Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pineapple-Chipotle Black Bean Quinoa Bowl

I'm on a sweet-spicy recipe theme this week. Why not? There's something extra comforting and satisfying about the balance of flavours, perfect antidote for the cold, dreary weather we've been having.

I also seem to be adding kale to everything. I think it's taken the place of broccoli as my favorite green vegetable.

I also experimented with another green veggie for this dish: chayote. I always see these guys (which, because of their seam look like little green bums to me...), but have never bought them before. Curiousity got to me so I took a few home.

Turns out these are a mild tasting variety of squash, native to Mexico. To bring out the most flavour, I decided to roast them before throwing them into this dish. The result is tasty and less sweet than something like a butternut squash, with a firmer consistency. Nutritionally, these guys are a good source of Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Folate, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.

Note that chipotle peppers pack heat so if you aren't a spice lover, you can omit and add 1 tsp smoked paprika instead.

2 chayote squash, diced (or sub 1 lb butternut squash, or 2-3 zucchini)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 tbls chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 red bell peppers, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely diced (or 1 tsp smoked paprika)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 can crushed pineapple, with juice
1 bunch kale, chopped, tough stems removed
1 can tomato paste
A few handfuls fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (optional)

1.5 cups quinoa
2.5 cups water

For the chayote, toss it with oil and seasonings and spread on a baking sheet. Roast at 350F for 45 minutes.

For the quinoa, place in a medium sized pot along with water over high heat. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to medium-low. Simmer until liquid has been absorbed. Turn off heat and let stand.

In a large skillet over medium heat saute onion, garlic, peppers, roasted chayote, and spices in oil for about 5 minutes. Add beans, vinegar and pineapple and kale and simmer until kale has softened, but is still bright green. Stir in tomato paste and simmer until sauce has thickened. Add cooked quinoa to skillet and mix well. Mix in cilantro, if using, just before serving. MServes 4 as as main dish.

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