: 547mg | Fiber: 8g | Vitamin A: 930IU | Vitamin C: 10.1mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 3.7mg



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Spicy Green Mexican Quinoa -- cooked with spinach, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic and lime!

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About Alyssa

Hey there, I’m Alyssa Rimmer, a certified Holistic Nutritionist, yoga-lover, dog mom, and founder of Simply Quinoa. It’s nice to meet you! I created SQ as a way to provide solutions for women just like me, who were struggling to find helpful information about how to live a healthy and fulfilled life. My hope is that you will find inspiration here on SQ – in my story, in my recipes, in the hundreds of wellness articles, and in our amazing community. Welcome!

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  1. […] base of these bowls is this recipe from Simply Quinoa. Spinach is snuck into the cooking – another hidden veggie win! We add kidney beans, pico, […]

  2. We just tried this recipe tonight, and holy guacamole, it was AMAZING. (Which reminds me, I totally forgot to add the avocado…) My husband and I are slowly transitioning our “eat a meal with meat and pasta and bread and all kinds of carbs” diet, to a much cleaner, healthier, and energy-savvy diet. Thanks for the great dish!

  3. This looks amazing!! Never thought about flavoring the quinoa while its cooking. Have made a breakfast using apples and carmelizing them in quinoa, a yummy alternative to oatmeal. I’ve even made chocolate chip cookies with quinoa-omg good. This recipe definitely makes me think outside of the box, can’t wait to try main dish and sweet dessert ideas using this concept. Thanks for the recipe!!

  4. This is EVERYTHING. Day=made
    I am going out to get these ingredients now cause let’s be honest, this has every love of my life. All that’s missing is guac (easy remedy for that ????) happy cinco de mayo!!


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