And to think that I used to not even like quinoa. What’s happening to me, you guys?
So this Mexican-type casserole is life changingly amazing, but first, let’s catch up. Mother’s Day just happened.
Did you have an awesome one? I was far far away from my mom and family, but something really sweet happened: our young married neighbors invited us out to lunch with them to celebrate Mother’s Day with their sweet 6 month old baby girl, Maggy. Even though he won’t hold her, or any baby for that matter (working on that one), Bjork says she’s the cutest baby he’s ever seen in his entire life. And he has good taste in babies. She is seriously adorable.
The cheeks. Ohhhh the baby cheeks. We were thrilled that they invited us and a little nervous since this last year, we’ve spent most of our time socializing with kids under 10 years old. But they are so friendly, we had a great time, and I was honestly so touched that they showed such hospitality to us.
Now for a flavor explosion. Do you see all that goodness in the slightly bent skillet? That’s onion, garlic, and JALAPEÑO. Truth: I had to capitalize that because I don’t know how to make a tilde on the n using lower case letters. But it works because that spicy green guy adds capital D-ELICIOUS flavor, right along with that fragrant garlic (♥) and sweet onion.
And then those peppers that look like they’re roasted? That’s more of a 5 minute trick that I do sometimes when I don’t want to sweat to my death in our hot apartment. They just get fake-out blistered a tiny bit by leaving them in the hot, dry skillet without stirring. Not fancy, but still totally pretty and yummy.
This whole quinoa black bean casserole thing is actually a remake of an earlier post I did: Southwest Black Bean Casserole. By earlier, I mean like 2 years ago earlier.
At that time I was probably still calling quinoa kin-o-wa because I was clueless. Or because I didn’t like and I was being spiteful. Now I’m more open-minded, I call it keen-wa, and I actually know how to hide it in my food to make myself enjoy it.
I basically replaced the ground turkey in the older version of this recipe with the quinoa in this recipe. It’s possibly the most I’ve ever loved this weird healthy semi-crunchy stuff, although I also equally loved it in last week’s curry squash quinoa. I dry-toasted it (that’s fancy terminology for “put it in a hot pan with nothing else”) with some spices and and salt, and it was so delicious even just plain. What? Plain. I said it.
Then it gets layered between the most delicious black bean garlic onion jalapeÑo mixture reminiscent of homemade refried beans, and a top layer of blistered sweet bell peppers, and then you bake it with my favorite ingredient of the whole world lately: cheese. White, melty, ooey gooey cheese.
I didn’t bother finding Mexican cheese… it just doesn’t exist here. So I used some really melty Mozzarella and my new favorite, Emmental. Yum. Do they have Emmental cheese in America, and is it cheaper than it is the Philippines? I feel so out of touch.
PS. Chips chips chips chips chipschipschips.
PSS. HINT OF LIME. It’s kind of trickery because I’m showing you Bjork’s man-hand dipping a girly RiceWorks chip into this yummy mountain of Mexican black bean casserole goodness, but if you’re a Hint of Lime person, you won’t be dissapointed with this combo. Or maybe you could buy some of those citrus-y and extra salty ones from Chipotle?
I think I just had a business idea.
I love this so much that I’ve decided it will be my TV snack when I watch the last ever episode of the Office. Which, by the way, I’m already emotional about. I read an article about Pam today (ok fine, Jenna Fischer) and I almost cried. That’s… my real life.
Distracting myself with chips now.
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 4½ cups cooked black beans, rinsed
- 1¼ cup vegetable broth
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 4 bell peppers, diced (mine were red and yellow)
- 1¼ cup shredded Mexican cheese
- sliced green onions
- Black beans: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, and jalapeno, sauteing for 4 minutes and stirring occasionally. Stir in broth and black beans. Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Mash beans to desired consistency. I like to make them a little more like refried beans while still leaving some of the beans whole. The mixture should be thick, not watery. If you still have a lot of moisture, let it cook out by keeping it on the heat for another few minutes. Taste and season with salt.
- Quinoa: In a dry nonstick skillet over medium high heat, toss and toast the cooked quinoa with the cayenne, chili powder, cumin, and salt for 1-2 minutes. Taste and season with salt. Set aside.
- Peppers: In the same dry nonstick skillet over medium high heat, place the diced peppers and do NOT stir. This allows the peppers to get a brown roasted look on the outside. Wait for 2-3 minutes before stirring, then let them "roast" for another few minutes before removing from the heat.
- Assemble: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spoon black bean mixture into a glass baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with quinoa, bell peppers, and cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the top layer of cheese was golden and bubbly. Sprinkle with green onions and let cool for at least 10 minutes (otherwise it will be too runny). Serve with sour cream, tortilla chips, on tacos, on a salad, or just eat it plain!