30-Minute Quinoa Enchilada Skillet Meal

Before we get to this delectable, life-saving, one-skillet, healthy (ok, I’ll stop now) quinoa meal, can we talk about you for a second? Yes, YOU! Well, some of you. Many of you.

I don’t say it often enough but thank you to each of you who has ever taken the time to send me your family’s favorite recipe(s) or something amazing you’ve recently made that you’re sure I can’t live without. These recipes and ideas come pouring in every day and so many of them have become my own much-loved recipes. There are millions of recipes online and while it’s exciting and fun (nerd alert) to scour the internet for the next best thing to make, when I get recipes from you, I know you are sharing a little piece of your heart and soul along with that recipe. They fill up my menu plans and my dreams. Not kidding. So, thank you. I wish I had time to make every single one! If you’ve sent me a recipe and I haven’t made it, blogged it, talked about it – it’s not you, it’s me. I need more hours and arms and ovens. But I do squeal when a new one pops up in my inbox. Thank yo from the bottom of my recipe-loving heart.

Now, on to this dish.

30-Minute Quinoa Enchilada Skillet Meal

If a fast, easy, healthy dinner has your name all over it, consider yourself a lucky winner today. A faithful reader, Sheriece, emailed me saying a version of this enchilada quinoa meal has quickly become one of her family’s faves and her best take-in meal. Just based on the ingredients, I knew I would love it, but even more so if it was a 30-minute, one-skillet meal. Because you know that I love me a fabulous one-skillet/one-pot meal, right?

It is flavorful and hearty and super yummy. Tasty on its own, throw a few toppings on there and it’s insanely delicious. And I know it kind of cancels out the low-carbness of the dish, but I found out through a happy experiment the next day that this warm, cheesy, Mexican-inspired filling is out of this world when rolled up in a tortilla and smashed onto a griddle (à la these crispy southwest chicken wraps).

Since we’re still living in the land of soccer and football practices (and so gratefully still enjoying magical 80-degree weather which makes me feel guilty for abandoning all my pals in the wilds of Minnesota and Wisconsin last year), easy, healthy, extra-delicious meals are just what this wanting-to-to-stay-sane momma ordered, and this enchilada quinoa totally delivered. Sanity crisis averted. For now.

30-Minute Quinoa Enchilada Skillet Meal

What To ServeThis is a pretty complete meal in and of itself but if you want a few sides to go with it consider:
Fresh fruit or a simple green salad
Roasted broccoli, steamed peas or our favorite skillet green beans

One Year Ago: Classic Slow Cooker Chili
Two Years Ago: White Texas Sheet Cake
Three Years Ago: Lemon Cupcakes

30-Minute Quinoa Enchilada Skillet Meal

Yield: Serves 6

30-Minute Quinoa Enchilada Skillet Meal

I haven't tried this but am assuming you could sub in a can of diced green chiles for the poblano chile (keep in mind this will up the saltiness of the mixture so you might cut down the salt called for a bit later in the recipe).

If you don't have cooked chicken on hand, you could use uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts that have been cut into bite-size pieces; season them well with salt and pepper and sauté in the first step with the oil (before adding the garlic and chile). Remove them to a plate to use later in the recipe (they'll overcook if left in the skillet to simmer with the quinoa) and add a bit more oil and proceed with sautéing the garlic and chile.

And speaking of chicken, you could very easily leave it out for a meatless dish.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 poblano chile, seeded and finely diced (about 1/3 - 1/2 cup) (see note above for substitutions)
  • 2 cups quinoa, well-rinsed and drained
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 medium lime)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups cooked, diced chicken or turkey
  • 1/2-1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or sharp cheddar cheese (or a combination)
  • Optional toppings: avocados, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, olives, etc.


  1. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic and poblano chile. Cook for a minute or two, stirring constantly. Add the drained quinoa, broth, tomato sauce, beans, salt, chili powder, oregano and cumin and stir to combine.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce the temperature, cover the skillet, and continue simmering for 20 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa has popped open and is tender. Regulate the heat during cooking if the mixture is sticking to the bottom of the skillet.
  3. Uncover and stir in the corn, lime juice, cilantro, and chicken. Cook for about 5 minutes or until heated through. Add additional salt and pepper to taste if needed.
  4. Sprinkle the top with cheese and cover the skillet to let the cheese melt (or broil - if the skillet is oven-safe - for a more bubbly topping).
  5. Serve with optional garnishes if you'd like: avocados, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, olives, etc.

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (inspired after a reader, Sheriece, sent me an oven-baked version from Skinny Taste and immediately I knew a one-skillet version was in my future – thanks, Sheriece!)

36 Responses to 30-Minute Quinoa Enchilada Skillet Meal

  1. Rachel says:

    A new regular! This recipe is so good and the whole family kids gobbled it up! I love the one pot recipes. Thanks so much!

  2. Kimberly says:

    This was delicious! Everyone from my 15 year old boy down to my 8 year old girl had seconds! (The poblano peppers were mis-labeled as pasillas at my grocery store)

  3. […] 30 Minute Quinoa Enchilada Skillet from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  4. Ashleigh says:

    Mel! I am forever indebted to you for this:

    “And I know it kind of cancels out the low-carbness of the dish, but I found out through a happy experiment the next day that this warm, cheesy, Mexican-inspired filling is out of this world when rolled up in a tortilla and smashed onto a griddle (à la these crispy southwest chicken wraps).”

