Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"why'd you have to go and make things so complicated?"

the food: Quinoa with Black Beans & Squash
the song: "Complicated" (I can't in good conscious link to Avril Lavigne. But here is something I can get behind.)

We're basking in the afterglow of the holidays at my house, filled with gratitude for our family visits and perhaps even more gratitude to be back in our own home. All the holiday decadence has me craving simple and healthy food.

I wrote a little while ago about monk food, and how sometimes the absolute best and most satisfying meal can be something simple. This meal has replaced beans and rice in my kitchen as a healthy staple, meant to provide a perfect protein. It's a special meal that only takes one pan, and I think it's worth posting here. The original recipe comes from Epicurious. I sometimes serve it in a tortilla with some sliced avocados, but I also like it right out of the bowl with a dash of hot sauce and a few tortilla chips. When I have to time to devote to pressing and marinating, this dish is also really awesome with chewy, baked tofu.

Quinoa with Black Beans and Cilantro
Serves 4 as a main dish; 6 as a side dish

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cup chopped white onions
1/2 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
1 cup chopped yellow or zucchini squash 
2 seeded and diced jalapenos
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed, drained
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ cups vegetable broth or water
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
Crumbled feta cheese (optional)

Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions, bell pepper, jalapenos, garlic, and squash; sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in quinoa and spices. Add broth; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until quinoa is almost tender, about 14 minutes. Add beans and 1/4 cup cilantro; cook uncovered until heated through and liquid is fully absorbed, about 3 minutes. Transfer to bowl; sprinkle with more cilantro and cheese, if desired.

Here's to an uncomplicated 2010!


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