Mar 21

Mexican Quinoa & Sweet Potato Casserole

New kitchen methods fascinate me.


The stranger the learning, the better!

This week’s ingredients aren’t necessarily strange, but the way I cooked it was strange to me.  It’s a quinoa casserole… but you don’t have to cook the quinoa first!  Perfect for the lazy chef.  Like me.

For some reason I have a mental block about cooking grains.  It seems like SO much effort.  I know this is totally irrational, and I make other things that take much longer.  It is what it is.  When I saw this recipe from Lee where she simply baked the quinoa uncooked, I knew I had to try it.

Mexican Quinoa and Sweet Potato Casserole


I used Mexican flavors here, but I’m excited to try the method with other flavor profiles (French is next on the list!).  It’s one of those magical recipes that seems like it took a ton of effort, but is incredibly easy.  It’s a one dish meal – I just tossed everything in a bowl to mix and transferred it to the dish.

Random story about my dish – it was just returned to me by a friend.  She’d had it for 2 years from when I brought over these Mexican Black Bean Brownies to an Oscar party.  LOL!

Mexican Quinoa & Sweet Potato Casserole


If you like heat, you’ll love this.  If you don’t, I’d keep the paprika but leave out the cayenne.  The smoked paprika is a must for me.  I love that smokiness with the Mexican spices and the slight sweetness from the sweet potato.

Between the bean and the quinoa, this makes for a fantastic protein-rich vegan dish!


Mexican Quinoa & Sweet Potato Casserole

Mexican Quinoa and Sweet Potato Casserole

  • 1/2 C quinoa, uncooked and rinsed
  • 1/2 C vegetable broth
  • 1/2 can (8 oz) salt-free black beans, rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 small white (or orange) sweet potato (~275g), diced


Preheat oven to 350F.  Prepare a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Place all ingredients into a large bowl and miix until everything is evenly combined.  Pour into baking dish, spreading evenly to combine.

Cover with foil and bake for 75 mins, or until sweet potatoes are tender and quinoa is cooked.

Makes 9 servings.


How have you enjoyed making co-workers, friends, or family stare with strange but good creations this week? The link up rules can be found here or by clicking on “Strange But Good” in the menu bar above. In short, I want to see what concoctions have earned you weird looks from co-workers, family and friends! Post your Strange But Good creations, grab the logo below for your blog, and link up here.

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Remember to use #strangebutgood in any Tweets and Instagrams of your creations. :)


I’m so excited for this weekend – I’m going to see some of my old teammates at the Atlanta Rollergirls Bout!

Do you have certain foods that seem like a lot of effort to cook?

What is your favorite quinoa dish?



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  1. Debbie @ Live from La Quinta

    I love casseroles! One dish meals are easy, fast, and most of the prep time is time in the oven. My ideal meal (and I love spicy too, so this is perfect).

  2. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    YUM. This looks delicious and super easy! Huh, baking the uncooked quinoa is such a great idea!

    1. Laura

      Thanks! Quick and easy has been essential lately!

  3. Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes

    I’ve never thought to use quinoa in a casserole like this, great idea! It looks very tasty, love Mexican flavours.

    1. Laura

      Thank you! Let me know if you try it out!

  4. Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    This is a great idea! I recently found this pre-cooked quinoa you just heat up on the stove (or in the microwave for you fancy folk!) and it has saved my life post-workout. I am the laziest cook ever and don’t want to spend more than 10 minutes in the kitchen once I get home from the gym!

    1. Laura

      They sell that at Trader Joe’s here!

  5. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    I made Lee’s dish this week too! SOOOOO good! And yes, not cooking quinoa ahead of time – love it!

    1. Laura

      Most brilliant idea ever! I can’t wait to experiment with more flavors!

  6. Krista @ Tiny n Fit

    This looks delish! I Love quinoa and mexican anything. Add some guac or avocado too!

    1. Laura

      I was wishing I had avocado when I made this!

  7. Lucie@FitSwissChick

    Oh yes, I SO feel the same about cooking grains!! I’m so lazy it feels like it goes on forever. So this is perfect. I was always wondering if it would work with uncooked quinoa!

  8. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    Anything you can throw together uncooked, bake and call dinner is a plus. Quinoa works so well with Mexican flavors- yum!

    1. Laura

      Amen to that! I need 5 more hours in the day.

  9. Cat

    I’m exactly the same about the grain/legume cooking business – all the soaking and waiting around… Long! But this looks simple enough for it to be worthwhile. Plus mexican anything = worth it ;)

    1. Laura

      Oh yeah… ain’t no body got time for dat! ;)

  10. Linz @ Itz Linz

    that looks awesome!! i made a quinoa dish last weekend with onion, corn, and peas… it was so savory, simple, and delicious!!

    1. Laura

      That sounds so good! I’m ready for some spring peas!

