Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cilantro-Lime Quinoa with Spicy Black Beans


I am so happy to share this recipe with you. When I recently challenged myself to introduce more vegetarian and/or vegan dishes into my diet, this is the first recipe I dreamed up.  I have a real thing for cilantro & lime... they have a real affinity for one another... just like chocolate & peanut butter, lemons & blueberries, coffee & chocolate... at least in my humble opinion.  I've made this meal twice now and this time around I included avocado. 

If I had to answer the question, "what is your favorite type of food?"... I would probably have to say "Mexican.
This dish combines my favorite things about Mexican cuisine.  To me, that is combinations of flavors and textures... hot and cold, creamy and crisp, fresh, vibrant... so many great food adjectives.  This dish includes earthy quinoa, spicy black beans, all topped with creamy avocado, crisp onion, and fresh tomatoes.  Cilantro is one of "those" ingredients... people either really LOVE it or HATE it. I hope you are a huge fan of cilantro, as am I, and I hope you are inspired to try out this recipe.  I would be tickled if you do and would love to hear what you think. Here's the recipe:  

1 cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained
1 3/4 cups water
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro (approx. 1/3 cup before chopped)
finely grated zest of one lime, approx. 2 tsp (Microplane graters work well) ***

2 cans black beans (15 oz. size), rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water
heaping 1/4 tsp garlic powder, dried oregano, ground cumin, & kosher salt
1/8 to 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper & crushed red pepper flakes

*** slice the reserved lime into wedges
2 medium sized tomatoes, diced
2 avocados, diced (drizzle with lime juice to prevent browning)
1/2 red onion, diced


In a medium sized pot, over high heat, bring 1 3/4 cups water to boil.  Add rinsed quinoa and a few pinches of salt.  Return to a boil, cover with a lid, reduce temperature to low, and simmer covered for 16 to 19 minutes (or cook quinoa according to package directions).  Note:  I live at high altitude, so your cooking time may be a bit less.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, chopped cilantro, and lime zest.  Stir well to combine and set aside.

Next, in another medium sized pot, combine the beans, water, and spices.  Bring to a boil over medium high heat, reduce temperature to lowest setting, cover with a lid, and allow to simmer while quinoa cooks.

Dice tomatoes, avocados, and red onion; place each in individual bowls.

When quinoa is finished cooking (all liquid is absorbed), fluff with a fork; drizzle olive oil mixture over the quinoa, and stir well to combine

Serve family style.  Each person can layer quinoa and black beans on plate or in a bowl, and top as desired with diced avocados, tomatoes, and red onion.  Pass lime wedges and drizzle fresh lime juice over each serving as desired.

I just have to tell you this... my husband LOVES this dish. He is a true "meat and potatoes" kind of guy. When I made this dish the first time, I made it for me.  He came into the kitchen and said he'd like to try what I was cooking.  He ate it and went back for seconds... and suggested I make it again. I just about fell on the floor.   As for our son.... he had pizza for dinner tonight. *sigh* 

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