Quinoa with Tomatoes and Cheese

Quinoa served with a sauce of fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, and fresh farmer's cheese is a nutritious and delicious.

Quinoa with Tomatoes and Cheese
Elise Bauer

While quinoa became popular in North America only recently, in South America where it's from, this grain-like seed has been cultivated for thousands of years.

When it comes to cooking quinoa, and all of the delicious ways it can be used, we have a lot of catching up to do!

Quinoa is high in protein and completely gluten-free. You can make a pilaf with it, or use it for stuffing, or just eat it plain.

I stumbled upon a recipe for "Quinoa con Queso", or quinoa with fresh farmers cheese, in Culinaria: The United States: A Culinary Discovery, and have since found many other variations online.

As I played around and experimented with this recipe I had two revelations. The first is that quinoa tastes great with milk poured over it. Which is why it works great as a breakfast cereal.

The second revelation is quinoa tastes great with cheese (queso)!

Quinoa with Tomatoes and Cheese
Quinoa with Tomatoes, Cheese, and Poblano Chiles. Elise Bauer

Here we are using queso fresco, a Mexican fresh farmers cheese, but you could also use Cotija, feta, or mozzarella.

You can keep it simple with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cheese, or dress it up with zucchini, roasted chiles, or potatoes.

Quinoa with Tomatoes and Cheese

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 3 to 4 servings

If you want, you can add more vegetables up front to this dish, for example, sauté some chopped zucchini along with the onions. And/or serve with new potatoes, either chopped and mixed in (cooked of course), or served alongside.


  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1 cup chopped onions

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

  • 1 large fresh tomato, cored, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)

  • 1 roasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped large green chile, either Anaheim or Poblano (optional) (See How to roast chile peppers over a gas flame)

  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1/2 teaspoon fresh, finely chopped)

  • 1/4 pound (4 ounces) fresh farmer's cheese, or queso fresco, cut into small cubes

  • 1 cup milk

  • Fresh basil, cilantro, or chives for garnish (optional)


  1. Cook the quinoa:

    Put 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups of water into a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

  2. Prepare the sauce:

    While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat olive oil and butter in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a couple minutes. Add the garlic, cook for a minute more.

    Add the chopped tomato, about 1/2 teaspoon salt, dried oregano, and tomato paste. Add chopped green chiles (cooked) if using. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Stir until well combined.

    Let cook until the tomatoes have cooked through and the sauce has cooked down a bit. Then stir in the cheese. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.

  3. Stir in the milk and top with sauce:

    Stir 1 cup of milk into the now cooked quinoa. Serve the quinoa in bowls and top with sauce.

    Garnish with chopped basil, parsley, cilantro, or chives.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
265 Calories
15g Fat
24g Carbs
11g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 265
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 7g 33%
Cholesterol 30mg 10%
Sodium 356mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 26mg 131%
Calcium 277mg 21%
Iron 1mg 8%
Potassium 494mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.