Monday, October 03, 2016

Black Bean-Quinoa Stew, Massaged Kale Salad with Tomato (No Added Fat)

I had the idea of cooking black beans, which my daughter loves, with quinoa and making it into a soup. It would have great nutrition, of course, but the quinoa I thought would also add a nice binding texture. On further consideration, I thought I'd make a thicker stew; we have friends returning from a trip and I wanted to have dinner for them when I pick them up tonight, and a stew would be easier to transport without leaking.

Quinoa cooks very quickly and I thought I'd cook the beans in the pressure cooker and then separately cook the quinoa stovetop, and just mix. But I was out and my wife wanted to get the beans going, so I had her cook the beans and quinoa together; expecting a smooth overcooked quinoa, I was going to add in some stovetop quinoa. Here is what I actually did:

  • 2 cups black beans, rinsed, soaked in ample water overnight, then rinsed again
  • Enough water to cover the beans and then 1/4"
  • 2 cloves garlic finely (1/8") diced
  • 1 cup onion cut into 3/8" cubes
  • Vegan bouillon cube (I omitted because we were out of the cubes)
  • Large bell pepper cut into 3/8" cubes (a little over a cup)
  1. I had my wife put the beans, water, garlic, and onion (and, if we had one, a bouillon cube), into my Instant Pot pressure cooker and cooked for 25m.
  2. By the time I got home, the cooking was done and pressure was low enough that I could easily open the pot, which I did (alternatively, I'd wait a few minutes then carefully let remaining pressure out first).
  3. I was very pleasantly surprised that the texture was just right. I mixed in the bell pepper. I think that I had in mind adding salt, but I forgot. The quinoa added both texture and taste, and really, though just a bit bland, the dish stood on its own without seasoning.
I also cooked some frozen corn kernels waterlessly in a small Saladmaster stock pan, mixing in lime juice, salt, and, for my wife and my servings, a bit of jerk seasoning. A massaged kale salad with a bit of tomato completed our meal.

Dinner was good. Surprisingly, even my daughter liked everything - she doesn't like quinoa, but she liked it served this way. Maybe it's a texture issue for her? I usually add raw onion to the end after a dish has pressure cooked, but it was nice in this dish to have the onion so soft it essentially melted away into the dish.

Ideas for the future

I liked the main course as it was, but it would be even better with a bit of jalapeno or other heat, cumin, a few bay leaves, salt, and maybe oregano. Ginger would be good cooked with the beans. The main course was soft and I found I wanted a bit of crunch, so had seconds and served a few crispy whole wheat crackers, which went well with the beans.

I should try making a bean and quinoa soup, as originally planned, by adding cooked quinoa to cooked beans. I should definitely experiment with more dishes that have had quinoa cooked under pressure for so long - it makes a nice texture matrix for a dish.

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