Wheatless Wednesday – Quinoa Black Bean Tacos with Chili Lime Sauce

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I – LOVE – THESE – TACOS!  They have all the Yum (and protein) and none of the unhealthy. Ever since the popularity of my Black Bean Chili Con Quinoa, I have been wanting to make a taco version .  I have been craving tacos and these did not disappoint.  Picture spicy quinoa and rich, earthy black beans topped with avocado, jalapenos, black olives and crumbly queso drizzled with a creamy chili, lime sauce.  I DID NOT MISS THE MEAT!

Quinoa makes a great meat substitute.  It has great texture when added to sauces and the red quinoa is visually appealing as well, although you could use any color quinoa you have in your pantry.  Quinoa is known as ‘The Mother of all Grains’ because of its health benefits.   It is a complete protein that contains all nine of the essential amino acids and the highest fiber content of any of the whole grains.   Loaded with vitamins and minerals, it is high in magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron, the most common minerals that people lack. Not only is quinoa a nutritional powerhouse, it is also a smart little cookie.  It creates saponin, a naturally bitter substance, to protect itself against hungry foragers who don’t like the bitter taste.  Saponin comes off easily in water, so make sure you don’t skip the step of rinsing your quinoa in a fine sieve before cooking.

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Black Beans are a personal favorite of mine for their rich and earthy flavor, but they are also loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.  Digging in to these tacos with both black beans AND quinoa, you won’t leave the table hungry… but you may go back for seconds.  Just sayin’.

TIPS:  I like to saute the cooked quinoa with onions and garlic before adding the tomato and spices, however, if you are looking for a shortcut (even if its just saving the extra pan to wash). saute the onion and then add the quinoa and 1 cup of water and cook until the water  has evaporated and the quinoa ‘tails’ have come out. Then add the spices, tomatoes, beans and more water if necessary and cook another 5 minutes or so.

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QUINOA BLACK BEAN TACOS WITH CHILI LIME SAUCE

1/2  cup red quinoa
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup water or vegetable broth
1 cup crushed tomatoes (or small can tomato paste with extra liquid)
2 Tbsn chili powder
1 Tbsn ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1.4 tso black pepper
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 corn tortillas

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CREAMY CHILE LIME SAUCE
1 cup plain yogurt (any kind)
1 Tbsn chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin(optional)
2 Tbsn fresh lime juice

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TOPPINGS (Optional):
chopped cilantro
crumbled queso (Jack or cheddar cheese)
diced avocado
sliced black olives
choppe jalapenos
diced tomatoes
hot sauce
shredded lettuce

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  • Saute onion in olive oil over medium high heat until golden and tender, 3-5 minutes.

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  • Add cooked quinoa and garlic and saute several more minutes..

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  • Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, cayenne,  salt and pepper.  Add one cup of water or broth and simmer about 10 minutes.

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  • Add black beans and simmer, uncovered 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasion.

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  • Warm tortillas on low heat in a heavy covered cast iron pan, flipping to prevent the bottom tortillas from getting to crispy. Or heat them carefully in the microwave or keep them warm in a tortilla warmer (if you have one).

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  • Mix yogurt, chili powder, cumin and lime juice in a small bowl and set aside.  For easier (and more artistic) drizzling pour into a fine tipped squeeze bottle.

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  • Serve quinoa mixture with tortillas and desired toppings.  Drizzle with Chili Lime Sauce.

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If you want to completely ditch the carbs, how about a lovely taco salad – a lighter, flavor filled option.  Just pile it on and drizzle…. Maybe your artistic side will come out – or not!

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Quinoa Black Bean Tacos with Chili Lime Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1/2  cup red quinoa
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup water or vegetable broth
1 cup crushed tomatoes (or snall can tomato paste with extra liquid)
2 Tbsn chili powder
1 Tbsn ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1.4 tso black pepper
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 corn tortillas

CREAMY CHILE LIME SAUCE
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 Tbsn chili powder
2 Tbsn fresh lime juice

TOPPINGS (Optional):
chopped cilantro
crumbled queso (Jack or cheddar cheese)
diced avocado
sliced black olives
choppe jalapenos
diced tomatoes
hot sauce
shredded lettuce

  • Saute onion in olive oil over medium high heat until golden and tender, 3-5 minutes.
  • Add cooked quinoa and garlic and saute several more minutes..
  • Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, cayenne,  salt and pepper.  Add one cup of water or broth and simmer about 10 minutes.
  • Add black beans and simmer, uncovered 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasion
  • Warm tortillas in a heavy covered cast iron pan, flipping to prevent the bottom tortillas from getting to crispy.
  • Mix yogurt, chili powder, cumin and lime juice in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Serve quinoa mixture with tortillas and desired toppings.  Drizzle with Chili Lime Sauce.

