Quinoa and Black Beans

This is a great dish to feed a crowd. I created it when we had old friends visiting who had just begun a Vegan diet. I needed something tasty, easy and not too time-consuming (I wanted to sit and talk). While we topped it with plain Greek yogurt, our friends enjoyed it plain alongside Vegan Apple Butternut Muffins with Sprouted Spelt.
Quinoa is very high in protein and with black beans (a superfood), this dish is perfectly nutritious and filling for a meatless supper. Of course, if you are so inclined it would be easy to top this with leftover roast chicken or to modify the recipe to include meat. No matter your preference, this dish is worth a try!

Ingredients
2 cups quinoa
2 15 oz. cans black beans*
2 15 oz.cans chopped tomatoes*
1 yellow bell pepper
1 small red onion
1 stalk celery with leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 3 tablespoons hot sauce (I prefer Cholula)
2 tàblespoons chili seasoning**
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Sea salt and pepper to taste
*check to make sure that your cans are BPA Free before purchasing, Eden Organics and Trader Joes are both recommended
**I have used Trader Joe’s taco seasoning for this recipe, as it contains only real spices with no msg or fillers. Alternatively, you could use 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder.

Place quinoa in a bowl and cover with 3 1/2 cups filtered water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or plain yogurt if non-vegan). Allow to sit for 4 hours. (This step is for the health benefits of soaking and can be skipped if pressed for time.)

After the quinoa has soaked, chop the onion, celery, and bell pepper in a small uniform dice and add to a large stock pot with the olive oil, salt liberally. Cover vegetables and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until tender. When vegetables have cooked add the black beans (drained and rinsed), tomatoes (with juice), the hot sauce and the quinoa with the soaking liquid (if you skipped the soaking step, add the quinoa with 3 1/2 cups water). Stir well and allow to simmer covered for ten minutes. Finally, add your chili seasoning and brown sugar and allow to continue cooking until most of the liquid is absorbed (about 15 more minutes). Quinoa is cooked when it is slightly translucent and a small “tail” is visible. Top with yogurt and enjoy!

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