Friday, February 26, 2010

Quinoa with Black Beans and Cilantro

With a stronger focus on cleaner eating, I've been challenging myself to try new foods- lentils, barley, and quinoa to start. This is my first recipe using quinoa.
You're probably thinking- "What is Quinoa?". (Believe me- I thought the same thing too.) Pronounced "KEEN-wah", quinoa is a grain that has a high protein content, is a good source of dietary fiber, and is gluten-free so it's considered easy to digest. When cooked, it has a light, fluffy texture (it resembles couscous) and a slightly mild nutty flavor. You can find this in the bulk bins at Whole Foods ($1.69/lb). I love that I can treat it like rice- but with all the nutritional value quinoa brings! One valuable tip: make sure to rinse the quinoa well, as it has a bitter taste if not rinsed. My DB, who doesn't like beans, loved this dish. I would definitely use a stock or broth to cook the quinoa- otherwise, I think it would have been too bland. We thought it had a lot of flavor, and we loved all the vegetables added to this. The flavors really reminded me of Chipotle. A fairly quick, healthy, tasty side dish that packs a protein punch. Don't skip the cilantro or cheese- it would be too bland without them, and really makes the dish.

Here is what quinoa looks like before being cooked...

Quinoa with Black Beans and Cilantro
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 cups chopped red onions (Yellow onions are fine)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well, drained
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt (Omit salt if stock has salt in it)
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
Crumbled Cotija cheese or feta cheese
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 lime, juiced (optional)

1. Heat oil in medium sautepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, and red pepper; sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.
2. While the vegetables are cooking, in a separate heavy saucepan, stir in next 5 ingredients (quinoa through stock). Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until quinoa is almost tender, about 14 minutes.
3. Add the sauteed vegetables, beans and 1/4 cup cilantro; cook uncovered until heated through and liquid is fully absorbed, about 3 minutes.
4. Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cilantro, cheese, and chopped tomatoes.
5. Sprinkle with lime juice to top.

Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit


Rachel said...

I love Quinoa! I was introduced to it by mom when she went gluten free a few years ago. It is a great addition to my pantry! I have a few ways of preparing it, but this looks tasty, so I'll give it a shot!

Sara said...

Hey Rachel! Yes, I have always been intimidated by it, but I am glad I finally tried it. I loved it, and can't wait to make more recipes!

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