One Pot Quinoa and Black Beans has been a favorite easy and healthy weeknight recipe for me for years. It’s packed with nutrient-dense ingredients and tons of flavor from sweet corn, bell peppers, onions, and spices. It’s a perfect weeknight vegan/vegetarian, gluten-free, plant-based recipe that’s hearty, filling, and the whole family will love it!
This is “one of those recipes.” I’ve been making it for years- for myself, for friends, for potlucks, for meal prep… I come back to this recipe again and again because it’s a) easy; b) delicious, and c) so nutritious and healthy!
Spicy quinoa and black beans is the ultimate healthy yet satisfying (and scrumptious!) dish. And it’s a really easy, one-pot meal! It’s vegan but will appeal to meat-eaters in its heartiness, and it’s packed with nutrient-rich quinoa, vegetables, beans, and tons of flavor.
This recipe is great on its own, but it’s also delicious rolled into a burrito or topped with fixings such as avocado and sour cream.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Quinoa – I like using white quinoa because it has a lighter, fluffier texture and cooks faster. You can use tri-color or another color quinoa if you like. You can also substitute the quinoa with rice or orzo- just keep an eye on how much you should adjust the liquid.
- Black beans – two small cans or one large can, or about 3 cups cooked beans total. You can use pinto beans or a combo as a substitute.
- Red bell pepper – the flavor of red is the sweetest, but any color can be used. You can also add a jalapeño in addition to the bell pepper to make the recipe spicier.
- Garlic and Onion – add 1 teaspoon garlic powder with the other spices if you don’t have fresh.
- Cayenne pepper – this recipe isn’t too spicy, but you can still omit this for a very mild version.
- Vegetable broth – water can be used in a pinch, or chicken broth if you don’t need it to be vegan/vegetarian.
- Frozen corn – or fresh, if you prefer.
- Fresh cilantro – can be omitted if you don’t like cilantro.
- Pantry basics: olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper
How to make quinoa with black beans
- First, SAUTÈ onions and peppers in olive oil. Use a large deep skillet with a lid or a pot for this.
- Then, ADD THE GARLIC and sauté for just about 30 seconds, until it’s fragrant (garlic burns easily so you don’t want to cook for too long at a high heat).
- ADD THE QUINOA AND SPICES and stir to coat everything. Make sure you rinse the quinoa first in a mesh sieve, as it will improve the flavor and remove some bitterness.
- POUR IN THE VEGETABLE BROTH and stir, then bring to a boil.
- COVER AND SIMMER ON LOW until quinoa is cooked (about 20 minutes).
- STIR IN THE FROZEN CORN, BLACK BEANS, AND CILANTRO and keep cooking on low until everything is heated through.
Can I store leftovers/make ahead?
This recipe stays great as leftovers in the fridge for 3-5 days in an airtight container! This makes it great for meal prep. You can also double the recipe and eat it for dinner, then save leftovers to wrap in burritos or take for lunches later in the week
Suggested fixings for topping
This black beans and quinoa is delicious on its own. I also like serving quinoa and black bean bowls topped with fixings, such as:
- Sour cream
- Hot sauce
- Diced avocado
- Extra cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Shredded cheese
What kind of deep skillet should I use?
I use my Calphalon 5-qt. Sauté Pan with a lid for this recipe and other recipes that require a deep skillet. The tall edges make it easy to fit a lot of food and help prevent a mess if I stir too aggressively.
Other easy black bean recipes
- 15-minute Black Beans and Rice
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas
- Chicken Stew with Sweet Potatoes and Black Beans
- Turkey Enchiladas with Black Beans and Corn
Other easy one-pot recipes
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Spicy Quinoa and Black Beans
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3/4 cup quinoa rinsed (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 1.5 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth, or water in a pinch
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 3 cups cooked black beans drained and rinsed (or two 15-oz. cans)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus more for serving
- sour cream, shredded cheese, avocado, hot sauce, limes, etc. optional (for serving)
- In a large pot or deep skillet, sauté the diced onion and bell pepper in olive oil (1 tablespoon) over medium-high heat until softened and browned (about 5 minutes).
- Add garlic and stir; sauté for thirty seconds (or until fragrant).
- Add rinsed quinoa (3/4 cup), cumin (1 teaspoon), cayenne pepper (1/4 teaspoon), 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; stir to coat.
- Add vegetable broth (1.5 cups), stir, and bring to a boil.
- Turn heat to low and simmer covered for approximately 20 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked.
- Stir in frozen corn (1 cup), black beans (3 cups), and fresh cilantro (1/2 cup); continue cooking on low heat until beans and corn are heated through (about 5 minutes). Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Serve, and top with optional fixings in a bowl or in a wrap as a burrito if desired.
- You can use any kind of quinoa you want, but I prefer white colored quinoa because I think it cooks a little faster, and the texture is lighter and fluffier. Rinsing it first in a mesh sieve will take away some of the bitter flavor.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They will stay good for 3-5 days.
- Ingredient substitutions: use rice or orzo in place of the quinoa (adjust liquid accordingly), pinto beans or a combo instead of black beans.
- Make it extra spicy by adding a diced jalapeño pepper with the bell pepper and/or adding more cayenne pepper. Make it mild by omitting the cayenne pepper.
- Large, deep skillet or pot with a lid
This post originally appeared on Bowl of Delicious on September 13, 2014. It has been republished with new photos, improved recipe instructions, and more pertinent information.