A lighter, fresher way to enjoy Mexican flavours
This weekend saw us eating at local Mexican place. A choice largely influenced by watching a programme where the company had decided to switch to free range chicken without increasing cost to consumers. Hooray for them! Hooray for the food? Not so much. Lots of gluggy rice and cracked tortillas and greasy cheese. Not a total waste though- a frozen Margherita at lunch time should never be scoffed at! The whole experience had left me with a hankering for some tasty Mexican food. Something full of flavour and freshness without the gluggy guilt. Enter the One Pot Wonderful Mexican Quinoa Bowl! Easy and quick to make, packed with flavour and best of all, containing quinoa – a superfood. Quinoa is a gluten free seed high in protein. Perfect for the vegos/vegans/gluten free goddesses or those who just want to feel satisfied after a meal without feeling heavy. It has taken me a little time in incorporate quinoa into our diet. Partly because there are some in our family group who are naturally suspicious of anything new and unusual. And partly because it takes some extra energy to push outside the comfort zone of what is usual and familiar. I started with Quinoa Tabbouli and today am making a roasted sweet potato, quinoa, feta and lamb salad for a friend who is visiting. And this gem of a recipe of course!
Start by getting everything together – there is a little chopping prep and then things move quickly. Finely dice a red onion and half a dried chilli. (Or a whole fresh chilli if yours have not got lost and sunk to the bottom of the fruit bowl as mine had.) Add more chilli for extra punch if you like or leave it out altogether – up to you. Steam a cob of corn and remove kernels, finely chop half a red capsicum, drain and rinse a can of kidney beans, rinse your quinoa. At this stage you can also measure out your dried spices. Also grab your tin tomatoes and stock. NB – you can use a tin of black beans if you prefer, and the choice of chicken or vegetable stock is up to you and your lunch companions.
Heat a frypan and add oil. Add onion and cook for a few minutes then add garlic and chilli, cooking until fragrant – about 1 minute.
Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low, pop on a lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Plenty of time to make yourself a Margherita – frozen or otherwise! Give it a stir every now and then until quinoa is cooked through and soft and liquid is absorbed (NB – you might need to cook a little longer depending on your simmer and the texture that you like your quinoa. I prefer mine to still have a little crunch)
Serve immediately with some avocado, coriander leaves and a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt. A squeeze of lime really brings a zing of freshness. I’m sure if Mr L was home he would have been tempted to add some cheese or employ some corn chips to scoop it up, but it really doesn’t need anything else. Even lovely the next day served cold – the quinoa has time to soak up some of those spices – yum!
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1 small red onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- ½ dried chilli, or a small fresh chilli finely diced*
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp dried coriander
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp Mexican chilli powder
- 1x 400g tin red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cob corn, steamed and kernels removed
- I cup quinoa
- ½ red capsicum, diced
- 1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- salt and pepper
- To Serve:
- 1 avocado, diced and tossed in lime juice
- Coriander leaves
- Sour cream or natural yoghurt
- Lime wedges
- Heat oil in large pan (with a lid). Add onion and cook for 3 -4 minutes until starting to soften. Add chilli and garlic and cook for a further minute until fragrant.
- Add remaining ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low, pop on the lid, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every now and then. Quinoa should be cooked through and soft and liquid absorbed. Season to taste.
- Serve immediately with coriander, avocado, sour cream and a wedge of lime
Chicken stock can be used instead of vegetable stock