Spicy Quinoa Revisited: Quinoa and Black Bean Bake with Mozz. and Avocado

by Jenn on May 10, 2009

in Gluten Free,Pastas and Grains,Vegetarian


This is a spin-off from this spicy quinoa recipe from a friend that I had tried out earlier.  However, I decided to tweak it just a bit.  I think the end result is quite nice.

I do occasionally alter and change recipes that I love, because I whole heartedly believe that the only way you improve in your own cooking ability is by creating new things.  And besides, I feel so much more happy with a recipe once I have made it my own…call it a pride thing haha.

The main changes that I made here were a lot more beans, and I ended up baking the dish in my cast iron skillet.  I think this really helped the flavor develop.  There are a lot of great vibrant flavors in this dish, and I think baking allowed them to really come together a bit.  I also topped it with fresh mozz and avocado. So nothing drastic, just dressed up the dish a bit.

So here is my new version of spicy quinoa/black beans!


1 cup dry black beans, soaked overnight and rinsed (so much more than 1 cup once soaked)
Edited Note – you may want to precook the beans a bit or use canned beans instead.
1 tsp canola
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
3 dried red chiles
1 green bell peppers, diced
1 c quinoa, cooked
1/2 c veggie broth, plus a little extra
1 cup corn
1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
3/4 tsp cumin
2 tbs. chili powder
salt & pepper
fresh cilantro
1 avocado, sliced
4 oz. fresh mozz., sliced

1.  In 12″ cast iron skillet (it will just barely not fit in the 10″), heat up oil, and saute onion, garlic, chiles.
2. Once onions are soft, add in bell peppers, beans, and can of tomatoes (with the juice) along with the broth.  Let simmer a little bit (med to med-low) to help soften the beans some (around 15 min).
3. Add in quinoa, corn, and seasonings, cook stirring so that nothing sticks/burns on the bottom.
4. Bake in oven at 350F for about half an hour (it will start to smell nice).  Check it every 10-15 min or so, and give it a stir just to see how it is doing.
5.  Serve, and immediately top with mozz. , cilantro and avocado.  Since it’s hot, the mozz. should melt right away.  Alternatively, you could bake the mozz right on top once the dish is almost done.


Some people like cheddar with such mex. inspired dishes.  I actually am really a fan of mozzarella with these flavors.  Maybe because it is such a mild cheese and let’s all the other flavors come out, I’m not sure.  If you like cheddar and think I’m nuts for using mozz., that’s fine by me, go ahead and substitute in the cheddar :)