This Mexican-style quinoa casserole is a vegetarian recipe and can be served immediately for dinner or made into a freezer meal and saved for later!
Mmmm, I love southwest-style dishes. I love the flavors of chili powder, peppers, and onions all combined and topped with cheese. I mean, who doesn’t?
I also love casseroles, because they’re a breeze to make and are really easy to turn into freezer meals. They’re also usually pretty cheap and filling because they’re so dense and delicious.
And when you’re a busy mom like me, freezer meals are everything.
Because I know your grocery budget is limited, I’ve been trying to keep my recipes as cheap as possible without sacrificing flavor!
This recipe costs about $9.58 for the entire recipe or $2.40 per serving.
By not adding meat, it definitely cuts the cost of this recipe. But that’s not to say you can’t add meat if you want to! This recipe would probably taste so good with chicken or beef, too!
RELATED: How To Make Homemade Vegetable Broth
This quinoa casserole recipe uses vegetable broth, which I’ve been making at home instead of buying at the store. If you really want to save some money and cut costs, make your own homemade vegetable broth with veggie scraps you would have thrown away anyways. It tastes better, has less sodium, is less wasteful, and saves a little money!
To make this quinoa casserole a freezer meal, simply bake it as normal, but allow it to cool before topping it with the cheese, peppers, and onions. This way, the cheese won’t melt on top before you freeze it. You don’t want your cheese melting twice, otherwise it takes rubbery when you go to eat it. Yuck.
Pro Tip: Typically when I make a meal like this for dinner, I will double the recipe. That way, I can make one to serve immediately, and another to put in one of these pans to freeze for later.
This strategy helps me keep my freezer stocked up with food, so when my grocery budget is getting tight, I have dinners ready to heat and serve!
Healthy Quinoa Casserole
What makes this recipe healthy is using quinoa as the main ingredient.
Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain. That makes it higher in fiber, protein, and healthy fats than rice or pastas.
It also has a fluffy, earthy taste. It’s honestly so good.
If you’ve never used quinoa before or are nervous about using it, this is a great recipe to start with. Mixing the quinoa up with so many other familiar flavors and textures is great way to get your family to try it for the first time.
Vegetarian Southwestern Quinoa Casserole
- 1 1/2 cup dry quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 can black beans
- 2 cups salsa
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- 4 oz canned green chilies
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp avocado or olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced fajita style
- 2 bell pepper, sliced fajita style
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, combine the dry quinoa, broth, black beans, salsa, 1/2 cup cheese, corn, green chilies, chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder.
- Pour the mixture into a greased 9×13 baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes uncovered, stir, then return to the oven uncovered for another 20 minutes.
- While the casserole is in the oven, heat the oil on medium heat in a large skillet. Saute the bell peppers and onion until the peppers soften and the onion is translucent. Set aside.
- After the casserole has baked for 40 minutes, remove it from the oven. Spread the bell peppers and onion evenly over the casserole. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese, and return to the oven uncovered for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
- Serve and enjoy!
To Make It A Freezer Meal:
- Follow steps 1-4, using an aluminum pan instead of a glass or metal baking pan.
- After the casserole has baked for 40 minutes, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes. Spread the bell peppers and onion evenly over the casserole. Top with remaining 1 cup cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and allow to cool completely in the fridge before freezing. Label and date, and freeze for up to 3 months.
- When ready to bake from the freezer, thaw overnight in the fridge. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and baked the thawed casserole, covered, for 45-50 minutes or until heated through.
- Serve and enjoy!
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If you end up making this and loving it, take a photo and tag me on Instagram! I’d love to see your versions of my recipes! And feel free to rate it down below in the comment section. I would really appreciate it!
There you have it. A cheap, healthy meal the whole family can enjoy! I can’t wait to hear what you think in the comments below!
So hearty (filling) & flavorful! Loved it!!! Freezes well too! It’s a keeper!
Megan Byrd, RD says
Thank you so much Linda!