Southwestern Quinoa Veggie Bake ~

Last weekend Nate and I drove an hour north to Cold Spring, N.Y.

We had grand plans to do this hike that he had read about.

Cold Spring, NY hike

However, when we headed down the trail, it seemed to be completely grown over. It was also flooded in parts because of the heavy rain we’ve been having.

Nate was totally bummed, but we found some other shorter hikes to do, including a walk that went along the shore of the Hudson. There were some kids swimming in the water and it was just very peaceful. I wish I had brought my bathing suit.

Cold Spring, NY hike

Since the hike wasn’t as long as we hoped, we decided to head over to a nearby estate called Boscobel. We were too cheap to pay the $37 house tour fee, but it was free to walk the grounds on Saturdays, so that’s what we did.

It was really beautiful and it made me wish the house we bought had a bigger yard. Ah well, a girl can wish…

Boscobel gardens

Part of the reason we went hiking is because Nate hasn’t been running for about a month, since he injured some muscle in his leg. He’s been trying to get a lot of walking in, but it just isn’t the same. To say he’s been in a foul mood would be putting it lightly, haha. (just kidding, if you’re reading this, sweetie!)

Boscobel gardens

Anyway, we’ve also been trying to eat a little healthier. This recipe is based on one I pinned several months ago.

Nate claims he doesn’t love southwestern/mexican things so much, but I do…and I honestly don’t think the boy actually knows what he likes and what he doesn’t. There have been several occasions during which he told me something (that he had previously claimed to hate) was delicious. I didn’t bother reminding him.

Southwestern Quinoa Veggie Bake ~

Anyway, I added zucchini to this because it’s in season and just seems like it belongs. I went light on the cheese on top because I ran out, but feel free to make it as cheesy as you’d like. It’s delicious topped with salsa and sour cream and served with some tortilla chips!

Southwestern Quinoa Veggie Bake ~

Southwestern Quinoa Veggie Casserole

Adapted from Pinch of Yum

Print this recipe!

Serves 5-7

3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, diced
1 4-oz. can diced green chiles (in the mexican section of the grocery store)
2 Tbsp oil, divided
4½ cups canned black beans, rinsed
1 cup chicken/veggie broth
3 cups cooked quinoa
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
2 bell peppers, diced
1 very lg (or 1 med, 1 small) zucchini, diced
garlic powder, salt and pepper
1¼ cup shredded Mexican cheese
diced green onions
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
sour cream, salsa, tortilla chips- optional

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9×13 pan.

Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, cooking several minutes until it begins to soften. Add garlic and cook 1 min. Add chiles and cook another minute.

Stir in broth and black beans. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Mash beans to desired consistency. The mixture should be thick, not watery. If you still have a lot of moisture, let it cook out by keeping it on the heat for another few minutes. Taste and season with salt.

Spread bean mixture in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish.

In same skillet over medium high heat, toss the cooked quinoa with the cayenne, chili powder, cumin, and salt for 1-2 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Spread on top of bean mixture in casserole dish.

If bottom of pan is coated with quinoa residue, add a little hot water and let it sit one minute, then scrape the bottom and it should easily come off. Pour out.  It’s ok if there’s still some a little stuff stuck to the sides/bottom

Add the remaining Tbsp of oil to the pan over medium high heat. Add the diced peppers and zucchini. Add a some garlic powder and salt to taste. Cook about 10 minutes until a little softer than al dente in texture. You don’t want them mushy as they will continue to cook in oven.

Spread minxture over quinoa in pan, trying not to take any liquid that came out during cooking. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the top layer of cheese is golden and bubbly. Sprinkle with green onions and cilantro and serve immediately.

Serve with sour cream, salsa and tortilla chips if you’d like.


  1. Aww I’m so sorry about Nate’s injury…trust me, I’ve been there, and it SUCKS. Hope it gets better soon!! If you guys need a recommendation, I have a GREAT physical therapist on the UES. Seriously…an amazing guy.

    This quinoa is definitely something I need in my life! Love that southwestern flavor!!

    • Thanks, Joanne! Nate has a physical therapist he’s used for running injuries in the past and he went back to her last week. She told him to take a few weeks off running and have him some exercises to strengthen. Hopefully he’ll be back out there soon!!!

  2. This is a beautiful recipe Amy – full of life and colour (and you know how I feel about Mexican dishes – happy to include Nate in that circle now ;-)). The photo of Nate inside the barn on the estate is incredible. I absolutely adore that kind of setting. Too bad the longer hike didn’t work out but it sounds like you made the best of your outing — such beautiful views surrounding you. It’s really hard to be an injured athlete/enthusiast – enough to make one mildly grumpy indeed ;-). I hope Nate heals soon (for both your sakes – heehee) and I’m looking forward to more of your photos (including your garden!) and story telling. Loved this post.

    • Thank you so much, Kelly! I LOVED the inside of that barn, which is why I made Nate pose in there. It was so bright and the wood was beautiful. It gave me inspiration to have a wood planked wall like that somewhere in my house :)
      Nate’s been given some strength exercises to do so I hope (for boh or sakes, as you said) that he’s back out on the roads next week!! Fingers crossed ;)

  3. Sorry to hear about that trail being knocked out for a bit.. glad you got some other hiking in though!

    Beautiful dish, perfect for summer, plus I love the southwestern flavor added to this. YUM!

