Fiesta Quinoa Casserole

FiestaQuinoaCasserole2This week has been a challenging one for me.

Last weekend was Christian’s 7th birthday and to start the weekend off we took the boys to the movies.  Seems like a safe activity, right?

Hmmm…not so much.

I somehow managed to pick a broken theater chair to sit in.

To be clear, I am not graceful at my best.  At 34 weeks pregnant, lets just say the result of me sitting in a very broken chair would have been comical if it weren’t so upsetting.

I was thrown backwards and as I tried to regain balance, I was projected forward onto the floor with a loud thud.   (There were no seats right in front of me.)  Nothing quite as pretty as an 8 month pregnant lady lying in the floor face down in a movie theater.

By the time I got home, I was sore all over (including my stomach) but since baby was moving I assumed that me not being able to move for a week was the only consequence.

When I went to see my Midwife, I was more than a little upset to find out that Skye had moved from the head down position she has been in at every appointment since 20 weeks, to being both breech and posterior.  Apparently, she got a little scared and confused in there.

My week has been spent trying to figure out how to get her to turn back around (there is a great site called if anyone ever needs it) and freaking out.

With heavy emphasis on freaking out.

I know there is plenty of time for her to turn, but my obsessive personality is having a hard time letting go and thinking about much of anything else.

I even forgot to eat a few times which never happens.

Luckily, today I made this yummy casserole so I’m sure I won’t be forgetting to eat again in the near future.  It’s pure comfort food, which is just what i need right now.  (Well, that and chocolate, I’m pretty sure I NEED some chocolate. :))




Fiesta Quinoa Casserole

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Yield: 8

Calories per serving: 327

Fat per serving: 15.6g

Fiesta Quinoa Casserole

In a hurry? Substitute a tablespoon taco seasoning for the spices!


  • Olive oil spray
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 poblano chile pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons butter OR olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons whole wheat OR gluten free flour
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk OR milk of choice
  • 8 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese OR Daiya Pepper Jack shreds
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans (about 1 can)
  • For serving: Pico De Gallo, Salsa, Avocado, Sour Cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large baking pan with olive oil.
  2. Spray a large skilled with olive oil and heat to medium. Add onion, poblano pepper and red pepper and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Add corn and cook for 4 more minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt butter or heat olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add flour, chili powder, paprika, cumin, chipotle chili powder and salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add in milk and cook, stirring often, until thick. Add cheese and cook until melted.
  4. Place quinoa and black beans in a large bowl. Add vegetable mixture and toss. Add cheese mixture and stir until well combined. Transfer to prepared baking dish.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with pico de gallo, salsa, avocado or sour cream if desired.


Servings 8, Calories 327, Fat 15.6g, Carbohydrates 33.6g, Protein 15.3g, Cholesterol 37mg, Sodium 527mg, Fiber 7.3g, Sugars 3.3g, WW Pts 9

May be make ahead and frozen prior to baking. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before baking.

  • GuestGirl

    Wendy, I hope you're ok! Please take care of yourself and that wee baby. I hope you said something to the manager of that theatre!

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks so much! I ended up not even filling out their accident report because I was feeling so awful I just wanted to get home. I'm kind of regretting that now…

  • Gabby

    Oh wow I hope you and your little one are okay!! Please take care of yourself and I am wishing you the best in turning her around!

    On a more positive note, this casserole looks like just the thing! Cheezy goodness at its best!
    My recent post healthy vegan friday #32

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks Gabby!

  • angela

    So glad you and baby are ok, but I can understand how upsetting and frustrating that would be. Hoping things turn around (literally!) for you soon.

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks so much Angela!

  • Judith

    Whoa – I am glad you and the baby are okay, but I totally understand your freak-out! Skye is a beautiful name, by the way. And thanks for another delicious-looking recipe!

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks so much Judith! (Judith is my mom and sisters name :)) I hope you enjoy this one.

  • NorthernMiMom

    What an ordeal!! Praying the little one get's back into position soon!

    This looks SOOO good!!!! We are excited to try it this week and I was wondering what size baking dish should I use?

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks so much for your prayers. I used a dish that was a little smaller than 13 x 9 but anything in that size range would work just fine. I hope you enjoy.

      • NorthernMiMom

        I made it this evening – a double batch since I have 2 teenage boys in the house. First I was very surprised by how much a double batch made! Second, I was surprised by how little was left! Super yummy & filling – a great addition to our meatless meals!! Thank You!!

  • Rhonda

    Hi Wendy, I hope for you to have peace and serenity in your body and mind in the coming weeks.
    You want to save your energy for holding your baby girl and cuddling with your boys. Keep taking
    care of you. ~ Rhonda:)
    My recent post Healthy Protein Drinks

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thank you so much for your kind words Rhonda!

  • Whitni

    Good news is that babies can still flip down up until 37 weeks and some all the way up to 50 weeks! So don't stress!! Stress is not good for baby or for mommy! And I'm totally going to make this recipe ASAP!

