This cheezy Mexican Quinoa will take you to healthy comfort food heaven. It’s easy to make and the sauce tastes rich, creamy and Cheddary! It’s Hamburger Helper for health-conscious grown-ups who love real food. Minus the hamburger. Perfect for #MeatlessMonday, or Tuesday or Wednesday…there is literally no time you’re not going to crave this. It’s pretty much the only thing I want to eat right now.
Did you eat Hamburger Helper as a kid? Or as an adult even? This is like that, only _way_ better. It’s got the same comfort food vibe and creamy, Cheddary sauce – only with healthy, all-veggie ingredients and bold Mexican flavor.
This…I’m obsessed with it. I didn’t think this kind of eats (this is totally “eats,” btw) was possible without meat or dairy. And I was so wrong.
I love being wrong when this kind of radical deliciousness is the result. So what’s going on with this comfort food miracle? The secret ingredient is a batch of this Life-Changing Vegan Cheese Sauce. I don’t throw the phrase life changing around lightly. This stuff is changing my life. It tastes like thick, creamy Cheddar cheese sauce! And it’s easy to make with cheap ingredients and totally, 100% plant based AND healthy! It doesn’t take long to make, and the final cleanup isn’t bad: it’s basically a small, saucepan, a pot that ends up holding the meal and your food processor. I don’t usually love cooking sauces separately, but this sauce isn’t a big deal to make, and it’s beyond worth it! And I didn’t have to go buy anything special to make it. If you don’t keep quinoa around you’ll need some of that, but believe me you’ll end up using it! Quinoa is one of those things: once you’ve taken the plunge, you’ll wonder what you’ve been doing all your life without it.
The key to the amazing, damn-you-can-cook! flavor is the seasonings. They’re simple but plentiful, and you’ll be letting them bloom (aka heat up a bit so the flavor releases) in some olive oil. It’s my favorite cooking trick ever, and I guarantee it’ll take the flavors in your cooking to next-level deliciousness.
Serves 1 1/4 c
Eat Healthy Eat Happy
My Cheezy Mexican Quinoa brings the comfort food vibe and taste you crave - and it's 100% good for you!
10 minPrep Time
40 minCook Time
50 minTotal Time
- 1 c uncooked quinoa
- Cheeze Sauce:
- 2 c peeled, cubed potato
- 1 carrot, chopped
- water for boiling
- 4 Tbs olive oil
- 1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
- 3 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked or regular paprika
- 4 tsp mustard (Dijon is my favorite)
- 1 tsp lower sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- Spices (approximate):
- 2-3 tsp cumin
- 3-4 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dried cilantro/coriander
- few twists fresh black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked or regular paprika
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp chipotle seasoning
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1 1/2 c (or a 15 oz. can) no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained)
- a 15 oz. can no salt added diced tomatoes
- Cook the quinoa according to the package. While that cooks, make the cheeze sauce.
- Combine the potato and carrot in a large, lidded saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Prep the rest of the veggies for the recipe while they cook.
- Drain and transfer to a food processor or powder blender. Set the pan aside.
- Add the remaining sauce ingredients and blend for about 2 minutes, or until totally smooth. Set aside.
- Add 3 Tbs olive oil to the pan. Turn the heat to medium low and add the spices. Let bloom for about 2 minutes. Add a splash of water to the pan to deglaze if they start to look dry.
- Raise the heat to medium. Add the onion and saute 2-3 minutes. Add the pepper and saute 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 2-3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with a little water (about 1/4 cup) at any time things are looking dry.
- Turn the heat to medium low and stir in the cooked quinoa. Stir in the cheese sauce, black beans and tomatoes. Turn the heat to low, lid the pan and let sit 5 minutes before serving, stirring occasionally.