One of my goals for the year is to master the 30-minute meal. Don’t get me wrong – I love spending time in the kitchen, and sometimes, you just need extra time to get things done. But often, thirty minutes to prepare dinner is all I care to squeeze out on a busy day.
So here’s my first crack at a 30-minute meal here on the blog for 2012. The thirty minutes means start to finish, including the prep time for the vegetables. I think it’s going to be a “go-to” meal for me on busy days.
Quinoa is a perfect grain for the 30-minute meal as it cooks up in 15-20 minutes. I get that going first, then I start on my veggies. Whenever the quinoa is cooked, I shut off the fire and let it sit, covered, until everything else is ready to go.
This meals is pretty typical of how I cook dinner on an average night in that it is a two-pot meal: one pot with a grain, and another pot with a veggie-and-bean (or lentil, or tempeh) saucy stew.
And I do find that the “sauciness” is an important component. Sometimes it’s created by tomato sauce; other times I use coconut milk to create the sauce. In this case, I don’t drain the canned beans – rather, I put the entire contents of the can into the pot, liquid and all. (Because of this, I use a good quality brand of organic canned beans, rather than the cheapest kinds that tend to contain more salt.) If you make this with home-cooked (rather than canned) black beans, just use some of the bean cooking water.
Oh, and I may need to make another goal for 2012 – to improve my recipe-naming skills. This one is “Mexican-style” because of the black beans, jalapeno, cumin, cilantro, and lime juice. So I hope it is enough to entice you to make this!
Serves: 3 Time: 30 minutes
To serve more, increase the amounts of beans and quinoa. I like to cook quinoa in a ratio of 1 cup quinoa to 1 3/4 cups water for the best texture. As with any whole grain, but especially with quinoa, rinse and drain it before cooking.
1 cup quinoa
1 teaspoon veggie stock powder
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2-3 cups chopped kale (I used lacinato kale in the above photo)
1 (14-oz) can organic black beans, with liquid (or 1 1/2 cups cooked beans with 1/4 cup cooking liquid)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro, plus extra for garnish
pepitas (pumpkin seeds), optional
In a medium pot, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Add the veggie stock powder, a pinch of salt, and the quinoa. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the red bell pepper, red onion, jalapeno pepper and a pinch of salt and saute for 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. Add the garlic, cumin, and thyme and saute for one minute. Add the kale with another pinch of salt and saute for five minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of water to the pan if it gets dry. The kale should wilt down and soften up.
Add the beans with their liquid into the pan and cook for five minutes to heat the beans through. Turn the fire off and squeeze half of the lime into the pan. Add the cilantro and salt and pepper to taste. Serve the bean mixture with the quinoa and garnish with additional cilantro, lime wedges, and pepitas (optional – not pictured).
© 2011 BistroKatie.com
What are your favorite 30-minute meals?