When I was in Mexico, I was surprised to see quinoa being sold at different stores and markets. Now, I will admit that it was pretty expensive as far as quinoa goes; definitely not an everyday ingredient to use like rice. Quinoa definitely isn’t a traditional Mexican ingredient; however, it makes a great stand-in for traditional rice.
I was inspired by the availability of quinoa in Mexico City to create a quinoa recipe based on traditional Mexican recipes. I cook the quinoa in the same way that I would if I was making arroz verde. The quinoa is toasted in a little bit of oil before the puree of spinach, poblano peppers, cilantro, and garlic is added. My favorite part of making arroz verde or Mexican Green Quinoa is that you are able to sneak in some green vegetables. If you have picky eaters who turn their head away from leafy greens and salads, this is a great side dish to serve.
This Mexican Green Quinoa is a great side dish to any Mexican inspired meal. For a little extra veggies, corn is a great addition to the quinoa. The corn is completely optional; the quinoa has tons of flavor going on from the poblano pepper and cilantro.
This is a delicious and healthy side dish to serve your family for dinner. For more Mexican inspired recipes, be sure to check out the Vegan Mexican recipe section!
- 3 Heaping Cups Spinach
- 2 Poblano Peppers, seeds and veins removed
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Cup Chopped Cilantro
- ½ Tsp Salt, or to taste
- 1½ Cups Water, plus more to total 4 cups
- 1½ Tablespoons Olive Oil
- ½ Large White Onion, diced small
- 2 Cups Quinoa, rinsed and drained
- ½ Lime Juiced, optional
- 1 Cup Corn, optional
- In a blender, add the spinach, poblano peppers, garlic, cilantro, and salt.Pour in the 1½ cups water. Blend until smooth. Using a fine-mesh stainer over a large liquid measuring cup, strain the blended mixture into the measuring cup; use the back of a spoon to help push the liquid through.
- You'll need 4 cups total liquid. Subtract the blended amount from 4 and add that amount of water to a separate measuring cup. It is important to keep them separate.
- In a large, deep skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes.
- Stir in the rinsed quinoa and cook for 3 minutes, stirring often. Once the quinoa is toasted, pour in the measured spinach mixture. Cook until the green color darkens and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Pour in the other measuring cup with the water, lime juice and corn if using. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until quinoa is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
- Fluff with a fork and serve!