Saturday, July 28, 2012

Easy Quinoa and Beans with Garden Vegetables

I think there is very little I love more that having someone ask for my recipe.  My very sweet friend, Jenn, asked me for this quick and easy meal that I posted on Instagram and I hope she is not dissapointed.  Part of what caused me to make this meal is that lately I've really  been focusing on whole foods.  Though I've always included whole grains and veggies with every meal they still were not what they could be.  So I've been gradually changing the look of our pantry and our meals.  When processed foods run out I try to find a replacement that is made with healthier ingredients and that I can make myself from scratch.  What I'm discovering through the process is that it doesn't take as much time and effort as I thought.  Especially, when it's done gradually so, you only have to research one change or try one recipe a week if you want to.  For me it makes it more about fun and discovery while making baby steps toward better nutrition rather than a huge pressure filled "life change."
IMHO there is almost no meal out there that is more budget friendly and nutritious than beans and rice. Though I was aware of it I had never made it thinking it would be bland.  Recently I decided to try it and found out it really could be so tasty and was a big hit with the fam!  Like everything it's all about the ingredients and seasonings you choose.  So, this recipe can of course be made with rice but, in this case I used Quinoa. Quinoa is an ancient grain which has more fiber and protein than rice but, it's also significantly more expensive.  For example, the Quinoa I bought at Sam's Club was a 2 lb bag for about the same price as a 10 lb bag of rice. What I really like about Quinoa is that it cooks in about 15 minutes as compared to 50 minutes for brown rice.  So, when making lunch I don't usually plan ahead and this Quinoa and Beans is a great quick, delicous and totally nutritious meal for Ogglet #1 and I.  If for you 20 minutes is too long for a lunchtime meal than try this for dinner instead.

Quinoa and Beans with Garden Vegetables

1 cup of Quinoa uncooked
1 cup Beef, Chicken or Vegetable Stock
2 tbsp Olive Oil (or coconut oil)
1 Bell Pepper
5 green onions (one medium onion will work too)
1 Tomato
1 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1 14 oz can beans rinsed and drained (I prefer black beans for the superior nutrition but, used Pinto Beans the day the picture was taken because I was out of bb)
Red pepper flakes
1 Bunch of Kale
small bunch of fresh Cilantro

First start the Quinoa (or rice) cooking per the instructions on the container but, replace the water with broth.
While that is cooking, chop your Pepper, Onions and Tomatoes.
Add half the olive oil to a large pan then saute the Pepper and Onions at medium high heat until softened. Next, add in the garlic and stirring frequently on medium or lower heat saute for about a minute or two being careful not to burn.  Now add in the Tomatoes stirring for a few minutes then add in the beans.  Now you can season to taste with Salt, Pepper and red pepper flakes.  While this is still cooking at a medium-low temperature rinse your Kale and remove the stains and main vein from each leaf.  Now take what remains and add to your pan.  I mix this turning over and over to get all ingredients and flavors mixed with the Kale.  It also helps to wilt the Kale faster.  Keep in mind that wilting kale does take a bit longer than spinach.  Now, your Quinoa should be done, you can combine with the bean and veggie mix. The last thing I do is add in the cilantro leaves because I love the fresh flavor and color and they wilt so easily when cooked too long.  Now add more seasoning if needed and enjoy!

This is such a quick easy meal to make and serve with a seasonal fruit on the side.  I really hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does!

Have you ever eaten beans and rice before?  Really the possibilities are endless with the veggies you add in so, it's a great recipe to make any time throughout the year.   If you do make it I would love to hear your variation!  

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