Quinoa Tex Mex Casserole

Talk about an easy and delicious comfort food casserole! I just love the flavor and texture the quinoa gives to the dish. It’s one of our weekday favorites with a big green salad and a bowl of tortilla chips!

Oh and the beef can be omitted for a vegetarian friendly dish!

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Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 Ounces Ground Beef
  • ¾ Cup Quinoa
  • 1 15-Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Black Beans
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 Bunch Cilantro
  • 3 Ounces Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1 Jalapeño Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Creme Fraiche or Mexican Crema
  • 2 Teaspoons Taco Seasoning OR:
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the quinoa. Cook 12 to 14 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
  2. While the quinoa cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Rinse and drain the beans. Remove and discard the stem, ribs and seeds of the bell pepper; medium dice the bell pepper. Thinly slice the jalapeño into rounds. For a milder dish, remove and discard the seeds of the jalapeño. (Thoroughly wash your hands and cutting board after handling the pepper.) Peel and thinly slice the onion. Pick the cilantro leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Grate the cheese.
  3. While the quinoa continues to cook, in a large pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium and add the bell pepper, onion and spice blend to the pot of browned beef; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until the vegetables have softened slightly. Add the diced tomatoes, beans and ½ cup of water; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 4 minutes, or until slightly reduced in volume. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir the cooked quinoa and  creme fraiche (or Mexican crema) into the beef and vegetable mixture; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to an oven-safe baking dish. Evenly top with the grated cheese.
  6. Place the assembled casserole onto a sheet pan. Bake 14 to 16 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and lightly browned. Remove from the oven. Let stand for at least 2 minutes before serving. Garnish with the cilantro and as much of the jalapeño as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Enjoy!

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