This post is brought to you by today’s guest contributor, Sara Wall.
Just like many others before us, my husband and I explore ways to improve our health. Motivation abounds from the desire to feel better, be active and energetic, strengthen our immune systems, and pass on healthy eating habits to our child. I mainly wish for our daughter to have a fondness for whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, with a knowledge base of how to prepare them herself. Meals focusing on plants became a fixture in our home almost two years ago. As we learned to create plant strong dishes, our meal variety expanded to include flavors and spices we had never before attempted. We are still trying to find the right meals and snacks that work for our family’s nutritional goals. However, any opportunity to incorporate whole foods into daily life is fantastic. Making changes or incorporating new foods can be overwhelming. Remember to focus on progress, not perfection! It’s the combined effort of all the small changes made each week that matters.
One Pan Mexican Quinoa is a meal I wanted to share for multiple reasons:
1. I’m a lover of Mexican food. Bring on the green chiles!
2. The dish is easy to assemble (this is coming from someone who only started cooking at home at age 29), all the ingredients are just thrown in one pan, and it only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.
3. My two year old is a fan. If she likes to eat what we eat, meal time is much less stressful and time consuming.
4. This dish is lovely, brightly colored, full of fiber, and boasts 15 grams of protein per serving.
5. It’s completely plant based. If your family goal is to have a meal with an emphasis on plants, or you are trying for a meatless dinner, this one is quick and easy. I tweaked it a bit to fit our personal tastes. The original recipe can be found here.
One Pan Mexican Quinoa
- 1 teaspoon of water or olive oil. I sauté the vegetables with water in the pan, but if you wish to add a little flavor, by all means sauté with oil.
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 jalapeño minced or 1/4 cup mild green chile pepper. We usually sub the green chile for the jalapeño simply due to personal preferences and my obsession with green chile. I bet it would taste fantastic with both, actually.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 15 oz can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (personal addition as I love the flavor it adds!)
- 1 avocado
- Juice of 1 lime
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Tablespoon of cilantro. This is for garnish, so if you loathe cilantro as some of my family members do, it’s easily left off.
1. Heat water or oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, jalapeño and/or green chile and cook while stirring frequently. Cook until fragrant, about one minute.
2. Stir in quinoa, vegetable broth, beans, tomatoes, corn, chili powder, smoked paprika, and cumin; season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
3. Stir in avocado, lime juice, and cilantro.
Tangy Avocado Lime Sauce
I happen to like a tangy avocado lime sauce drizzled on this dish, so this is the recipe I use from The Garden Grazer:
- 1/2 ripe avocado
- 1/2 cup cilantro, stem removed (this ingredient may be omitted per taste)
- Juice of one lime
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp agave or honey
- 1/8 tsp salt
In a food processor or blender, add all sauce ingredients and blend. Add a touch of water to thin if necessary and tweak seasonings as desired.
That’s it! Best wishes on your quest!