I love quinoa. It’s one of those foods, like couscous, that doesn’t bore me, or leave my plate when another superfood gets all the attention. Adding some flavour with Mexican seasonings, enchilada sauce and protein-packed black beans just make it a perfect and balanced meal. The whole idea is to give the dish an “enchilada” feel by using an enchilada sauce, and topping with shredded cheddar, but without packing in gluten via tortilla. The standard enchilada we make at home has some kidney beans, which I find becomes too heavy when its layered with sauce, tortilla, salsa, lettuce and cheese. This version of Quinoa & Black Bean “Enchilada” has just those things – quinoa, black beans, vegetables, all baked in enchilada sauce.
I adapted the recipe, to make it a bit healthier (by cutting down the quantity of cheese) and adding in some amazing Mexican chillies, a variety of which are available from Sprig in India. I seriously am obsessed with a lot of their products (the bourbon vanilla is top notch, as is the beautifully infused demerara sugars they have and the Black Tellicherry whole black pepper mill), and no, this isn’t a paid feature (but I think I should totally get paid by them, the amount of references I give of theirs almost daily!). They have started a range of chillies, which range beyond the common Chipotle, and include Ancho, Guajillo and Pastilla. I much preferred using these to the packaged dry taco/enchilada/burrito seasonings.
And let’s be honest, this is also just a way for me to justify [to myself] the indispensable desire to own all varieties!
Now getting back to the Quinoa & Black Bean “Enchilada”. Luckily, I had some echilada sauce stashed in the freezer, so the whole cooking process was super quick and easy – but if you want to take a shortcut (I am an ardent fan and believer of shortcuts), do feel free to use the canned or bottled versions. Or, go ahead and make your own. But definitely use the Mexican chiles if you are making some at home – that overall authenticity in the flavour that it lends, is well worth it!
We start by sautéing some onions, then one yellow corn worth of kernels, one red and one yellow pepper. To this gets added cilantro, spices and then a can of black beans. Let the quinoa cook on the side, and once its done and beautifully fluffed, gets mixed in with the vegetables.
Top with cheese and bake till golden brown. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of the baked golden sizzling enchilada, as I took all these pretty pictures while making it, and then by the time my buddies came over for dinner and this was on the dinner table, I was already a few sparklings in 😛
But rest assured, this is one recipe that tastes and looks great (I love colourful food), as well as satisfactory. The punch of all the flavours and the textures of quinoa, corn, beans and cheese all make this one stalwart to have on your table. Yum!
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño, seeds and ribs removed,diced
- 1 red pepper, seeds removed, diced
- 1 yellow pepper, seeds removed, diced
- 1 cup corn kernels, from approximately one yellow corn
- Juice of 1 small lime
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon chili powder [Sprig's Ancho and Pastilla]
- 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 175*c and grease a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cover quinoa and set aside.
- In a large pan, heat the tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the peppers and corn. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Add the lime juice, cumin, chili powders, and lastly the cilantro. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Take off the heat and add the cooked quinoa and black beans, and stir to combine. Pour in the enchilada sauce and stir.
- Spoon out the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with cheddar cheese. Cover the pan with foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove foil. Bake an additional 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. Remove from the oven, and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
- I made this in the afternoon of the day we had dinner guests, and it sat beautifully all day in the fridge.
- The recipe apparently freezes well too, although I haven't tried it yet.