  11. Tina Muir

    Ooooh that is strange, but good! Yum! I love quinoa, and I love mexican…..what could be wrong? Thanks for the recipe Laura :)

  12. jill conyers

    This looks amazingly good! I think I say that a lot here don’t I :)

    1. Laura

      I so appreciate it!!! :)

  13. lindsay

    i’ll eat this mexican any day!! casseroles make it more fun, well yours do.

  14. Nicole @ FruitnFitness

    Oh this sounds good! I don’t think I have tried Mexican flavored quinoa dish before.

    1. Laura

      It’s such a good fit – I love the way big flavors soak in to quinoa!

  15. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles

    Huh. I had no idea you could cook uncooked quinoa in a casserole like that! Noted.

  16. misszippy

    You had me at uncooked! But it sounds delicious, too, so I’m all over it.

  17. Heather (Where's the Beach)

    I love the combo of black beans and sweet potatoes. I will put uncooked quinoa in my eggplant lasagna. It absorbs the excess liquid and cooks up perfectly.

    1. Laura

      Good idea! I’m going to have to try that next time!

  18. Katie (@momslrb)

    This is definitely something I would try. YUM!

    1. Laura

      Thanks! Let me know if you do! :)

  19. Lee

    My mother insists that you can make lasagna without cooking the noodles (usually regular noodles, not no-bake) but I tried it once and they were hard!

    1. Laura

      I’ve never heard that… but did you see the one where you can make it in a dishwasher?!

  20. Lee

    Yay! Yours turned out so good :) :) love your weird but good recipes. Da best.

    1. Laura

      Strange but good is where it’s at! Thanks for the idea!!!

  21. Kelly @ Cupcake Kelly's

    I’m with you on the grains front, I always feel like risotto takes FOREVER!

    1. Laura

      So agree! I rarely ever make it.

  22. Hannah

    Well isn’t it exciting to see a sweet potato casserole from an American with nary a marshmallow in sight.

    1. Laura

      Ewwwww! I never eat that nastiness.

  23. melody

    Yum! This looks so good. I love quinoa – I cook with it often, and have been on a sweet potato kick lately. Definitely going to make this soon!

    1. Laura

      Same here! I put sweet potato in everything! :)

  24. Arman @ thebigmansworld

    I never knew you could cook with quinoa ‘uncooked’- that is #strangebutgood in itself…with a Mexican twist- even better!

  25. Jody - Fit at 56

    THAT looks amazing!!!!!!!!

    1. Laura

      Easy, right?! ;)

  26. Megan (The Lyons' Share)

    The only way I cook grains is doing a big batch at the beginning of the week. It’s never like “oh, let me whip up a single serving of quinoa for tonight.” Judging by the comments, we’re not alone! Also … I am sitting in a random hotel in Minneapolis, freezing after a snowy run and eating grocery store sushi in bed while googling “what are French flavors” on a Friday night. I don’t know why but thinking about that made me laugh, and I thought I’d share :).

    1. Laura

      Hahaha – that’s something I would have done too. :)

  27. Laura @FitMamaLove

    This sounds so good! Especially topped with an egg like on your Instagram!

    You say it’s 9 servings, but a half cup quinoa and one sweet potato doesn’t sound like nearly enough to make 9 servings. How can that be?

    1. Laura

      I made it and cut it into 9… you can eat as much as you like! I used it as a side, so 9 worked for me. :)

  28. Brittany @ Delights and Delectables

    I LOVE quinoa! Making this for sure!

    1. Laura

      Thanks Brittany! Please let me know what you think. :)

  29. Mary @ Fit and Fed

    Smoked paprika can definitely make a dish. And I know where you are coming from about the grains– I used to cook all my rice on the stove but now that I have a rice cooker, all my rice and quinoa gets cooked in there. So easy!

  30. Randi

    Ah this looks so delish! On the menu for next dinner…thank you for posting!

    1. Laura

      Thanks Randi! I’d love to hear what you think. Hope you’re doing well!

  31. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets

    Uncooked quinoa in a casserole…I’m fascinated, and by fascinated I mean pleased because this appeals to my laziness as well. That and only dirty two dishes makes me happy.

  32. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

    Ahhhh, here’s the famous quinoa dish! I’ve made quinoa granola before, but never even realized you could make a casserole with it without cooking…I love quinoa! I swear it’s the wonder (pseudo) grain! But yeah, I’m the same way with grains…and dried beans. I have a TON of both in my pantry and if I’d just take a minute to plan ahead, I’d be fine, but I’m all like, “it takes forrrrrrrrrrreverrrrrrrrr! Eh, I’ll just eat cereal!” Haha!

    Smoked paprika is NEVER optional in my opinion!

  33. Randi

    yup this was ridiculously delicious and so freakin easy to make. we did it as a side and baked some chicken to go with but honestly, I could have eaten this whole dish in one sitting. thanks for posting!! (PS didn’t get 9 servings at all, probably more like 4-6)

    1. Laura

      I’m so glad you liked it! Serving size really depends on what you serve it with I guess – I eat a TON of protein as my main. :)

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