Originally posted September 3, 2013. Revised May 2015.

I consider myself a rather creative person, but when it comes to creating my own recipes…I need some coaxing and discipline. The coaxing comes from talented food bloggers, food photographers and dietitian colleagues who post their amazing work on social media. The discipline falters from my lack of time management; etching out precious time to feed my blog is something I constantly struggle with (a topic that can easily be turned into lengthy blog post!). Back to my aspirations to create fabulous recipes…

I know what flavors I like and I know what ingredients are healthy. When I find this perfect combination in a recipe, it inspires me to get into my kitchen, cook for my family, teach others how to cook, and it launches my brain into “create mode.”  Simple, affordable, nutritious, whole-food ingredients presented in a beautiful, healthy and delicious way is my idea of hitting the culinary jackpot. I want to create recipes that’ll pique the interest of the health conscious and of the healthy-food naysayer, doubter and people who are afraid to cook. I’m hoping to capture a little bit of that magic with this recipe.

Here I’ve combined some of my favorite flavors with two foods I consider to be among the healthiest in the world: beans and quinoa. A superfood power couple! Even though I grew up eating pinto beans, I quickly became a fan of black beans while living in Texas. They’re often served along side many Tex-Mex dishes and I love their meaty texture and how beautifully they puree into velvety, creamy soups and dips. Black beans (frijoles negros or habichuelas negras) are a staple in Latin American cuisine and they’re the main ingredient in Brazil’s national dish, feijoada. They’re also commonly found in Creole and Cajun dishes, N’awlins style!

Strong health benefits come from anthocyanins found in the black pigment of the beans. These are the same flavonoid pigments that give deep, dark colored foods like blueberries, raspberries and red grapes their antioxidant properties. Both black beans and their South American superfood counterpart, quinoa, are high in fiber (mostly cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber) and plant-based protein. Beans and quinoa also have omega-3 fatty acid, which is a natural anti-inflammatory; studies have shown their effectiveness in lowering blood pressure and blood triglyceride levels as well as easing symptoms of arthritis and depression.* Together, beans and quinoa make any meal heart healthy, filling and nutrient-rich.

Superfood status aside, beans and quinoa mixed with a bit of salty feta cheese, earthy cumin and paprika, rich and creamy avocado and topped with (my favorite!) the bright flavors of cilantro and lime juice, fulfill my qualifications for a healthy, simple, beautiful and delicious dish!

A few months ago I entered this recipe into a contest. Last week I received an email notifying me that it didn’t make the cut. Although this was the first recipe contest I’ve ever entered, I felt pretty good about my chances of receiving one of three prizes. But, alas, no dice. Now, I’m bringing my recipe to you. Give this simple dish a-go and let me know what’cha think!


Black Bean Quinoa with Cilantro, Lime and Feta

Recipe by Christy Wilson
Servings: 6-8
Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • Spray oil
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced and chopped sweet onion
  • 1 clove garlic, diced and smashed into a paste (work that knife back and forth over the chopped garlic)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (I love using key limes)
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese (go authentic Mexican and use Queso Fresco instead!)
  • 1 diced avocado
  • Ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Place quinoa in a fine meshed strainer. Rinse quiona with water, then transfer to a pot. Heat quinoa over medium flame until aromatic and you hear seeds begin to “pop.” Add water, cover pot, turn down heat and steam for about 15 minutes. Once finished, fluff quinoa with a fork and set aside.
  2. Spray a medium sized skillet with oil. Sauté red pepper and onion until tender over medium heat. Add in garlic and corn. Heat until corn is warmed through, about 3 minutes.
  3. Transfer cooked quinoa, sautéed vegetables and rinsed black beans to a large bowl. Season with cumin and paprika, then add lime juice and cilantro. Mix gently to combine all ingredients.
  4. Top dish with feta cheese, diced avocado and extra chopped cilantro for added flavor and color.

*If not serving immediately, add an extra squeeze of lime over diced avocado to keep it from browning.
 

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Nutrition Information
per serving (about 1/2 cup)

Calories: 210, Total Fat: 8 gr, Saturated fat: 2 gr, Trans Fat: 0gr, Cholesterol: 5 mg, Sodium: 230 mg, Total Carb 31 gr, Dietary Fiber: 8 gr, Sugar: 2 gr, !
Protein 8 gr; Vit A: 15%, Vit C: 40%, Ca: 8%, Iron 15%

Enjoy!
~CWN

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