Thursday, September 17, 2009

Recipe thuRsday: Quinoa and Black Beans

This dish came about as part of a quest to cut down on our grocery costs and eat a bit healthier. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) and beans are both very high in protein, so this can serve as a main meal as it is filling. If you've never eaten/bought/heard of quinoa, you are in for a treat! It has a very unique, almost crunchy texture with a slight nutty flavor. It's a grain that has been around for thousand of years and originates from South America. Besides being high in protein, quinoa also contains several different amino acids making it a complete protein (very unusual for a grain). It is gluten-free and easy to digest and was one of Sybilla's first foods! Most quinoa sold in North America is pre-washed, so you don't have to worry about the bitter saponins that naturally coat the grains. I find it at my local grocery store in the rice aisle near the cous cous. It retails for about $4-$6 and has many uses!

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Quinoa and Black Beans
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 an onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced (we prefer red but other colors work great too)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (add more if you want, but that's usually plenty!)
S&P to taste
1 15oz can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 bag of frozen corn (optional)

1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat and saute the onions and bell peppers for about 3 minutes. Throw in the garlic and saute all of it for about another minute.
2. Add the quinoa grains and move them around a bit in the pan before adding the broth and spices. This will allow the grains to toast ever so slightly, opening up the flavors.
3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Prepare the other parts of your dinner as needed.
4. Add in the black beans (and corn if you're using it) and continue to cook for about 3-5 minutes.
5. Remove from heat and toss in the cilantro. Move to serving dish and enjoy!

All told, it takes about 10 minutes to chop and prep everything and then 30 minutes total to cook. If you're like me and do your grocery shopping on the weekend, you can prechop and measure everything ahead of time to save you the prep time during the week. This dish also makes quite a few servings, as it's so filling. I'd say anywhere from 6-10 depending on how much you serve or whether it's playing the lead or supporting actor.

Bon apetit!

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