As a long-time vegetarian, I’m always on the hunt for new protein-packed meals to satiate my ever-ravenous appetite. When I became a vegetarian at 16, it seemed like I got the “Where are you going to get your protein?” talk every other day from my parents. 16-year-old me was not about to back down and start eating meat again. I had to find meals that would satisfy me and please my parents. I turned to the ultimate treasure chest of vegetarian recipes: Pinterest. The site opened my eyes to the beautiful world of quinoa. It seems to be all I eat now. Glorious quinoa is a protein-filled grain grown in the Andes of South America. Over the last three years, I’ve made a plethora of quinoa recipes.
A personal favorite of mine is the “One Pan Mexican Quinoa” from damndelicious.net. I feel like I make this every other week because it hits the mark on all the necessary Mexican food flavors. It has the beans, the tomatoes and a sprinkle of cheesiness, if you so desire. The first time I ever ate it may or may not have been a bit of a spiritual experience. I’m so thankful for Chungah for creating this glorious meal.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño, minced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can of black beans
1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons of lime juice, or the juice of one lime
Cilantro for garnish (optional)
To start, toss the olive oil in a big pot or deep pan and heat it briefly at medium to high
heat. After about 30 seconds, throw in the garlic and minced jalapeño. Let it cook for about a minute.
Next, add in the rinsed quinoa. (Make sure you rinse it, or there might be a bit of a soapy-tasting residue in your quinoa. Trust me, you don’t want that.) I like to sauté the quinoa for two or three minutes for a more authentic, crunchy texture. It’ll start to smell slightly nutty while it’s cooking.
Now it’s time to add the vegetable broth, tomatoes, beans (drained and rinsed), corn, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.
Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and reduce the heat. Let it simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked through and the liquid is soaked up.
Serve with avocado, cheese and cilantro if you’d like. For another option, you can put it in a tortilla with cheese and cook it like a regular quesadilla.