Southwest beans & quinoa bowls. Spicy, savory, satisfying with a dash of plant-based, no oil healthy all in one bowl. This easy recipe delivers it all.
My inspiration for this recipe came with a bit of serendipity. Ok, not even that magical – I had a look around my pantry, found cans of black and red kidney beans and half a bag of quinoa. So, I won’t pretend there was elaborate planning. Realistic cooking if you will.
This is beans (not nuts)
This is a super-easy 4-serving bowl that won’t leave you in the kitchen forever. I relied on onions, jalapenos and garlic as the foundation and made oregano the central spice. Add some chopped tomatoes, fresh cilantro (coriander) and veggie broth. We’re off to the races. You’ll need about 15 minutes to cook this up.
With that 15 minutes in mind…
My advice is to prep everything which essentially means, dicing the onions, jalapenos and tomatoes. And chopping the garlic and coriander. Dice up another small onion and you can have your quinoa cooking while you make the beans. Quinoa likes 2 things: A rinse before cooking and a bit of a steam after the liquid is absorbed. Easily done here.
Finish with the tops
I know what you’re thinking. “Denise, there are a lot of onions going on here. Seriously, more onions?”. That answer is a resounding “yes please”. That’s with a bit of a disclaimer. If you use the green tops off the scallions, you will only get a subtle onion taste. The benefit is also the crunchy texture. It’s also a great way to do something with those green onion tops we normally throw away.
Let’s create a bowl
I’ve decided that bowls are more than just a repurposing of ingredients we might have traditionally served on a plate. There’s a bit more too it and honestly, I love the visual appeal. I follow my own formula when approaching bowl creation: grain + protein + veggies + toppings (including a dressing). It’s the Buffalo chickpea bowl concept and I did exactly the same when creating southwest beans & quinoa bowls. I used the toppings I had on had (avocado and chopped cilantro) and found a handy jar of salsa for a bit more spice. This is yet another opportunity for vegan sour cream.
I wanted this dish to be intentionally easy. This means you only need a few ingredients, 2 pots and 20 minutes (at most) to cook it up. This is also easily portable. You can just stash a few toppings along for the ride. May some salad and a few tortilla chips crumbs. Lettuce, tomato. Whatever you have that’s willing to travel. It also means you can have the same base lunch with a different twist. That’s makes everyday unique. Yummy.
If you are relatively new to plant-based cooking, I want to assure you that you’ll get to the autopilot, use what you have-on-hand stage in no time. Your recipe can be as easy as grain + protein + veggies + toppings. Keep those quick cooking grains like quinoa and bulgur on hand. Be sure you always have a stash of canned beans. Mix and match. You’ll be creating masterpiece bowls in no time.
You’ve decluttered your head and your kitchen from all the unhealthy stuff. The rest is just a bit of practice and sometimes inspiration. Otherwise, switch on the autopilot and grab a bowl. Peace.Print
Southwest beans & quinoa bowls are an easy, plant-based, oil free dinner or portable lunch done in 35 minutes. Top with your favorites and eat up!
- 1 cup dried quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 small onion, diced small
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1-2 jalapenos diced (optional)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. oregano
- 6 plum tomatoes, chopped (1 ½ cups)
- 1-15 oz. (400 gm.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1-15 oz. (400 gm.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ bunch cilantro (coriander) chopped (more if you want it for a garnish)
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 3-4 scallions (green onions, the green parts, cut on bias (at 450 angle)
Toppings and sides
- Sliced avocado
- Lime wedges
- tortilla chips
Cook the quinoa
- Heat a pan to medium and add the onions and rinsed quinoa. Toss until the onions start to brown (5 minutes). Add 2 cups of broth. Cover and simmer until the liquid is absorbed (15 minutes). Leave the lid on the pot until you are ready to add it to the beans.
Cook the beans
- Heat a pan to medium and add the onions and jalapenos. Sauté for about 3 minutes until the onions become translucent. Add the garlic and oregano and sauté for an additional 30 seconds to coat everything.
- Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, broth, beans and cilantro. Allow the beans to simmer until the liquid is absorbed by about half (15 minutes).
- Season with salt and pepper and add the scallions. Take off the heat.
In a bowl, add the quinoa and the beans. Garnish with additional chopped cilantro, sliced avocado and other additional toppings as desired.
- Although this recipe could have been converted to a one-pot meal, I think it best and easier to cook the quinoa and beans separately. This gives you the opportunity for the quinoa to rest and fluff up before you add it to the beans.
- To tote this dish just mix the quinoa and beans together and reheat in the microwave. If you reheat on the stove top, add ¼ cup of water to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- I used white quinoa (the ‘regular’ kind), but you can use red or black if desired and just cook it the same way. Likewise, you can substitute rice. Sauté the small, chopped onion and add the rice and broth. Cook according to the package directions. Depending on the rice you use and cooking times, you may want to start that first and then prepare the veggies and cook the beans second.
- Category: Salads & Bowls
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Southwest beans & quinoa bowls