    • Wendy Polisi

      I'm almost to the point where I'm stressing about stressing. :) You are 100% right though – there is still PLENTY of time. (I'm just 34 weeks.) Hope you enjoy this one.

  • Kenda

    Wendy I am so sorry for your tumble at the movie theater but so glad you and the baby are okay. I will be praying for you both and believing she will be born head first, not breach! I tried this casserole tonight and loved it!!!!! Thank you so much.

  • Kenda

    Wendy I'm so glad that you and the baby are okay. I will be keeping you both in prayer. I'm also praying for her to turn back and not be a breach birth. I made this casserole tonight and it was Awesome!! Thanks for all your hard work. Looking forward to more wonderful recipes. Take care of yourself!

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks so much Kenda! Glad you enjoyed this one.

  • Barbara

    I can't even imagine how stressed out you must be. Hang in there, lady. I'll say a prayer for you and little Skye. Thanks for all your knowledge and recipes you've shared. You've brought a lot of happiness into my home and kitchen. Everything will be fine.

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks so much for your kind words and well wishes Barbara! Apparently your prayers worked …she's flipped back around.

  • Kim Haring

    Hoping and praying your baby gets back in position Wendy, and that spinning babies strategies do the trick. Thanks for all the encouragement with quinoa recipes!

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks so much Kim….it did work and she's back head down as of yesterday. :)

  • Wendy

    I made this last night and it was an instant hit. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe.

    • Wendy Polisi

      So glad you liked it! :)

  • Jessica

    This was awesome :) I did add a can of drained rotel tomatoes too, very yummy!

    • Wendy Polisi

      So glad you enjoyed it Jessica!

  • Chris

    Sending prayers. Hope you are feeling better!!!!

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks so much Chris!

  • Chris

    I am fixing this right now. Can't wait to eat it! Before you put it in your recipe book you might want to adjust wording for instruction #2. Add onion, poblano chile pepper, red pepper and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until tender. Add corn and cook for 4 more minutes. Thanks for sharing your great recipes. I love learning about and trying quinoa recipes. I just started eating quinoa a year ago at 62, so it is never too late to try something new. I am glad to hear that you and Skye are doing well. I look forward to seeing her picture. My daughter-in-law delivered at home also and everything went great. It sounds like you have a good midwife and I think that is the key. Best Wishes!

    • Wendy Polisi

      Hope you enjoyed it Chris and thanks for the correction! Good for you for introducing new foods into you diet. My parents – who are older than you but still in their 60's and should be young in my mind – are very slow to accept anything new in their diets. (Including quinoa…sigh…) Drives me crazy! Thanks for your well wishes with the baby – I'm getting excited to meet this little girl!

  • Tiffany

    I'm making this now and the vegetables were delicious but the cheese sauce alone is amazing! I'll probably make it again sometime just for chips. :D Can't wait to try the casserole when it's finished!
    Good luck to you and the baby. I hope all goes well. <3

    • Wendy Polisi

      Thanks so much Tiffany! Hope you enjoyed this.

  • Debbie

    I made this tonight for me (vegetarian) and my husband (non-vegetarian) we both ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT!!! Thanks for a great recipe. Delicious! Can't wait to make it again!

    • Wendy Polisi

      Yay! Gotta love getting your non-veg husband and you to enjoy the same dish. :)

  • Joni

    Any thoughts on if this would work out okay if prepared ahead of time a few days and refrigerated?? I'd love to have it for dinner during the week, but don't have time to put it together after work before it's cranky NEED TO EAT NOW time!

    • Wendy Polisi

      It would be just fine prepared ahead. You could also freeze it.

  • REnee

    going to give this a try but i'm going to add ground beef went sautéing my vegs then i'm going to stuff bell peppers with this. will bake it. going to see how it comes out. first time i use quinoa. i'm guessing its kinda like a rice but has protein. idk.

  • Laura

    This looks great! I just found your web site. I'm considering your gluten-free quinoa cookbook. I didn't see this recipe in it, however. Do you have this recipe in one of your cookbooks? I'm also a vegetarian – I have been since I was a teen. I'm now in my mid-forties. I'm thinking lightening up on gluten (or omitting it eventually) may really help me feel better. Thanks for a great site.

    • Wendy Polisi

      Hi Laura! This is not in the new print book. I THINK it is in the gluten free ebook but I just got a new iPad so I don't have it with me to check. (I'm traveling.) I will check on that and get back to you. Dropping gluten has made a world of difference for me – I encourage you to give it a try!

  • Sam Green

    This is one of my favorite recipes ever, it combines all of my favorite things! Making it for the second time tonight =)

    • Wendy Polisi

      YAY! So glad you liked it Sam.

  • Wendy Polisi

    It is great left over. Hope you enjoy!

  • Wendy Polisi

    YEAH! So glad you and your boys liked it! I know I'm in for it when my boys hit their teenage years…I'm pretty sure I'll be doubling everything.