(Black bean and quinoa salad, recipe in post)
Delicious, nutritious, vegan, and ready in about thirty minutes? Check, check, and check. Oh, and did I mention it can all be done in one pan? What more could you ask for!
But it isn't all those things that make this dish so super... it's how it makes you feel. I swear, if I ate more beans, grains, and veggies, I might just develop super powers. Somebody, quick, get me some spandex and a phone booth!
That's why I'm calling this dish UberMunch. Of course, it kind of falls into a category of similar dishes, including soups and lentils, but somehow this seriously hit the spot. I love that my body craves what it needs just as much as what it wants - but what a bonus when they're one and the same!
If you aren't familiar with quinoa, be prepared to have your mind blown. On the surface it's nothing special, just a grain that can be used in similar applications as bulgur, couscous, or even rice. It's flavor is mild, and slightly nutty on its own, but makes a great base for other flavors. So why did ancient civilizations call it the 'mother of all grains'?
It's packed full of energy, that's why! While its calorie content is comparable to that of bulgur wheat, it contains more fat and protein, and is a good source of iron and magnesium, among other vitamins minerals. Plus, its protein is of such high quality as to be considered a complete protein - something rarely found in plant material.
And, as an added bonus, it can be soaked for 2-4 hours to soften and spout, and thus be used as a great addition to a raw diet. (See my post on sprouted quinoa here.)
Okay, that's enough gushing. On to the dish!
Black Beans and Quinoa
(aka, UberMunch - makes enough to be tomorrow's UberLunch)
3 cups cooked black beans (about two 15oz cans) - or other beans, if you prefer
3/4 cup quinoa, dry/uncooked
1 large onion, fine/medium chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups corn, fresh or frozen
1 cup zucchini (one large, or two small), fine/medium chopped
1.5 cups vegetable broth
1.5 tsp. Cumin
1/8th - 1/4 tsp. Cayenne
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 TBSP olive oil
Optional: 1 handful of fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, zucchini, and garlic, and sautee for 3-4 minutes to develop some color.
Add spices, a pinch of salt and pepper, and the quinoa, and stir until slightly toasted and aromatic - about one minute.
Pour in the vegetable broth, stir, and increase heat slightly to bring to a boil. Once bubbling, cover and reduce heat to low and let simmer about 20 minutes.
Remove lid, and stir in corn and beans. Add in the parsley or cilantro, adjust seasonings, and serve as a side or main course.
Of course, if it were still summer, one might consider adding fresh tomatoes, or bell pepper, for a splash of color. Use whatever's fresh to spruce this dish up and make it seasonal. Even roasted squash would make a lovely fall addition!
I'm off to try out my new super powers - Ciao (chow)!