Wheatless Wednesday – Spicy Black Bean Soup

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Hippopotamus soup?  If you lived around 6000 BC that is what you could be having for dinner.  How about a nice hot bowl of Spicy Black Bean Soup instead?  Do you love soup?  You are not alone.  Soup has a huge place in history that you are probably not aware . There is a reason why you feel better after having a hot bowl of soup. Soup has always been known as the curative for any ailment of the heart, mind, soul and body… and this old Yiddish saying says it best… “Troubles are easier to take with soup than without.”

Here are some known and little-known soup facts that I found kind of interesting (Compliments of Sara Gray)!

o Americans sip over 10 BILLION bowls of soup every single year! That’s a lot of soup!

o When was the earliest evidence of our ancestors eating soup? About 6000 BC! And guess what kind of soup it was? Hippopotamus!

o So, in the late 1700s, apparently the French King was so enamored with himself that he had his royal chefs create a soup that would allow him to see his own reflection in the bowl. Sheesh! But as a result, consommé (clear broth) was born.

o Since we’re talking about the French here’s another interesting tidbit of soup lore that I had to include on this Soup Facts page. In the French Court of Louis XI, the ladies’ meals were mostly soup. Guess what the reasoning was? They were afraid that chewing would make them break out in facial wrinkles! If this were true today, it would put plastic surgeons out of business!

oThis one cracked me up! And yet, it’s a fact that intertwines fashion, eating utensils and of course, soup! Here it is: Why did thin soups became all the rage in Europe during the 17th century? The spoon was invented. (How did they eat soup before the spoon???) Why was the spoon invented? Because of the latest fashion trend: large and stiff ruffles that the men and the women of the high courts wore around their necks. (I bet that’s how clowns got their ideas for their costumes!) The design of the spoon was to accommodate wearers of those large ruffles and keep themselves from getting dripped on!

o Frank Sinatra always asked for chicken and rice soup to be available to him in his dressing rooms before he went on stage.  Another famous person who loved soup was Andy Warhol. He told someone that he painted those famous soup cans because its what he had for lunch – every day for 20 years!

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 Black beans are the main component of this soup and they are rock stars in their own right.  Black beans have an amazing protein-plus-fiber content. From a single, one-cup serving of black beans you get nearly 15 grams of fiber (the amount consumed by the average U.S. adult in one entire day of eating) and 15 grams of protein.  Black beans are loaded with vitamins including molybdenum, folate, manganese, magnesium, vitamin B1 (thiamin), phosphorus and iron, all of which combine with their rich protein, fiber content to provide benefits for the digestive tract, the blood sugar regulatory system, and the cardiovascular system. Throw in some hot peppers, which not only have their share of vitamins and health benefits but they also help to boost your metabolism which can help burn more fat.  The best part of this yummy soup though, is that it is creamy without adding any dairy or thickeners. The trick is to puree one third to one half of the cooked soup to provide a rich creamy texture.  This is a vegan soup but it is hearty and flavorful and it’s wheat and gluten free.  It is also an easy, one pot meal. So grab a spoon and be glad we no longer drink from the bowl or wear clown inspiring collars!
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SPICY BLACK BEAN SOUP

2 Tbsn olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne (or more to taste)
3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
Sliced green onions, chopped cilantro and sriracha, as toppings (optional)
Cumin Lime Yogurt/Sour Cream (Optional) Recipe Below

 

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  • Saute the onions, garlic and jalapeno over medium heat until tender, about 4 minutes.

 

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  • Add the black beans, cumin, chili powder, cayenne and broth and simmer for 25 minutes.

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  • Blend one third to half of the soup, using a food processor, a blender or an immersion blender, leaving some whole beans for texture.

