the weather is continuing to cool off (more or less-ish) and recently we’ve had some much needed rain, which means that i’ve been craving cozier fare, like chipotle tamale and roasted vegetable burrito bowls. aaaaand mexican quinoa with black beans and chorizo (which yes, you could totally make vegetarian or even vegan).
i have to confess, it took me a minute to get this recipe right. the tasting notes from my first round include such enticing remarks as, “not very spicy”, “all one texture”, “not very interesting”, and “not much flavor”. i won’t even tell you what it looked like after i ran a topping of reduced fat yellow cheddar (don’t ask…) under the broiler. lesson learned: we will NOT be doing that ever again. ever.
soooo, i switched out a few ingredients for more flavorful counterparts (sorry late season, not very good cherry tomatoes) and added a bunch more super flavorful yum boosters (thank you tomato paste, chorizo, garlic, mushrooms, and tomato paste! y’all are the best.)
additionally, i streamlined how we’re making this little number so that we can have dinner on the table as soon as is tastily possible (and without having it look like someone dumped a pile of velveeta cheese on top then took a crème brûlée torch to our quinoa… tangent: can i just say how much i appreciate the ease of using accented letters today vs. when i had to type out spanish papers in high school?! i’d spend half the time waiting for the dial-up modem to return my altavista search results for “how do i add an accent in word?”…).
ok, food, right! long story short: i changed a bunch of things and now this mexican quinoa with black beans and chorizo is really good. i’m-sad-there’s-no-more-left-in-my-fridge good. i’m-making-this-again-soon good. i-hope-you-are-too good. the end.
other vaguely mexican-inspired recipes you may enjoy:
and if it’s the quinoa you fancy:
- 6 ¼ oz. (1 cup / 177 g.) dried quinoa
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 4 oz. (1 ½ cups / 113 g.) white button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups chopped bell peppers (this is about 1 large bell pepper; i used half of a red pepper and half of a green pepper)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeño, minced, seeded for milder flavor or seeds left in for more heat
- 3 – 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon ground chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 14.5 oz. (411 g.) can of fire roasted diced tomatoes or diced tomatoes with green chilies (keep the juices)
- 15.5 oz. (439 g.) can of low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 oz. (85 g.) spinach, roughly chopped
- 8 oz. (227 g.) fully cooked chorizo sausage or another spicy precooked sausage, sliced lengthwise then into ¼” (1/2 cm) half moon shapes
- shredded sharp white cheddar, lime wedges, chopped fresh cilantro, avocado slices, for topping bowls
- cook the quinoa according to package directions. when it’s finished cooking, leave the lid on the pot to keep the quinoa warm.
- in a large skillet with high sides (3” / 7.5 cm high is ideal) heat oil over medium heat. when hot, add the mushrooms and sauté a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and stir. sauté a few more minutes, until the onions and peppers have softened. add the jalapeño, garlic, cumin, cayenne, chili powder, chipotle, and tomato paste. sauté and stir until combined and fragrant, about 1 minute.
- add the tomatoes, black beans, spinach, and chorizo. stir until everything is combined and then periodically as mixture simmers for 3 – 4 minutes, until spinach is wilted and everything is heated through, including the chorizo.
- to serve, distribute quinoa among bowls then top with the cooked mixture. pass shredded cheese, lime wedges, fresh cilantro, and avocado slices as toppings.
leftovers keep several days in separate containers (the quinoa in one, the black beans and chorizo mixture in another, and then any leftover toppings each in their own separate container). combine leftovers when ready to reheat (in the morning to take to work for lunch is totally fine); heat in the microwave until heated through. add toppings after reheating.
to make this mexican quinoa vegetarian, vegan, or dairy free, omit the chorizo and/or cheese, depending on your dietary goals.
if you’re watching sodium, be sure to get low sodium black beans and compare labels for the canned tomatoes; sodium content can vary dramatically from brand to brand and flavor to flavor. also peek at the label on the chorizo you select; that would be another potentially high source of sodium.
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