  4. Amy, I still have to thank you again for the wheatberry recipe. No exaggeration, I’ve been making a version of wheatberry salad the last few weeks. I pop it in the fridge and munch on it for a few days. Now you’re inspiring me to switch it up to quinoa next week. : )

    Sorry you didn’t end up doing the hike but looks like it was a lovely day and a beautiful location nonetheless.

    • hehehe, I’m so glad! Now you reminded me to make it again. I think I have some leftover from when I made it before. Do you have any other good wheatberry combos??

  5. Bummer the trail you wanted to take didn’t work out! :( It still looks like you guys had fun though. Also looks like the weather was beautiful!
    I never make quinoa – its not even that I don’t like it. I do like it. I just never think to buy it or make it. :P

    • I know what you mean. There are just so many grains to remember, it’s hard to keep it in mind when you’re at the market. Quinoa is great tho because it cooks SO quickly. You should def keep it in your pantry!

      • Whenever I’m at whole foods, I always like to put in in my salads. I should pick some up just for that reason! :) Give my salads at home some more substance.

  6. love the contrast between the white plate and dark table :)

  7. i feel sad for nate and his injury! That always sucks…so frustrating when you can’t do the thing you want to do. :( I love this; i don’t always understand how people do not love southwestern flavors, as they are wonderful almost any time of year. and by almost, i mean ANY time of year. :) good add with the zucchini – i find myself throwing that in everything over the summer. we get so much of it around here, and i always miss it when it’s gone in the fall.
    (sigh) i’m trying to eat better, too; i feel like this would make a great easy dinner over the summer, and it may keep me away from cake-snacking. :)

    • I feel bad too :( I don’t like being helpless when he’s not happy. Hopefully he’ll be back on his feet soon. As soon as this humidity dies down, he’s going to try running, so cross your fingers :) This meal was kind of annoying because it took a few pots, but it was worth it i think. I hope you try it, Shannon!

  8. Ah Cold Spring. Isn’t it lovely there? I live in the Hudson Valley and when I saw your photos I had a feeling you were near the Hudson! I’m way too cheap to pay for Boscobel but I always admire it! I’ll have to walk the grounds on an upcoming Saturday now that I know that’s free!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Samantha! Oh my gosh, I know…it’s so so pretty there. I’m jealous you live in the Hudson Valley! I would love to live there, but I guess i’m lucky enough to be a short drive away. Def check out Boscobel on Saturday. It’s not very big so it’s def not worth it to pay. I would like to see inside the house some day though…

  9. Looks like it was a nice day anyway! Love the quinoa…my fave!

  10. I’ve been trying to make us eat healthier, too! I’ve been trying to replace all our rice with quinoa, but the first time Aaron ate quinoa he hated it, so he always does a gag noise when he sees it, whether he ends up liking it or not… These boys, I swear!

    • Ugh, I know…boys are just stupid. Quinoa def can be kinda weird…if you overcook it, it gets gloppy. And it’s true it has a distinct flavor. You could easily trick him with this dish though ;)

  11. I’m basically a quinoa addict. So, yeah…this will be happening. Soon.

  12. I love Southwest foods. So does my husband. However he hates cumin and can smell it a mile away. Problematic when it is a key “southwest” spice. Men!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Emily! Oh yeah, cumin is pretty easy to smell. Does he like taco seasoning? I feel like cumin is less noticeable in that than it is in like curry.

  13. That’s a lovely looking quinoa casserole and I’m sure it would be very healthy. How wonderful to have gone hiking. I’m sorry you weren’t able to do the hike Nate wanted to do but the surroundings look very pretty. We’ve certainly been having our share of rain too xx

  14. The quinoa casserole looks so beautiful and fresh. Can you believe I’ve yet to taste quinoa?! I must.

    PS: It’s giveaway time on my blog! Hope you join:

    • Oh my gosh, how have you never tasted quinoa?! You must must try it, especially before baby comes. It will be good to know how to cook it when your hands are full and your time is precious, because it cooks so quickly! Going to enter your giveaway now :)

  15. Well, I love southwest cuisine, quinoa AND veggies! This looks terrific!!!

  16. Here’s to eating healthy and scooping up mother nature with both hands! (But in a way that sounds less creepy.)

  17. Sometimes when I think I don’t like a certain food, and someone gives me a delicious dish with it, I also forget how I used to not like it! But I’ve always liked quinoa and southwestern foods :)

    • It’s funny…I can’t relate to that because I’ll try pretty much anything and can’t say there are any foods that i really detest. But hearing you say that makes me think Nate is slightly more normal than I previously thought ;)

  18. Poor Nate! Hope he heals up soon. And hope you can maintain your own sanity in the meantime. :) My parents in Vermont keep telling us about all the rain they are getting out there. Seeing how it hasn’t rained in a month here, it’s hard for me to imagine flooding. Sorry your hike was disappointing but it looks like you made the most of the day. I love all things Southwestern so this recipe look perfect to me. I love the zucchini in it.

    • Not to jinx anything, but Nate’s physical therapist gave him the go-ahead for a two mile run today and he said it felt good (knock on wood!!!). Hopefully he’ll be back to his 12 mile runs in no time. If only I craved running like him ;)…then I could eat another bowl of this ice cream, hehe.

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