spicy mexican quinoa casserole

Hellooo chickpeazzz. These past few weeks have been super busy for me (and the restaurant I have been working at). Double serving shifts almost everyday can tire someone (like me) real quick. Pretty soon I will be moving to NYC to start my first job in nutrition! I am very excited and plan to blog about my teaching experiences and newly acquired knowledge and observations from working in various communities once I begin in September. I hope to also include more nutritional insight in my posts once I begin, as well as observations about changes that need to be made in our local food systems.

Anyways, I have finally had some more time to cook again and get creative! When I made this casserole I was in a super lazy mood and was very happy about the easy process and delicious outcome. My boyfriend and roommate were even able to handle the spice (previously I would make things a tad too spicy for their little tastebuds so I have trying to be a little bit better and not have them rush to the fridge for a gallon of milk….immediately). What is also great about this recipe is that you do not even have to cook the quinoa, as it is baked in the oven with the addition of water. The cashew cheeze came out surprisingly well (this is my first time making vegan cheeze) and enjoyed the consistency, as well as the flavor.

I was also very surprised at how much I liked the addition of the butternut squash. As a child, I hated squash soup and never attempted to eat squash until recently. The butternut squash was tender and slightly meaty, the flavor not overwhelming the casserole as a whole and added a nice textural component to the dish. I plan on experimenting more with butternut in the future.

Spicy Mexican Quinoa Casserole Recipe (adapted from Vegan Richa):

Serves 4-6


Quinoa Casserole:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup onion, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 large tomato, sliced thin
  • 1 15-oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 cup sliced butternut squash, 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup canned or frozen corn
  • 2 tbsp sliced pickled jalapeño

Cashew Cheeze Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp chickpea “miso” (liquid drained from chickpea can)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder
  • Handful or two of cashews (depending on your thickness preference)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Spray oil on a 9×7 inch baking dish and place a layer of sliced onions, followed by the sprinkling of the 5 listed spices, evenly.
  3. Add a layer of tomato, followed by the black beans, adobo sauce, quinoa, salt and paprika.
  4. Layer butternut squash on top, drizzled with oil and salt, and cover it with tinfoil/
  5. Bake for 40 minutes, or until squash is tender. (Mine was ready at about 30 minutes).
  6. While casserole is baking, prepare the cheeze sauce by blending together all the ingredients and adjust for taste and thickness (if too watery add flour, starch or cashews. I added cashews until I was pleased with the thickness).
  7. Remove casserole from the oven and add the cheeze sauce, after removing the tinfoil.
  8. Spread corn and jalapeño on top of the cheeze sauce and bake for 5 minutes at 400 F, and then broil it for 2 minutes, or until cheeze browns slightly and begins to bubble.





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