Did you overdo it this holiday season? Are you feeling tired, bloated, and listless? It’s happened to the best of us. But despite empty promises never to eat again, you’ll have to eat something — and eating better can help get you on the fast track to feeling better. Our latest recipe is a flavorful dish that can help your body energize and recover with healthy nutrients and lean protein.
This recipe is adapted from the Cuban version of rice and beans. Here, the rice is replaced with quinoa, an ancient Incan super-grain full of fortifying nutrients. Black beans are also high in protein and fiber, and low in fat and cholesterol. These basics are cooked together in a single pot to merge flavors and create a filling dish that will jump-start your return to healthier eating habits.
Black Bean and Quinoa Super Meal
Servings: 8 | Time: about 90 minutes
4 strips uncooked bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
2 cans (15 ounces) no-sodium black beans, not drained
1 3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the bacon in the olive oil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Cook for 5-6 minutes, or until the bacon renders its fat and turns golden brown.
- Add the garlic, onion, and green pepper and sauté, stirring frequently. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are translucent.
- Add the bay leaf, cumin, oregano, and quinoa. Stir for 1 minute, or until the grains are well coated.
- Add the beans (and their liquid), water, and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the liquid has been completely absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork, serve, and enjoy!
Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 336; Fat: 6.7 g; Cholesterol: 4.4 mg; Sodium: 100 mg; Carbohydrates: 53 g; Fiber: 10.5 g; Sugars: 3.3 g; Protein: 14.5 g.
- Because this recipe counts on a specific amount of liquid to properly cook the rice, substitutions or additions are best kept to a minimum. If you must make an adjustment, try to substitute something else that will yield the same balance of solid and liquid. For example, if you hate green pepper, try doubling the amount of onion.
- There is no added salt in this recipe, but it does have a moderate 100 mg of sodium. The sodium content comes from the bacon; each portion contains about a half-slice. If your diet is restricted to eliminate sodium and/or cured meats, you can omit the bacon —but keep an extra teaspoon or two of olive oil on hand as you sauté the vegetables, in case they start to stick or burn.
- Also key to keeping the sodium content low is ensuring that your beans are the no-sodium variety. If the only beans you can get have added sodium, you can thoroughly rinse them to remove much of the added salt (which is in the canning liquid). However, two notes: first, remember to add another 1/2 cup water to replace the drained liquid, and second, even if rinsed, salted beans will slightly increase your sodium amount.
- This dish refrigerates well and makes terrific leftovers — the flavors mingle over time, and it may taste even better the next day. It can be served cold or quickly reheated in the microwave.