The other night I had plans to meet up with friends at the Unicorn. So after work on the bus ride, I started scanning the contents of my kitchen, in my brain. I looked at the grain shelf first: wild rice...takes too long; brown rice...didn't sound good; white rice...nah; couscous...had it recently; quinoa...ahah! quick and easy...and has a good amount of protein. Ok, so quinoa would be the base.
I had a sneaking suspicion of a can of black beans on the shelf next to the coconut oil. And I knew a bag of corn was perched on top of a bag of pretzels in the freezer. You did read that right, I put my pretzels in the freezer. I bought a big bag of them a while ago and found that I wasn't going to finish them before they got stale. And one thing I have learned from doing nutrition research, is how well a lot of food freezes. So I experimented with pretzels, and low and behold they keep really well and defrost almost immediately.
Anyway, back to scanning on the busride. Half of a deeply colored red pepper was on the bottom shelf of the fridge next to a bundle of green onions. Ok this meal was quickly materializing like a Polaroid picture. I hopped off the bus, satisfied with the plan.
So walking in the door, I immediately got the quinoa cooking. Meanwhile, sauted some onion and corn. I did this first, and then after turning off the heat, I added the black beans. Stirring the beans in this way still gives them the flavor of the onions but doesn't overcook the beans and make them dry.
I mixed in some red pepper and green onion and a few garlic cloves. All tossed with the quinoa, it was quite pretty. I dished up a bowl, and realized I needed a little more protein, so quickly fried an egg and flipped it into the bowl. Very quick, full of color and a solid base for the rest of the night. Oh and it was on St. Patrick's day, so the confetti idea was a celebratory move.
A quick note: I really did just toss this all together, so I am going to loosely list ingredients and steps below. You can add or subtract as you see fit...or make it a different way, and tell me about it!
Makes about 3 servings
1 cup quinoa, dry
Water, to fill pot
1/3 onion, minced
3/4 cup frozen corn
Red pepper flakes to taste
1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red pepper, diced
1 green onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
Olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
1 fried egg per serving
Start with the quinoa. Fill a pot with water (4 cups at least, so that it is more than enough for the quinoa) and add the quinoa. Bring to a boil and cook for 10-15 minutes, until done. You will know when it is done, because the outer part of the grains start to unravel.
Meanwhile, saute the onion in a little olive oil. Do this on medium low heat so they don't burn. Once they have softened and cooked through to be translucent, add the frozen corn. Saute until the corn starts to brown a little. Add red pepper flakes for a little spice. Turn off heat and add the black beans. Mix well.
Fully drain the quinoa and put in a medium bowl. Add the corn mixture, red peppers, green onion, garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix well. Add any other seasoning you wish. Top with a fried egg for extra protein. This is so good, you may have to tell yourself to slow down as you eat.