Saturday, January 22, 2011

Quinoa and Black Beans

A friend of mine posted a link to this recipe on her Facebook page saying how good it was. After reading the name of it I was intrigued. I didn't even know how to pronounce it let alone know what it was!

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a grain that comes from the Andes Mountains of South America. Quinoa's origins are truly ancient. It was one of the three staple foods, along with corn and potatoes, of the Inca civilization. The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. It also contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2 percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice, 9.9 percent for millet, and 14 percent for wheat. Some varieties of quinoa are more than 20 percent protein.

Sounds healthy, right? So I wanted to cook it and see if it tasted any good!

The results? I loved it! It was full of flavor and reminded me of my favorite pre-packaged Cuban black beans and rice that I've made several times only this dish is a lot healthier. I ate it as my main course but it would be a great side dish as well. It was very easy to make. In fact, the hardest part is finding quinoa in the grocery store. After several minutes of looking, and 2 aisles later, I found a little container of it across from the pasta section in Meijer. For you locals, I heard that Kroger sells it also.

You can add many other things to this dish if you like. I enjoyed my quinoa with some fresh lime squeezed on top. My husband added ham and a sunny-side up egg to his.

Thanks Cyndi for this great find! I will definitely make this dish again!

Quinoa and Black Beans

1 t. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 c. uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 c. vegetable broth
1 t. ground cumin
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 c. frozen corn kernels
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro (I left this out because I didn't have any.)

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.

Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

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