My grandmother always made “Spanish Rice” as a side dish when cooking Mexican dishes like enchiladas or chile rellenos. Her dish was a simple rice-o-roni with a can of diced tomatoes and black olives. My other grandmother had a similar dish using instant white rice, but hers had ground beef and a few more vegetables in it. I remember these growing up as staple side dishes whenever Mexican or Southwest dishes were the main course. I used these rice recipes as the inspiration for a Mexican Quinoa side dish I like to serve with Mexican dishes. It has the same style and general flavor I remember as a kid but with a more sophisticated, grown-up pallet to satisfy. I like to cook with fresh, whole ingredients so nothing here comes from a can except the tomato paste. I have cooked many variations of this dish and it makes great leftovers for the next day’s lunch.
- 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
- 2 cups water
- Fresh diced Garlic
- 1 -Green Bell Pepper chopped
- 1 -Red Bell Pepper chopped
- ½ -Jalapeno (optional) diced
- ½ cup Roasted Corn
- ½ Red Onion diced
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Ancho Chile Powder
- ½ small can of tomato paste
- Bring water to boil and add quinoa. Bring to boil again and then let simmer until water is absorbed. Set aside.
- Add oil in a wok or large skillet on medium heat. Sautee onion and garlic in oil, add salt and pepper and cook until translucent.
- Add jalapeno and continue to cook another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add remaining peppers and corn and season with Ancho Chile Powder.
- When veggies begin to soften add about ¾ of the prepared quinoa. Stir and cook for several minutes until quinoa is well integrated with veggies.
- Add tomato paste and stir into mixture. Cook another 3 to 5 minutes and then remove from heat.
- Cilantro can be added as garnish.
This recipe is inspired by a rice dish and, if you prefer to use rice, it works just as well.
My Grandma Anthony always added ground beef to hers and it was a very hearty side dish that could easily stand on it’s own as a main course. You could add shredded slow-cooked beef or chicken to this dish and it would make a great stuffing for tacos, burritos or stuffed peppers. If you want to add a little more spice to the dish just substitute the jalapenos for serrano peppers.