Mexican take-out meets healthy deconstructed taco bowl. Except there’s no rice. I’ll do you better, it’s got protein rich quinoa which like rice; is also naturally gluten free. And it’s highly addictive kind-of-GOOD. Sans meat or with it; it’s totally customizable to your preferences. I enjoy this sans meat simply because the quinoa and black beans equip you with enough plant-based protein (AKA brain food). I’m trying this new thing were half the week I eat meat once a day, and the other half of the week I rely on plants and legumes as my protein, iron and fiber sources. I feel I have so much more energy and I can digest my food far better. I also don’t feel as tired or lethargic; and let’s just say I have very long days. Days that involve penning blog entries in the wee hours of the morning (and am still wide awake and lucid). Or so I think- I’ll let you decide.
What I really like about this dish is that it’s got a ton of mileage; (1) dinner for 1 all-week (2) dinner for 2 and leftovers for the following day or (3) a family dinner for 4 and all for around $10.00. You guys often ask me about where do I buy all this healthy food from and at what price range. Often times, it’s premium pricing that discourages us from making better food choices. I feel your pain. Yes, let’s face it; we live in a society where eating a McDonald’s combo is cheaper than grabbing a small, single drink at your local juice bar. So taking this into account, I’ll think of a series of affordable recipes that will make eating healthy easier and budget-friendly.
Oh and did I also tell you this is one of the easiest recipes, ever? Your dinner will cook itself with minimal stirring. So if you’re new to the kitchen or just trying to save on time during that crazy busy weeknight routine; this recipe has your name written all over it. I wistfully wish I would’ve known about this one when I was a busy (22-year old) cat lady grabbing take out on her way home late from work every night. But it serves me well these days, too. Because nights aren’t any less busy right now.
I hope you guys enjoy this one! It’s also perfect for meal planning & keeps well in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. I sometimes make 2 batches and freeze one. Because like I always say, failing to prep is like prepping to fail. So there you have it, an easy, one-pan dinner. Minimal dishes, minimal prep, cost-effective & full on flavour!
Mexican Quinoa Casserole
- 1 cup (1 small bag of quinoa) I purchased the organic variety on sale for $2.50
- 1 cup of black beans
- 1 cup of corn ( I always buy organic corn)
- 1 large can organic diced tomatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 chive finely chopped
- 1 tsp of ground cumin
- 1 tsp of paprika
- 1 tsp pf chili powder
- 2 or 3 bay leaves
- 1 cup of water OR chicken or vegetable broth for more flavor
- Black pepper & sea salt to taste
Avocado Mousse Dressing
- 1 large avocado, peeled & cored
- 1 handful of fresh cilantro
- juice of 1 lime
- pinch of pepper & sea salt
- 1/2 tbsp of agave or honey
- 1 tbsp of avocado oil
- Use a large skillet (preferably one with a lid) and warm up over medium heat. Drop the olive oil & the finely minced garlic. Give it a nice stir until fragrant. (1-2 mins)
- Throw in ALL the remaining ingredients: quinoa, 1 cup of water or broth, tomatoes, corns, beans, cumin, chili powder, paprika, bay leaves, & sea salt & pepper to taste. Give it a nice stir to integrate and bring it all to a boil. Then reduce to a simmer & cover with a lid & cook for about 20-25 mins while stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. I then turn off the heat once the water is all absorbed and the quinoa is fluffing up. I remove the skillet from the burner & let it sit (still covered) for a nice fluffy grain. I find quinoa absorbs the moisture in the pan quite nicely.
- For the dressing: simply throw all the ingredients in your blender until evenly mixed. Don’t over blend; it’s supposed to look like guac or a mousse, not a sauce.
Optional: If you consume dairy, this tastes amazing with sour cream or grated cheese. If you consume meat(s): pulled pork, barbacoa beef, or shredded fajita chicken go amazingly well with this meal.