Recipe: Tex Mex Black Bean Quinoa Salad

A few of you guys have mentioned that you wanted to see more slow-cooker, easy throw-in-a-pot type recipes.  Your wish is my command!  :)  When I was updating my recipe page a few days ago, I realized I had been making a lot of bulgur and rice these days, and I had been ignoring some of my other favorite grains.  Never one to show favoritism, I made sure to stock up at the bulk bins at Earth Fare this weekend.  The grain for tonight – QUINOA!

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For those of you who haven’t tried this before, you are in for a real treat.  Quinoa is always lumped in with grains, but technically it’s not a grain – it’s a pseudocereal.  We won’t get into all that.  Unlike the other grains though, quinoa is the only one (except for amaranth, which is really hard to find), that is a complete protein all by itself!  As you can see, this is very exciting for us vegetarians, as protein sources can be hard to find, and very repetitive.  Nutritionally, it’s hard to beat this awesome little crunch ball, and I plan to start using it a lot more these days now that my stash has been replenished.

So lets get to the cooking.  I made this salad in my rice cooker, but I am sure it would be done just as easily in a slow-cooker or even on low heat on the stovetop.  The only preparation needed is opening cans and dumping into a bowl.  This is definitely a recipe that benefits from good frozen foods!

Tex Mex Black Bean Quinoa Salad

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water (or broth)
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup diced peppers (I used frozen)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • salt and pepper

To Prepare:  First thing you have to do is rinse the quinoa – the outer shell has a bitterness to it that can be removed with a quick rinse in some cold water.  Rinse and drain through a mesh strainer, and add to rice cooker (or slow cooker).  Then add quinoa to the rice cooker or slow cooker, and pour in the rest of the ingredients.

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I used some of my awesome Trader Joe’s favorite frozen items to make this process even speedier.  Instead of mincing garlic, I use these frozen garlic cubes – they are a lifesaver!  They also come in cilantro and basil – yum. 

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Once all the ingredients are in, give a quick stir, close, and cook!  I did this on the regular rice cooker setting, and it took about 50 minutes.

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When everything is cooked and ready, fluff with a fork and season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy!  I thought this salad was really good.  Casey pointed out that it kind of tasted like a more solidified form of CHILI – yum! 

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We had our quinoa with a side of tofu (double protein!) that I cooked in a coconut milk and lime juice marinade, mmmmm…

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And for our veggie sides we had slow roasted eggplant, so mushy and perfect…

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And oven roasted broccoli!  I did these at
a higher temperature than usual – 425F –and left them in almost 35 minutes.  By the end, they were so cooked through that they sort of tasted like kale chips – airy and completely roasted – soooo good!

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I spy a hungry dog lurking in the background…

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Off to a looooooooong day of dining room service, followed by serving at an evening food and wine pairing event.  Tonight’s post will be a late one – sorry!

Don’t forget – today is the LAST DAY to enter the Chobani giveaway!  Winner announced tomorrow morning!  Have a great day.  :)