Quinoa Con Carne – Quick & Easy Mexican Dinner

Quinoa con carne

My boys are huge fans of Mexican food, especially Quionoa Con Carne.  We love to make healthy nachos, enchiladas, tacos, and burritos. I’ve typically always made a batch of mild Chilli Con Carne as the base for these dishes, but as simple as it is sometimes I just don’t have the time or don’t have mince on hand to be making it in the traditional way.  I needed a quicker and easier option for times like these…. and that’s where Quinoa Con Carne comes in!

I have found using quinoa instead of meat is just as tasty, takes half of the time to prepare, and best of all still 100% kid approved!  There are also some great health benefits to eating quinoa, it’s protein rich, high in fibre, and also a fabulous source of iron.

What I love most about this dish is you literally just throw it all in one pot and let it do it’s thing!

Quinoa Con Carne – Quick & Easy Mexican Dinner

The first time I cooked this for my family I served it on a bed of organic corn chips (nachos style) as I have found when serving something new to my boys, it helps greatly to have something I know they love and are comfortable with on the plate – I knew once they saw they were getting ‘chips’ with their dinner they’d be inclined to give it a go.  It worked.  It is also helpful to serve food up to fussy eaters using some fun and colourful dinnerware.

Our other favourite way to eat this dish is on a bed of mashed sweet potato.  My boys love it served up in either way.  You could also use it in filo pastry, tacos, burritos, use your imagination!


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of quinoa
  • 400g tin cannelini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 400g tin black beans (or kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • 2 x 400g tins diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups corn (tinned or frozen work fine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Organic corn chips OR mashed sweet potato


Choose whichever toppings are loved by your family!  We will always at least use these:

  • Squeeze of fresh lime
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped fresh coriander
  • Diced Avocado  (tip – add this just prior to serving.  Do not store leftovers with avocado as it tends to go a bit yucky)

Additional topping ideas:

  • Cucumber
  • Capsicum
  • Cherry tomatoes (halved or quartered)
  • Grated cheese
Served with Sweet Potato Mash and a variety of toppings


  1. Rinse quinoa well until water runs clear
  2. Warm olive oil in a large saucepan at medium heat.
  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant
  4. Add in quinoa, stock, cannelini beans, black beans, tin tomatoes, corn and spices and stir well.
  5. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat an simmer for approx 20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked through.
  6. Serve on either organic corn chips or mashed sweet potato.
  7. Add your favourite toppings and enjoy!


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