Kitchen Creations

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The world's most perfect grain

I didn't even know what quinoa was before I met my husband, the botanist.  I went to a party with him with his graduate school buddies, all botanists.  Let me tell you, there was some incredible food and all of it was botanically interesting!  His professor made quinoa and black beans.  It was so simple and delicious!  I learned a great deal about the "perfect grain" that day.  For starters it's not a true grain, but a chenopod, from the family chenopodiodeae which includes herbs and shrubs and is closely related to species like beets & spinach.  The best part of what I learned is that quinoa is an excellent source of both protein, containing essential amino acids, and dietary fiber!  Really important when trying to be "mostly meatless" and prepare balanced meals!
I love toasting my quinoa a bit before cooking it.  It gives it an extra nutty flavor. 

Enjoy this "super grain" that's not really a grain tonight with your family!

Quinoa & Black Bean Casserole 
Serves 6
Quinoa grains (about 1 cup) - I like using the red quinoa
Black beans (1 can or equivalent if doing dry beans)
1/2 cup corn
½ cup salsa (any kind you like)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 Anaheim or Poblano chili, roasted
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. hot sauce (my current favorite it Bufalo Salsa Chipotle)
1/2 - 3/4 cup Cheese (Cheddar or Monterrey/Pepper Jack); shredded
Tortillas or Tortilla chips

Cook quinoa to package directions (I toast it in olive oil for a few minutes to give it a nuttier flavor before boiling it in water).

Toasting the quinoa

quinoa after it is boiled

Split and seed the chili pepper and lay face down on a baking sheet.  Roast at 475 degrees until skin is blackened (about 4 minutes). Then chop roasted pepper.

Roasted chili adds fantastic flavor

Saute onions & garlic in olive oil until tender.
Mix together sautéed vegetables, cooked quinoa, beans and corn, salsa, cilantro, roasted pepper, cumin & hot sauce.
Pour into baking dish.

Ready for the oven!

Sprinkle top of mixture with shredded cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melty and bubbly, about 15-20 minutes.
Serve with tortilla chips or warm tortillas and salsa & sour cream to taste

Click here for printable recipe

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