This tasty and satisfying Mexican-inspired family favorite registers high on the cozy scale and comes together in a single skillet.
I especially like to serve this dish soaked in salsa with generous blobs of guacamole, but there are plenty of options.
Turn up the heat or take it down as you like and sub whatever ingredients you have on hand; lots of possibilities.
Here are the ingredient basics with plenty of wiggle room:
Quinoa — I typically buy quinoa in a 4 lb bag and prep it in the rice cooker. For this recipe, you won’t even have to make it ahead. The quinoa gets cooked right in the tomato/salsa mixture as it absorbs the juices and locks in the spices. Rice is probably the easiest sub but cooking times/fluid ratios may vary depending on rice/grain used.
Beans — I like black beans in this recipe but sub whatever you have on hand — pinto, cannellini, kidney, peruano (Peruvian beans), etc.
Frozen Corn — I recently bought some frozen roasted corn at Trader Joe’s (they seem to be restocking well and moderating shopper volume to create safest possible environment) the roasted flavors work really well in this recipe but any frozen corn will do and if you’re having trouble finding corn, see if you can sub frozen edamame (beans). You can also skip the corn altogether and use 2 bell peppers instead of the 1 in this recipe.
Canned Tomatoes – I’m using diced fire-roasted tomatoes but any variety works (crushed, pureed, etc) and they don’t have to be roasted.
Salsa — the salsa adds wonderful flavor, is a perfect complement to the acidity of the tomatoes and helps keep the added spices simple; any salsa works!
Bell Pepper — I’m using red (nice sweetness and chock full of vit C) but any variety (color) of sweet bell pepper is great.
Onion & Garlic — onion and garlic, the basis of all good things. Also, humble though they may be, these phytonutrient rich alliums pack a serious health punch operating as antioxidants in our bodies.
Jalapeño — seeded jalapeno adds some heat to this dish but on a relative scale, is quite mild; that said, if heat is not your thing, just omit the jalapeno; you could also use a sprinkle of red chili pepper flakes as an easy sub.
Spices — for simplicity I’m using mostly chili powder.
The Toppings and Mix-ins — extra salsa makes this mixture so tasty and juicy; guacamole or simply chopped avo on top; sliced and seeded kalamata olives are delish; yogurt/cheese (plant-based as desired); chopped cilantro; lime wedges, etc.
- 1 medium red onion, small dice
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed salted and chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, small dice
- 1 cup (130 g) frozen corn niblets (roasted if you can find)
- 1 can (15 oz / 425 g) black beans, drained and rinsed
- scant ¾ cup (100 g) uncooked quinoa
- 1 can (14.5 oz/ 411 g) diced & fire roasted tomatoes (or canned tomatoes of choice)
- 1 cup (250 g) or more salsa of choice
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp sea salt or to taste
- Options for topping: chopped cilantro, avo, yogurt, cheese, etc.
- Sauté onion and garlic in a large skillet (that has lid) over low-medium heat with some olive oil (about 2 Tbsp) until translucent. Sprinkle the mixture with chili, cumin and some of the sea salt as it cooks.
- Add frozen corn, chopped sweet bell pepper, jalapeno pepper (if using) and ½ cup of water, stirring to combine.
- Add rinsed and drained beans, quinoa, canned tomatoes, generous ½ cup salsa, remaining salt and 1 cup of water, stirring to combine.
- Bring to a gentle boil and then lower to simmer and cover with lid.
- Allow quinoa to cook for about 20 minutes, stirring now and then, until the quinoa has softened and expanded (most of the liquid will have absorbed).
- Taste and make any flavor adjustments, heat, salt, etc.
- I like to mix in the remaining salsa and sometimes add more for service. Top as desired with guacamole or simply chopped avo; sliced and seeded kalamata olives; yogurt/cheese (plant-based as desired); chopped cilantro; lime wedges, etc.
resting in that soft spot between grief and gratitude for all that has been lost and all that is being born. Amidst the pain and gravity of the situation, so many acts of generosity, love and kindness and opportunities to reconsider and rebuild, x. love to all