One-pot Southwestern beans and quinoa is packed with a savory combination of black and kidney beans, quinoa, and a flavorful sauce with fresh tomatoes and oregano.
Everyone should have a list of quick, one-pot recipes filed conveniently under everyday eating. This version, like so many of my other one-pot wonders, is a bit of a pantry raid, with a flavor layer built on things you usually have on hand or can grab in a quick shop.
It's another of my one-pot wonders with my favorite combination of beans and quinoa. I am a total sucker for any combination of beans and quinoa because the flavor profiles can easily be changed on a whim. I find the satisfaction factor is always high, while the cooking remains comfortably uncomplicated.
Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t my attempt to temper expectations by framing this yummy meal of beans and quinoa as something on the everyday scale. You may well be amazed at the big flavor that builds from simple ingredients. The Southwestern flavors of the sauce with 2 kinds of beans doesn't discount this recipe.
Add a few extra sliced scallion greens and maybe a bit of avocado on top, and this isn't just another average meal designed to sustain you to the next.
When I suggest a pantry raid, that means that although the ideal combination is black and red kidney beans, you can stray far off the mark if that’s your gig at the moment. Any canned beans, from white cannellini to chickpeas, make a flavorful meal. The taste won't be the same, but the intent can remain the same.
I recommend sticking to fresh tomatoes if possible because they add a more subtle flavor. You can get by with canned, but your result may be a bit more like chili than Southwestern beans. However, if you are pressed, then use 1 can (15 oz./400 gm.) and go for diced or cherry tomatoes. In this case, you will also want to cut the vegetable broth to 1 ½ cups to compensate for the undrained tomatoes.
One-pot meals are notoriously quick cooking. For this reason, whether it’s red beans and quinoa, chickpeas with Za’atar, black beans with Berbere, or a basic pilaf with chickpeas, I always start by getting myself organized. That’s my comfort zone. Even if it isn't yours, cooking, maybe even other parts of life, is simplified with a bit of organization.
So let’s start with my favorite culinary term - mise en place.
This is the fancy term for getting it together before you turn on the stove. If you aren’t familiar with the phrase, you are likely familiar with the practice. It’s integral to fast-moving recipes where you don't have time to dig through the cupboard looking for that jar or can.
Here’s how it applies to our bean bowls.
1. Grab the recipe and gather all the ingredients
2. Chop the onion, jalapeno, and tomatoes. Mince the garlic and measure out the oregano or keep the jar and measuring spoon handy. Chop up the scallions, including the green parts.
3. Drain and rinse the beans. You can mix them in a bowl as you’ll be adding them together.
4. Measure and rinse the quinoa (1 cup) and the vegetable broth (2 ½ cups).
Now, you’re ready to cook!
Make sure you have a pot big enough to add all the ingredients – don’t forget, we’re going for one-pot. Because we never add oil, it’s essential to heat the pot before you add the onions. One of the main reasons onions and other veggies stick to the bottom of the pan when you dry fry them is because they are added to a cold pan.
The unscientific explanation for this is that when you add onions to a cold pan, they will start to heat very slowly. This allows the moisture to accumulate in the bottom with makes your onions stick. The efficacy of this approach depends on the type of pan you use as well as how hot you get the pan and how diligently you stir the onions.
If all else fails, and your onions and jalapenos start sticking, add a tablespoon of water or more. Be sure to stir that in. It’s another reason you did that prep work (mise en place).
Now, add the garlic and oregano and give it a quick stir. 30 seconds should be enough for the garlic to release its flavor. After that, we’ll finish the sauce part by adding the tomatoes. Give the tomatoes about 10 minutes to simmer on low. If you cover them, the added moisture will help them break down.
Be sure to rinse the quinoa before you add it (. ). Straight from the bag, quinoa can be a bit dusty, and sometimes it retains a bitter outer coating known as saponins. Both can easily be mitigated by rinsing quinoa through a small mesh strainer. Take a moment to mix the quinoa around so that it’s evenly distributed.
Once you’ve taken the final step of adding the beans and cilantro, your only job is adding the broth and getting the quinoa cooked. It takes about 15 minutes for it to get tender. This should be enough time for the liquid to absorb and the quinoa to cook.
Be sure you cook the quinoa at a low simmer. If you let the pot boil, it will beat up your cooked beans.
I’ve done some experimenting, and my preference is to cook the quinoa uncovered. This is not just because I can keep an eye on the pot. A lid allows moisture to accumulate that can make the quinoa sticky. Give it a try – it might change the way you cook quinoa forever.
Personally, I like a ‘dish and go’ approach to this recipe. Besides, by the time the quinoa cooks, I’m starving, so I'm apt to just pile it in a bowl and go. But this is a dish that likes being dressed for dinner. Try a few slices of avocado (what meal isn’t better with avocado?). A bit of salsa Molcajete or just the jarred stuff also makes a tasty topping. We like the crunchiness of sliced scallion greens or peppery chopped cilantro. If you happen to have a few potato wraps, you can even whip up a burrito. 'Everyday' eating does not a bored eater make. Peace.Print
Southwestern beans and quinoa
One-pot Southwestern beans and quinoa is packed with a savory plant-based combination of black and kidney beans and a flavorful seasoned tomato sauce.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Main Courses
- Cuisine: plant-based
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1-2 jalapenos diced (optional). Remove the seeds if you don’t want the heat
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp. oregano
- 6 plum tomatoes, chopped 1 ½ cups
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 3-4 scallions (green onions, the green parts, cut on the bias (at 450 angles)
- 1-15 oz. (400 gm.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1-15 oz. (400 gm.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup of cilantro (coriander) chopped (more if you want it for a garnish)
- 2 ½ cups vegetable broth
- Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat and then add the onions and jalapenos. Sauté them for about 5 minutes until they start to soften.
- Stir in the garlic and oregano and continue sautéing for another 30 seconds.
- Add the diced tomatoes. Stir them in and allow them to simmer for about 10 minutes until they start to break down.
- Add the quinoa and scallions, then mix in the beans and cilantro. Add 2 ½ cups of broth. Be sure to stir everything well.
- Lower the heat of the pot to a slow simmer. At this point, you can cover the pot or leave the lid off. You want to simmer until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. This should take about 15 minutes.
- Start with a heated pot before adding the onions and jalapenos. A hot pan helps to keep the veggies from sticking.
- Be sure to always rinse the quinoa before you cook it. Quinoa can retain a bitter flavor when it is processed. A simple rinse through a finer mesh colander eliminates does the trick.
- Depending on the liquid content of the tomatoes you use, you may need to add more broth, or you may find more liquid than you like. In this case, allow the dish to simmer for another 5 minutes until it cooks down.
- To reheat leftovers on the stove top, mix in ½ cup of water (or broth). This dish also heats in the microwave. Be mindful to stir it halfway through and cover it in case a few beans decide to explode.
Keywords: beans and quinoa