Rice and beans would be in our fridge ready to go for burritos every night if Keith did all our cooking. It’s his favorite go-to dinner. But I’m trying to slim down and eating copious amounts of rice won’t help my efforts. We’re trying to incorporate a larger variety of fresh foods and vegetables into our diets. Our more than once per week rice and beans nights are now less frequent and more of a treat meal. Last night, on Keith’s suggestion, I made it even healthier by using quinoa instead of rice.
Quinoa is a great addition to a vegetarian and gluten free lifestyle. It’s a perfect source of protein because it contains “essential amino acids, which are found in meat, dairy products, and eggs, as well as many plant-based foods, such as quinoa“. By choosing to consume quinoa over more processed foods, we’re also adding the benefits of a whole grain to our diet. Quinoa is one of many whole grains, which are defined as follows:
“Whole grains are grains that contain the entire seed kernel, including the bran, the germ, and the endosperm. The bran is the protective outer shell of the kernel, and contains fiber, some B vitamins, and small amounts of minerals. The germ is the nutrient-rich portion of the grain that provides nourishment for the seed. It contains B vitamins, vitamin E, and phytochemicals. The endosperm is the starchy portion of the grain that contains carbohydrate and protein. When we consume whole grains or products made with whole grains, we benefit from the nutrients provided by all parts of the grain. When a grain is milled or refined, such as in the case of polished white rice, it is stripped of the bran and germ, leaving only the carbohydrate-rich endosperm.”
With the right combination of spices, quinoa becomes a super versatile food. Use it to make savory dishes like the one outlines below, or use it to make hot cereal in the morning by cooking it on the stove with the same spices you’d use to make oatmeal.
If you haven’t cooked with quinoa before, it’s cooked in a similar fashion to rice. Another added bonus that it has over rice, is that quinoa cooks way faster than brown rice. I hope you enjoy this healthy treat meal as much as we do!
Quinoa and Beans
- 1 and 1/2 cup quinoa
- 3 cups water
- 1 can black beans, or 1 cup cooked black beans (canned goods aren’t the healthiest way to eat, fresh is always best)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 pinch of pepper
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- Place pot on medium, low heat, and add extra virgin olive oil.
- Finely chop garlic, add to oil and sautée until aromatic.
- Add to the pot salt, pepper, tumeric, coriander, paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper, stir and continue to sautée on low heat.
- Add quinoa to pot on low heat and toast with garlic and spices, stirring constantly for about 2-4 minutes (keep an eye on your quinoa, it can burn at this stage).
- Add water to pot, stir.
- Rinse and drain beans.
- Add beans to the pot, stir.
- Cover, and increase heat to high until water boils.
- Reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally for 10-15 minutes.
- Quinoa and Beans are ready when all the water is absorbed.
We love to scoop this onto small corn tortillas for tacos, or into large tortillas for burritos. Add in some avocado, tomato, hot sauce, and cheese or nutritional yeast for a fiesta in your mouth!