Hands up if you love quinoa!
(I hope you’ve all got your hands up right now, otherwise I feel a bit silly for waving my arms madly here)
Now hands up if you love quinoa with enchilada sauce and black beans and veg and a crispy cheesy topping…
This Mexican quinoa bake is pretty much my new favourite thing ever (I know I say that a lot… but I always mean it at the time). The vegetables and black beans make this a hearty casserole, but the fluffy quinoa keeps it light. And the cheesy topping…
I literally just sighed. That’s the only way to describe this cheesy topping. I used a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella – the cheddar gives a great flavour and crispiness, and the mozzarella gives those stretchy, stringy bits of cheese that make me want to cry in a really good way.
(just kidding, I don’t actually cry over cheese, usually)
Pair this Mexican quinoa bake with a big pile of salad and maybe a slice or two of garlic bread, and you’ve got the perfect dinner – it’s comfort food, but it’s pretty healthy as far as comfort food goes. You could use brown rice instead of quinoa if you prefer, but personally I think the quinoa is a big part of what makes this dish so amazing. It’s got such a great texture (did I mention fluffy?), and it’s higher in fibre, protein, and iron.
One of the best things about this recipe is that everyone will love it – meat-eaters and veggies alike. Don’t let your carnivorous friends be put off by the quinoa (even if it does sound like something you would eat at a vegan yoga retreat in the Himalayas) – once they taste it they’ll be 100% converted.
Mexican quinoa bake
- 175 g quinoa
- 500 ml vegetable stock plus extra water if needed
- 1 tbsp oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 onion diced
- 1 red pepper diced
- 3 spring onions sliced
- 100 g sweetcorn kernels
- 1 x 400g tin black beans 240g when drained, drained and rinsed
- 4 tbsp fresh coriander chopped
- 250 g red enchilada sauce shop-bought or homemade
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
- Black pepper
- 100 g grated cheese I used a mozzarella and cheddar mix
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
- Boil the quinoa in the vegetable stock for around 15 minutes - the quinoa should become soft and the spiral-shaped germ should detach, and the liquid should all be absorbed. If the liquid begins to dry up before the quinoa is ready, just add a dash more water and mix well. When the liquid is nearly gone, you will need to turn the heat down fairly low to prevent the quinoa from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- While the quinoa is cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan, and add the garlic, onion and red pepper. Cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, until the vegetables are almost soft. Remove from the heat, and add the spring onions, sweetcorn, drained black beans and fresh coriander. Stir in the enchilada sauce and the cooked quinoa, and then add the spices as necessary (if your sauce was particularly spicy you might decide to skip the additional chilli powder). Season to taste, and mix well to combine.
- Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish, and sprinkle over the grated cheese. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until the cheese is golden and crispy, and the quinoa mixture is piping hot.