Feel-Good Food: Quinoa Veggie Bowl

I’ve fallen in love with quinoa. I might be a little late to the game, but still, I’ve arrived. And I’m ready to play.

Does the name “quinoa” frighten you? Well, don’t be. Here are the basics: quinoa is a considered a whole grain but is actually a seed, its easy to cook, is a complete protein, and tastes great by itself. To translate: it’s filling, delicious, and you can make it in less than 15 minutes. It’s tiny and round and can be used in place of rice in things like burritos or stir frys. You can read more in this article.

I bought my quinoa in bulk from Whole Foods for about $3.69 a pound.

So, now that you have an idea of what quinoa is, what should you do with it?

Like I mentioned already, it’s easy to cook. I was inspired by Caitlin Boyle’s Veggie Bowl recipe, which you can find in her book, “Healthy Tipping Point.” She has tons of great ideas for making veggie bowls using different grains like millet or wheat berries, and fillings from vegetables to nuts.

Quinoa Veggie Bowl

1 cup uncooked quinoa
4 cups water
1 can black beans, drained
1 cup corn, either fresh or frozen
1 cup fresh or frozen mix of red, green, and yellow bell peppers
shredded cheddar cheese, optional

1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp minced onions
1 tsp onion powder

1. Fill a medium saucepan with water over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add quinoa and boil for 9-10 minutes.
2. While quinoa is boiling, place the drained black beans in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add chili powder, garlic powder, minced onions, and onion powder. If you’re using fresh or canned corn, add that to the saucepan. I used frozen corn, so I cooked it in the microwave for two minutes before adding it to the black beans.
3. Once the timer goes off for the quinoa, drain as much water as you can, and set the saucepan back on the burner. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa stand for a few minutes before fluffing with a fork.
4. I used frozen bell peppers, so after fluffing the quinoa, I cooked the peppers in the microwave for 2 minutes.
5. Add everything into the saucepan with the quinoa, sprinkle salt and pepper on top, along with a sprinkle of cheese.


30-minute Black Bean Quesadillas

Happy Friday everyone! 🙂

Tonight’s dinner was a quick fix. I had everything in my fridge and in my cupboards, and only an inkling of what I wanted to eat. The initial idea was to make this black bean burrito recipe, from Epicurean Mom.

When I realized it was five p.m. I didn’t feel like waiting for the quinoa, even though it would have only taken fifteen minutes to cook. I wasn’t feeling it.

Black Bean Quesadillas

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes
Serves: 2-4

1 15 ounce can black beans, drained
1 15 ounce can of corn, drained
1.2 tablespoon canola oil
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 green onions, chopped
2 cups Mexican blend cheese
2-8 medium tortillas

1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 cumin

1. Open and drain black beans and corn. Dump into bowl and combine. Set aside.
2. In a medium skillet place oil, and heat on medium heat.
3. Chop vegetables.
4. Place vegetables in skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Take out bell pepper mix and place in bowl. Set aside.
5. Keeping the skillet on the medium heat, pour in bean mix. Cook until heated through, about 3-4 minutes. Take out mix and place back into bowl. Set aside.
6. Lower heat to medium-low. Spray pan with nonstick spray.
*7. Place one tortilla in bottom of skillet. Fill with peppers, black bean mix, and cheese. How much you fill it up depends on how much you want. Remember: you will have to flip it. Place second tortilla on top.
8. Once browned, remove from skillet onto cutting board. Let cool 2 minutes, then cut into slice (like a pizza). Serve hot with sour cream, tortilla chips, and salsa.

*If you don’t want to use 2 tortillas (yes, they can get messy when flipping if you have a small spatula) you can use one tortilla, fill and fold in half and cook that way.

This was a filling dinner full of color and flavor. Chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin are my favorite seasonings for black beans. They create a subtle spicy and smoky flavor without being overbearing.

Other modifications:

– You could use white beans or even kidney beans.
– You can use shredded cheddar cheese or even non-dairy cheese (if someone uses non-dairy cheese, I’d love to know how it works out, since I’ve never used the stuff.)
– You can do this in the microwave, by filling the tortillas and cooking on high for 1-2 minutes. The vegetables may not be as tender, but it should still taste delicious.


Happy National S’mores Day! 🙂 Here’s a collection of recipes I’ve noticed today:

S’mores Bars from LaurenConrad.com
S’mores-filled pretzels from Tumblr
Everything I Learned, I Learned from “The Sandlot” from HelloGiggles.com (OK, I know this isn’t a recipe, but it’s one of the first things I think about when I hear the word “s’mores”? )

Have a great weekend!