Spicy Quinoa with Tomato and Black Beans

by Jenn on March 18, 2009

in Budget,Dairy Free,Gluten Free,Pastas and Grains,Vegetarian


Quinoa is the world’s magic grain, I am convinced.  Quinoa is naturally gluten free, and it is the ONLY grain to my knowledge that counts as a complete protein source.  A complete protein means one that has all eight essential amino acids.  It is also high in calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin E, and many B vitamins, as well as being super high in fiber.  Technically, quinoa isn’t really a grain.  It’s the seed from a S. American plant known as the Goosefoot plant (pic from Wikipedia):

Usually when I cook quinoa I treat it very similarly to rice or couscous, at least as far as what I cook with it.  It has been great in various soups, or a salad.  I’ve even made a pretty successful crust for quiche using quinoa, parm., and egg.

Well, always being eager to look for new recipes using quinoa, I learned that one of my coworkers, Marcy, uses quinoa a lot, and she shared with me some of her recipes.  Today I made one of her recipes, and am so excited that I am going to add this into our regular cooking repertoire, because it is so good!  She is vegetarian and went vegan for a while, and this recipe I think she and her fiance developed during their vegan days.  Either way, it doesn’t matter.  There is so much flavor in this dish you won’t be missing anythign!   It is a modified version of this quinoa and black bean recipe from allrecipes.com, and she agreed to let me share with you her culinary awesomeness in this adaptation that she has created:


Ingredients (makes 5 servings):
1 tsp canola
1 onion, chopped
1-2 bell peppers (usually about 1 red and 1/2 green, but whatever you have or is cheap), diced
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 c quinoa
1/2 c veggie broth, plus a little extra
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
3/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp cajun spice mix (from this:  http://www.recipesource.com/side-dishes/condiments/cajun-spice-mix.html cut down to a much smaller batch)
salt & pepper
1 cup corn
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1.Heat the oil, onion, peppers, and garlic in a 4-quart saucepan until the veggies are just starting to get soft
2. Stir in quinoa, broth, tomatoes, spices, a seasoning.  For a little extra flavor, you can add enough bullion to make an extra cup of broth (just without the extra water), if you made the broth from bullion.  Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer 20 mins.
3. Add corn and black beans.  Cook 5 mins, or until heated through.  Garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!


Ok, I’ll admit my “garnish” is a bit extreme….but I LOVE cilantro!!

Also, this meal was super cheap to make.  It came out to under $1.50 per serving!