If it were up to the rest of my family I think they would eat Mexican food everyday. Maybe I should re-phrase that…if it were up to my little Cailyn she would eat a bean and cheese burrito for every meal from any Mexican restaurant in town! I’ve tried to re-create the “restaurant bean and cheese burritos” at home, but she tells me they are just not the same.
I love me some Mexican food too, but I’ve had a really hard time enjoying it lately after having eliminated meat from my diet. Either I’m not very adventurous in wanting to try something new or the Mexican restaurant menus just don’t have a lot of “meatless” dishes to choose from. We rarely go out to eat, but when we do I seem to order the same “bean and cheese” tostada on a corn tortilla with extra lettuce and sliced avocado and frankly, I’m getting burned out!
We all seemed to have the itch for Mexican food this week, so I brought out one of
my our favorite meals. And to top it off, nothing is fried or dripping in grease! Instead it is packed with a whole lot of nutrition. Here’s some of the low-down on one of the main ingredients used in this simple and delicious meal…quinoa.
Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked.
Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this "grain" may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, and diabetes.
If you cannot find it in your local supermarket, look for it at natural foods stores, which usually carry this super grain.
Store quinoa in an airtight container. It will keep for a longer period of time, approximately three to six months, if stored in the refrigerator.
Yields 8 burritos
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves passed through a garlic press
1/2 red pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 can (15oz.) black beans, drained, rinsed, and lightly mashed
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 1/2 cups salsa (homemade or jarred)
8 whole-wheat or brown rice tortillas
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (more if you want to add cheese inside your burrito)
**I’ve also added 2 cups of baby spinach (chopped) during the last five minutes of cooking the quinoa.
In a medium saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat and cook onion , red pepper, and garlic until soft, but not browned. Place quinoa, paprika, cumin, corn, and vegetable broth into the saucepan and cook following the package directions.
While the quinoa is cooking, heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Once the quinoa is cooked, stir in the beans and 1 cup of the salsa.
Place a 1/2 cup of the quinoa mixture in the center of each tortilla and fold like a package. Place seam-side down on the baking sheet.
Top the burritos with the remaining salsa and cheese, dividing equally. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
Nourishing Thought for Today:
A Few Quick Serving Ideas for Quinoa:
Combine cooked chilled quinoa with pinto beans, pumpkin seeds, scallions and coriander. Season to taste and enjoy this south-of-the-border inspired salad.
Add nuts and fruits to cooked quinoa and serve as breakfast porridge.
For a twist on your favorite pasta recipe, use noodles made from quinoa.
Sprouted quinoa can be used in salads and sandwiches just like alfalfa sprouts.
Add quinoa to your favorite vegetable soups.
Ground quinoa flour can be added to cookie or muffin recipes. (I also like to use quinoa flakes for baking!)