    I never LOVED the crispy southwest chicken wraps b/c I’m not a huge rice fan. THIS, tho! Soooo yummy! Sharp cheddar surrounding and a dollop of sour cream, with no rice in sight. The quinoa dish is also delicious, btw, completely on its own. This almost makes me thankful that it’s been 80 degree no oven weather in Maine all summer long!

  5. Kate says:

    This was divine! Halved the recipe for my family of 3 and it was perfect. Husband and two year old approved! I used a can of diced green chiles, did not half the black beans, added a sliced zucchini to the first sauté step, threw in a hopped green onion with the cilantro, and subbed a couple tsps cider vinegar for the lime juice because I was out of limes!

  6. Julie Mellon says:

    My husband and I loved it. I substituted the canned chili peppers for the poblano pepper and enchilada sauce for the tomato sauce. I will definitely make it again.

  7. Helen Becerra says:

    I made this last night and we loooooved it!! Definitely a keeper and it was so quick & easy! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  8. Andrea says:

    I served this to a bunch of Airmen on base over here in South Korea, we all loved it. Thanks for a great taste of home.

  9. Susan says:

    This looks so good! Would like to make it tonight for dinner, but was curious if you thought ground turkey would work okay instead of using chicken?
    Thanks for all you do!

  10. Monica says:

    Thank you Mel! It was delicious!

  11. Amanda C says:

    This was fantastic! And with zero prep, walking in the door with this in mind, it was on the table in just over 30 minutes. This is going to be my new go-to dinner. We love mel! Your lightened-up chicken alfredo is on the stove now (oops, should be whisking). Can’t wait!

  12. Cathy says:

    I love, love, love your site and can always count on your recipes being winners at my house! I haven’t had real good luck cooking quinoa or maybe I just had old stuff, anyhow, what’s the best quinoa and how’s the best way to prepare it?

    • Mel says:

      Hi Cathy – I use quinoa from Costco or TruRoots brand on Amazon. I haven’t used red quinoa much – I usually cook with white. I think the key is to rinse it really well in a fine mesh strainer. I run it under cool water for 30-40 seconds and then drain well. Also, cooking it in chicken broth (if not using it in a recipe like this one) makes a huge difference (for savory recipes).

  13. Julie says:

    Hi Mel,
    I wanted to share with you that I made this recipe, and then used the leftovers to make a version of your little quinoa patties. Our family of 4 only finished about half the recipe, so there was plenty left for the patties. I used 2 1/2 cups of leftovers, 4 eggs, 1/4 cup cilantro, handful of Parmesan, and a cup of panko bread crumbs. Served with sour cream, fresh lime and salsa. A big hit!

  14. Hannah says:

    Thank you for another great recipe! Even my husband who was completely against quinoa like this.

  15. Sheree L says:

    Made this 2 nights ago and had leftovers last night. We loved it! The only changes I made were to leave out the teaspoon of salt, use reduced sodium black beans, and sprinkle a little cheese on individual servings as one of the toppings instead of over the whole skillet. I’ll definitely add this to the rotation. Thanks, Mel!

    • Sheree L says:

      Oh, and today for lunch, I may have taken your advice about rolling it into a tortilla and smashing it on the griddle (we LOVE your Crispy Southwest Chicken Wraps, BTW). Yes, it did negate the low carb and low calories of this recipe, but, you know… it had to be done. 🙂

  16. Lori says:

    This reminds me of one of my new favorite quinoa recipes. It is the Quinoa Enchilada Bake from Skinny Taste. The best part by far is the homemade chipotle enchilada sauce (I have to cut down on the chipotle peppers and adobo for my kids but even with just a teaspoon, the flavor is incredible. And avacadoes on top? So good. I’ve added diced or shredded chicken sometimes and it’s good both ways. I’ll have to try this as well! Yay for broadening my quinoa use! http://www.skinnytaste.com/2014/10/quinoa-fiesta-enchilada-bake.html

  17. Kelly says:

    Would I use fresh poblano chiles found in the produce aisle or dried poblano chilis by the bulk/natural foods?

  18. Sheila says:

    Thirty minute, chocked full of health, and delicious sounds divine. Thank you for sharing Sheriece and Mel.

  19. Rebekah says:

    We have been making a recipe very similar to this for a while and it is one of our favorites! I like to make one of those Cafe Rio “knock off” green sauce recipes to pour on and then we dip our chips into it. Definitely takes it to a new level and totally negates the healthiness of quinoa but we love it! Thanks for a skillet version, I’m super excited to try it!

  20. Rachel says:

    My family loves Quinoa Enchilada Bake from
    Two Peas and their Pod, so I’m excited to try this. Also, speaking of amazing recipes, these cookies are so stinking good, and I normally don’t like Peanut Butter cookies. http://realmomkitchen.com/2227/over-the-top-reeses-peanut-butter-cookies/

  21. Kim in MD says:

    My family loves quinoa. This looks delicious!

  22. Sindia says:

    Do you think sauteing some diced onions before the garlic would work in this recipe?

  23. Leigh Anne says:

    Hooray! This looks delicious, healthy and gluten-free too! It is always nice to make the same dish for the whole family with no funky substitutions.

  24. Sheryl says:

    Sounds like a perfect week night meal. Looks like it makes quite a bit, do you think it would freeze well?

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t tried freezing it, Sheryl, but I think it would probably work pretty well (dishes similar to this freeze well usually). You could also halve the recipe pretty easily if you don’t want to make as much.

  25. Kelly says:

    Could I sub rice for the quinoa??

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