Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

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Quinoa is not only nutrient-rich, but is so easy to make. It is considered to be a “complete protein,” because of the amounts of amino acids, lysine and isoleucine, it contains. This salad has a wonderful smokey flavor from the chipotle, which also gives the dish some “heat.” In addition, you can taste the green and red onions and the cilantro! The quinoa recipe was adapted from Ken Oringer in Food and Wine, From a Chef’s Incredible Winter Picnic, published December 2009. I substituted the sherry vinegar with rice vinegar and reduced the amount of olive oil.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 ounce) organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup organic quinoa, rinsed thoroughly and drained
  • Sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 chipotle in adobo, minced
  • ¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced using only the white and light green parts
  • ½ small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Using a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups water, quinoa and pinch of salt . Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Set aside and “fluff,” until cool.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice and chipotle. Add olive oil in a thin stream, while whisking. Mix in beans, quinoa, green onions, red onion, yellow pepper and cilantro. Finally, add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 8.

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Chicken Quesadillas

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The other day I had some delicious chicken quesadillas at the California Pizza Kitchen. I thought they would make a wonderful appetizer for our Super Bowl Party. Besides chicken, their quesadillas contain cheese and black beans. The perfect cheese to use is the organic Monterey Pepper Jack Cheese I get at Trader Joe’s, because it is just a bit spicy. I was able to use almost all organic ingredients, except for the chicken. Flour tortillas can be replaced with gluten-free tortillas. So here is my recipe for some yummy and simple to make appetizers! (This can easily be adjusted to make more or less quesadillas).

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Ingredients:

  • 6 Trader Joe’s Organic Wheat & Corn Flour Tortillas
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s Organic Monterey Pepper Jack Cheese, grated
  • 1 can (15 ounces) organic black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6 Grilled Chicken Breast Tenderloins with Cilantro and Lime Juice, chopped into small cubes (posted in an earlier blog)

Directions:

  1. Spread some cheese lightly over half a tortilla. Then add some black beans and chicken. Finally, add another light layer of cheese. Fold tortilla in half. Repeat 5 more times.
  2. Using a large nonstick frying pan, place the quesadilla in the pan. When one side in golden brown, flip over and brown the other side.
  3. Cut each quesadilla into 4 equal pieces and serve immediately. Makes 6 quesadillas.

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Tilapia with Black Beans and Salsa

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This is a very easy and delicious way to make fish during the busy work week. You can use healthy salmon with its Omega 3s, if you prefer!

Ingredients:

  • 4 (6 ounces) pieces of tilapia (or fish of your choice)
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 teaspoon sunflower oil
  • 1 cup organic black beans
  • 1 cup pico de gallo salsa
  • 2 scallion greens, sliced on the diagonal
  • 4 12″ x 15″ pieces of parchment paper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Place each piece of fish in the center of the parchment paper. Add salt and pepper. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of sunflower oil on fish. Sprinkle with ¼ of the black beans, salsa and scallion greens. Fold the side and ends of parchment paper 2 to 3 times, making a packet. Repeat until you have 4 packets.
  3. Place packets on a baking sheet. Bake in oven about 10 minutes, until fish is opaque. Baking time will vary depending upon the thickness of the fish you use.
  4. Place each individual fish on a plate and cut the paper carefully in the center, making a “cross.” Serves 4.

Blogger’s note: You may want to add salsa and scallions after fish is baked (makes for a prettier presentation), but I prefer it baking with the salsa juices. I also prefer using a hot salsa.

Sauteed Corn with Black Beans and Red Bell Pepper

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This delicious recipe I found in Cook’s Illustrated, September/October 2014. I changed the recipe slightly, using organic ingredients when possible and frozen sweet corn, instead of fresh. I am sure it is even more flavorful with fresh corn!

  • 2 tablespoon organic olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped fine
  • 1/2  organic red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Sea salt
  • 1 can organic black beans (15 ounce), rinsed
  • 1 package frozen organic sweet corn (16 ounce) or 3 cups, thawed
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoon lime juice

In a 12 inch nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper and jalapeno, until the onion has softened for about 4 to 6 minutes. Then add garlic, cumin and 1/4 teaspoon salt for about 1 minute. Finally, add the beans and cook until beans are warm for about 1 minute. Transfer black bean mixture to large bowl. Carefully wipe frying pan with a paper towel.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in frying pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add corn and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until corn is browned and begins to “pop” for about 3 minutes. Stir corn again and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is nicely brown. Add corn to the bean mixture. Finally, stir in cilantro and lime juice. Serve and enjoy!

http://www.cooksillustrated.com/recipes/8051-sauteed-corn-with-black-beans-and-red-bell-pepper?incode=MCSCZ00L0

Black Bean Quinoa Salad

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This quinoa salad has a wonderful Mexican flavor with the black beans, lime juice, cumin, cilantro, onion and red bell pepper! It can be used as a side dish or can even be a light meal all by itself, because it good source of protein. As a bonus, it’s quick and easy to make!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup organic quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • Sea salt
  • 1 t cumin
  • 2 T fresh lime juice
  • 5 T canola oil
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 can Trader Joe’s Organic Black Beans (rinsed)
  • 1 small finely chopped organic red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 3 T finely chopped red onion

Directions:

  1. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly. Combine the quinoa, water and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer at low heat until water is absorbed. Uncover and let the quinoa cool.
  2. Whisk cumin, lime juice and oil together in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. In a large bowl, add dressing to black beans, bell pepper, cilantro and onion. Add the quinoa. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if necessary. Serves 4.