I started making different versions of this dish when I started volunteering for the Louisville Ballet. Our volunteer group’s purpose was to provide and serve the dancers after their matinee performance so they didn’t have to leave the theater before their evening performance.
Needless to say, I ended up creating my own version of it, and then it began to be scavenged by the hungry dancers! It’s not surprising, as they needed something healthy, yet filling to fuel their athletic bodies before another tiresome performance. I usually doubled the recipe when making it for the dancers and served it out of a casserole dish.
It’s full of protein, filling and also VERY EASY to throw together for dinners or events. The flavor content is also high, as I have you use broth in lieu of water to prepare the quinoa.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth (I used Imagine Foods Low Sodium broth)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil (or your choice of high heat cooking oil)
1 cup frozen corn
15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
16 oz. jar of black bean and corn salsa (I used this 365 Whole Foods brand)
optional toppings/sides: green onions, chopped cilantro, avocado, tortilla chips
Combine quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat once boiling and cover with a lid. Simmer about 15 minutes or until the grains are soft and translucent. Set aside when it is finished cooking.
Chop the pepper. Set aside.
Char the corn. Place the oil in a skillet (I used a large cast iron skillet). Heat to medium high and add the frozen corn. Spread it into a flat layer and allow it to cook until the corn begins to brown. The corn may make a popping noise (and actually pop out of the pan…I learned this the hard way! LOL!). If this happens, turn the heat down and continue to cook until the corn is charred (brownish-black, but not burned).
Once the corn is charred, add the chopped peppers. Lower the heat to medium and cook the mixture until the peppers are tender.
Add the drained and rinsed black beans to the corn and pepper mixture. Cook 3-5 more minutes, or until the beans are warm.
Remove from heat.
Stir in the cooked quinoa and the salsa. Combine well.
Serve by itself or with tortilla chips. Top with cilantro, avocado or green onions, if desired.
Tips and Tricks:
You don’t have to use black bean and corn salsa. If you have a different kind on hand, use that! The flavor may vary depending on the type you use and the brand.
You don’t have to char the corn if you are pressed for time. I just like the flavor of charred corn, so that’s why I wrote the recipe to include it. You could also buy pre-charred corn. Some grocery stores sell it as “fire-roasted” in the frozen foods section.
Don’t like the veggies I used? Switch them out for your favorites. Try green peppers, green chilies, orange or yellow peppers. See how much color you can add to make it even prettier!
Don’t need to make this vegan or vegetarian? Use chicken broth in lieu of the vegetable broth.