Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Food that Rocks

I have been wanting to cook with this for a long time:

Quinoa (keen-wa)

I believe it originates in the highlands of Bolivia (or therabouts). The Inca called it the "Mother grain". It is the only vegetable source which is a complete protein (i.e. all the essential amino acids). It is loaded with protein and fiber. It is the perfect food. It cooks a lot like rice and you can find it in the grain section of your grocery store, but if you have one of those health food stores that sells in bulk, it is cheaper that way. I buy the regular kind and a red heirloom variety--I like to mix them.

I finally just bought some and then made myself find something to do with it. I found this fast, easy, delicious recipe on allrecipes.com and I am in love with it. We all love it, including both of the kids. I make it at least every 2 weeks and it makes enough for a couple meals.

Without further ado...

Quinoa and Black Beans


1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped (I use more, we love garlic)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth (I use chicken broth)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I use a little less so it is not too spicy for the tots)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels (I run them under warm water to thaw)
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (cut just before adding)

I also add the juice from 1-2 limes with the cilantro--I am crazy like that (and it goes well with the other flavors).


1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.

2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan, mix with onion/garlic and add broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

3. Stir corn and black beans into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the and cilantro (and lime juice).

It looks like this:

I like to serve it in a warm tortilla shell, loaded with diced avocado and shredded cabbage, drizzled with extra lime juice and sprinkled with salt. You could add other "taco" toppings too (tomato, cheese, sour cream). My husband adds other stuff, but I don't like to overpower the mix itself. Or you could do something completely different with it--serve it as a side dish.

It is so easy, it takes 30 minutes. It is light but filling and it just feels so healthy.

You'll come back and thank me after you try it.


Sara said...

Yum. Now, I'm wishing that Chile had canned black beans. I guess I can always soak overnight and all that.

I think soy is also a complete protein. If I remember anything from my horrendous nutrition class.

Danielle said...

I see a lot of recipes on blogs I look at, but I actually am considering making this one. I've been looking for a good recipe to use black beans in. Thanks :)
Thanks too for your nice comment. Ali love to send out e-mails with pics. (me too) It's been fun playing with my camera, but I have a lot to learn about it still.

mosey along said...

Definitely one of the favourite ingredients at our house. On nights when we're running really late, I also cook it in broth, and then mix in steamed kale and goat cheese. (I call it cheesy quinoa for my daughter!)

Will be trying your recipe!