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  • Return the blended beans to the soup and stir to combine. Check seasoning and add cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.

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  • Serve with Cumin Lime Yogurt (recipe below), chopped cilantro and sliced scallions

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CUMIN LIME YOGURT/SOUR CREAM:

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1/2 cup yogurt, vegan yogurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Zest and juice of 1/2 a lime
pinch of sugar or honey

  •  Zest lime before cutting or squeezing.  Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Check seasonings and add more sugar, lime juice and cumin to taste.  Top with more zest for fun.

 

Black Bean Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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2 Tbsn olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne (or more to taste)
3 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
Sliced green onions, chopped cilantro and sriracha, as toppings (optional)

Cumin Lime Yogurt/Sour Cream:
1/2 cup yogurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Zest and juice of 1/2 a lime
pinch of sugar or honey
salt and pepper to taste

  • Saute the onions, garlic and jalapeno over medium heat until tender, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the black beans, cumin, chili powder, cayenne and broth and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Blend one third to half of the soup, using a food processor, a blender or an immersion blender, leaving some whole beans for texture.
  • Return the blended beans to the soup and stir to combine. Check seasoning and add cayenne, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with Cumin Lime Yogurt (recipe below), chopped cilantro and sliced scallions

CUMIN LIME YOGURT/SOUR CREAM:

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1/2 cup yogurt, vegan yogurt or sour cream
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Zest and juice of 1/2 a lime
pinch of sugar or honey

  •  Zest lime before cutting or squeezing.  Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Check seasonings and add more sugar, lime juice and cumin to taste.  Top with more zest for fun.

 

Wheatless Wednesday – Black Bean Quinoa Salad

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Tired of green salad?  This flavor filled quinoa salad with mango and avocado topped with an orange cumin vinaigrette is my new favorite!  I promise you won’t be bored. It’s a little bit spicy from the jalapenos, a little bit sweet from the mango, the black beans add a rich salty flavor and fresh avocado, purple onion, bell pepper and cilantro make it salad worthy.  Yum!

Quinoa is the perfect backdrop for these beautiful flavors.  It also happens to be a nutritional powerhouse, high in protein, low in fat, gluten free and loaded with lovely vitamins and minerals (but you don’t have to tell your family that).  What I didn’t know is that Mango is also a superfood, providing over 20 vitamins and minerals in every delicious bite. ( This puts a whole new light on my recipe for Mango Margaritas!)  Black beans add another protein and nutrient boost and their high fiber content helps keep your tummy full. Then there is the Avocado, which we now know is a good fat that is highly nutritious.   The best part of this salad though, is how great it tastes!  I can’t wait to have it again for lunch…

This is the perfect dish to throw together for an easy dinner or bring to a potluck, especially if you have leftover quinoa on hand (or you make it ahead), then it’s only about ten minutes of chopping, mixing and you’re done!  This salad can be made a day ahead, without the avocado.  Bring to room temperature then gently toss in the avocado, if using, before serving.

TIP:  You can buy mango pre-cut but it’s very easy to do it yourself (and less expensive) if you know the right technique.  How to cut a Mango

VARIATIONS:  If you don’t have, or like, mango, you can substitute orange or nectarine segments (or even canned or frozen corn).  Use a combination of yellow, orange, red and green bell peppers for lots of color.  This recipe is only mildly spicy using one red jalapeno pepper so double the amount of jalapeno peppers and add a bit more cumin if you like it hot.

Black Bean Mango Quinoa Salad

Black Bean Quinoa with Cumin Orange Vinaigrette

  • Difficulty: easy
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 Black Bean Mango Quinoa Salad4

1 cup quinoa
1 cup mango, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 red or green jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, diced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped
1 avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
 
 vinaigrette
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt

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  • Rinse quinoa to remove bitterness and cook according to package instructions; set aside and let cool.
  • To make the vinaigrette, whisk together olive oil, apple cider vinegar, orange juice, cumin and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine quinoa, mango, bell pepper, jalapeno, black beans, avocado, onion and cilantro. Pour the vinaigrette on top of the salad and gently toss to combine.
  • If you aren’t serving immediately, place the avocado pit on top of the salad to keep the avocado from turning brown, or add the avocado right before serving .  Serve at room temperature.

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