It’s hard to find recipes that are healthy, easy to make, not overly time consuming, and that everyone loves. If you’re on a tight budget, your list of possible dinner ideas dwindles even more. Healthy Crockpot Enchilada Quinoa to the rescue! Let this delicious slow cooker meal save you from another night of uninspired, fattening, overpriced cooking. When I tasted it for the first time I remember thinking, “Where have you been my whole life? Was dinner really that easy?” Yes, yes it was.
The first thing you will need to do is brown 1 pound of ground beef. I use the 90/10 combo because I like to reduce calories and fat when I can. If you use regular 80/20, be sure to drain the beef before you move it to the crockpot. You can also use ground turkey or chicken. Leave it out altogether and you’ll have a wonderful vegetarian dish!
Move the beef to the Crockpot (this one is on sale right now for $23) and add 1 1/2 cups of uncooked quinoa. I used tricolored quinoa to make the end result more colorful. Add in a 15 oz can of drained black beans, a 12 oz bag of frozen corn, and a 15 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes. You’ll also need 1 Tablespoon of minced garlic, 1 diced red onion, and 2 diced jalapeno peppers. If you like a lot of heat, leave the seeds in the jalapeno. I took the seeds out because my kids were eating this with me.
Now add in a 12 oz bottle of your favorite enchilada sauce (I always use Trader Joe’s brand) and 1 cup of water. You will also need 2 Tablespoons of chili powder, 1 Tablespoon of cumin, 2 teaspoons of ground coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon each of kosher salt and black pepper.
Mix it all together until you see all those pretty colors! Put the lid on and turn the slow cooker on HIGH for 3 hours or until all the liquid is absorbed.
When you think the quinoa is about done, stir it around and taste it. Adjust the seasonings if necessary. Pour in 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese and mix it up and then add another 1/2 cup on top. Sprinkle on 3 diced green onions and 1/4 cup of minced cilantro. Replace the lid until the cheese melts.
Try to refrain from slurping up all the yummy cheese! I couldn’t do it. I had several bites before I served my family. Seriously, how can I resist when the cheese is all stringy like that?!
Simply scoop out the quinoa and serve! I topped my family’s plates with some chopped tomatoes and extra cilantro. Look at all those vibrant colors! I just love it when food is healthy and pretty all at the same time!
This is a perfect meal in and of itself but if you want something to go with it I would suggest some Chunky Restaurant-Style Guacamole or chips and Homemade Cilantro-Lime Salsa. Crockpot Enchilada Quinoa is something I like to take to a mommy with a new baby or a friend recovering from surgery because it is healthy, easy to reheat, and makes great leftovers. Throw in some 13 Minute Almond Joy Cookies and you’ll be their new best friend!
Save this pretty picture on Pinterest to reference later or share it now on Facebook. Happy cooking ya’ll!
Healthy Crockpot Enchilada Quinoa
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1.5 cups uncooked quinoa
- 15 oz can black beans drained
- 12 oz bag frozen corn
- 15 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 red onion chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers seeds optional for heat
- 1 12 oz bottle enchilada sauce
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese divided
- 3 chopped green onions
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Optional: diced tomatoes for topping
- Brown meat in large saute pan and transfer to slow cooker
- Add all ingredients through coriander.
- Turn Crockpot to HIGH and cook 3 hours.
- When liquid is absorbed, mix half the cheese in quinoa and other half on top.
- Top with green onions and cilantro.
- Replace lid until cheese melts.
- Serve warm and top with chopped tomatoes.
Can you make this with frozen ground turkey?
Yes, I have made it with turkey many times! However, it needs to be cooked before going in the Crockpot.
Heidi Davison turned our delicious. Added about a cup of cauliflower rice to thicken a bit and added frozen mixed peppers and green chilies. Had it over cilantro lime couscous 😊! Will definitely make again.
I love your idea of cauliflower rice and cilantro lime couscous! I will have to try that myself.
The family loved this recipe!! And it makes a lot. I am thinking I can freeze some leftovers and pull out on another night. We ate it with Tortilla chips with Cheese and Sour Cream on top. The kids loved it and asked for seconds. I used my instant pot and originally set it on bean/chili option which is high pressure for 30 minutes. I actually messed up and forgot to seal the lid so the quinoa was not fully cooked. Then I researched how to cook quinoa in the instant pot and it said to select the Rice option (which is 12 minutes low pressure). I added just a little more water and pushed the Rice option. Left for a few hours so it did natural release. It was perfect after all this. I will try this recipe again and probably just try the Rice option first and see how it does. Not sure if the 12 minutes will be enough time or not but I suspect it would be. If you do natural release with the rice option I think it should be fine.
Forgot to rate the recipe…. 5 stars all the way!
Thanks Trish! You’re the best!
I’m so glad you were courageous enough to try it in the instant pot. I don’t actually own one so it is great to hear that this recipe can be augmented. And I bet you are right about the quinoa: I cook mine in the rice cooker just like regular rice and it always comes out perfectly.
Trish, we have another, similar recipe we enjoy often that has quinoa and ground turkey in it (a quinoa chili) and it cooks for 20 minutes at high pressure – it’s perfect at that time/pressure, so I’m not sure 12 minutes will work at low
Thanks for your input Todd! I still have yet to get an instant pot!
Love your food Heidi!!
Why, thank you!
Instead of the 3 hours on high do you think this could be cooked on low for a longer time? Was hoping I could start it in the morning before work and it be ready when I got home but I’m gone for 10 hours. Sounds really good and I can’t wait to try it.
I think 6 hours on low would be fine. Does your slow cooker switch to the WARM setting once it’s finished? If so, the quinoa should be fine. If not, it warms up easily in the microwave. I have eaten this cold and it’s still good!
Can’t wait to try this recipe. I make something similar without the meat. Looking forward to this version.
With or without meat, this quinoa is packed with flavor. I have a feeling you’ll love it!
I made this for dinner tonight, served with salsa, and it was a hit all-around – husband, 3-year-old and 10-month-old too! It was wonderful as written but there are also many opportunities for customizing. The two seeded jalapenos gave just a hint of heat but my spice-averse kids still loved it. I love that it’s simple and healthy, and with the quinoa, beef and veggies it’s an all-in-one meal. It would be perfect as a lunch prep too. Thanks Heidi!
This looks fantastic Heidi! Will have to try really soon.
You do need to try it! I think it would be great for your lunches throughout the week.
Oh yummy, this sounds SO good! I love the fact that it is healthy too, will have to try it with the fam bam
It is healthy! The other night I made it for my vegan sister! I left out the beef and cheese and it was still really good!
Oh yum! I have to try this recipe! Thank you for sharing it! <3
I think you and your family will love it!
I hope you and your family love it!