Southwestern Quinoa Skillet featuring Andrew Dalgarno

Southwestern Quinoa Skillet featuring Andrew Dalgarno

Quinoa has been the hype for some time, it seemed like it just exploded into the health food scene and is here to stay. I honestly had never heard of quinoa before or even knew what it looked like. Quinoa is a great super food substitute for any grain, but the best part about quinoa is that it takes on whatever flavor is mixed with it. It is easily and simply added to many dishes and of those my favorite tend to be one skillet meals like this one. Manitoba farmer Andrew Dalgarno joins us to talk farming and just how much the farm has changed since his grandfather farmed. 

Newdale, Manitoba, Canada 

When did you start farming? What brought you into farming?

Not counting m working on the family farm as a child/teen, I began farming in 2001 at 25yrs when I was able to purchase land from a neighbour that was changing careers.

Who farms with you and what are their roles?

I farm with my parents, Bruce & Carol, and my wife Tanya. Our 2 boys (age 6 + 7) are enjoying their time on the farm, but it’s too early to say whether they will choose this path or not. My sister, Karen, also helps out during harvest running a combine on evenings/weekends.


What has been the hardest part of farming for you?

Field scouting. There are so many things to watch out for – disease, weeds, plant counts, etc. Not having any training in Ag has made this part challenging.

What has been the most satisfying part of farming for you?

The growing season! Planting/seeding crops, watching them grow, harvesting them in the fall.

What crops (or animals) do you grow and why?

Currently we are growing: Wheat (Red Spring, Canadian Prairie Spring, Winter), Oats, Canola, Soybeans, Quinoa, Peas.

In the past, we have also grown: Corn, Lentils, Flax, Barley, Sunflowers, Fava Beans.

red, white and black quinoa

What do you think was the most useful advance in farming such as machinery, genetics, chemicals, etc.?

In my grandfather’s farming career, mechanization was huge. Tractors, combines, swathers replacing horses. Also, the beginning of synthetic fertilizers allowed him to replace nutrients that were being drawn out of the ground.

In my father’s time, chemical weed control options increased greatly. He also saw a huge decrease in tillage and adoption of zero-til and minimum-til practices.

In my time, the use of precision farming through GPS provided us with autosteer (reduced tiredness at the end of day), sectional control (reduced overlap -> reduced unneeded inputs), yield maps (better planning of inputs, varieties, etc and ability to more easily do on-farm trials).

You can find more from Andrew over on Twitter


This Southwestern Quinoa Skillet is simple, but it packs the flavor. I was pleasantly surprised at how GOOD this really was! And the best part is that it comes together in about 30 minutes. Perfect weeknight meal! 

Southwestern Quinoa Skillet
Serves 4
southwestern style quinoa one pan skillet meal in 30 minutes
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  2. 1 recipe of sofrito (see below)
  3. 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
  4. 1 cup water or chicken broth
  5. 2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  6. 1/2 (15 ounce can) black beans
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  8. 1/2 cup cheddar cheese
  9. Sofrito Recipe
  10. 1 carrot, chopped
  11. 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  12. 1 medium onion, chopped
  13. 3 cloves garlic
  14. 1 medium tomato (or 1/2 15 ounce can) diced tomatoes
  15. 1 tablespoon cilantro
  1. Sofrito
  2. To make the sofrito, add all ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse until minced. Set aside.
  3. Skillet
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add the oil to the pan. Once hot, add the sofrito and saute 1-2 minutes or until softened. Add the quinoa and the water or chicken broth.
  5. Add the shredded chicken and black beans. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is fully cooked and softened.
  7. Add the cheddar cheese over the top, cover again for 4-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
  8. Garnish with your favorite toppings such as sour cream, cilantro, salsa, etc.
  9. Serve and enjoy!
  1. Note: You can sub any sort of meat into this dish and it would be lovely!
Prairie Californian
This post is part of my Thirty Days of Food series where I am writing about food and farming for the entire month of November, to find out more about it all or how to follow along, visit my Thirty Days of Food page to find more great recipes with farmer features!

1 Comment

  1. Erin W.
    November 9, 2016 / 7:00 pm

    This sounds delish!