Raise your hand if you buy quinoa in bulk and still can’t seem to keep up with demand. Rice is falling out of favor as one of our primary starches (pasta still rules) as quinoa slowly takes its place.
Quinoa hasn’t missed a beat fitting in my weekly menu. In our family of two, fish, roasted vegetables, salads, stir-fried greens and vegetarian pastas are our staples. I tend to prepare quinoa in the style of fried rice (sautéed in olive oil, garlic and some seasonings); it makes for a tasty and satisfying side dish but it’s not necessarily something one would run to share in a food blog. Unlike these quinoa cakes that were one of my first recipes using this versatile seed–still one of my favorites today.
Then I threw together this empty-out-the-fridge dish for lunch recently and it completely changed my mind about the whole quinoa-is good-but-not-exciting idea.
I had shallots, garlic, ginger, scallions, my homemade chili sauce and leftover black beans from a recent taco night. The latter would have gone to waste as I couldn’t think of a dish to add them to so in they went, too. The aromatics build layers of flavor once they’re sautéed in olive oil and adding just a little of both fish sauce and soy sauce lend a lot of depth. You can skip the fish sauce to make this a completely vegetarian meal but you lose some of the umami that I feel makes this dish stand out. The beans added a pleasing texture and body to the stir-fry, making this a complete one-dish meal without meat or other special additions. Don’t forget to drizzle a little vinegar or lemon juice on top before serving. If you aren’t a fan of quinoa yet, this dish may turn you into one. It’s become a regular part of our rotation around here. And yes, I was so happy after my first taste that I couldn’t wait to share this recipe with you here.
1. If you’re not a fan of quinoa yet, feel free to mix in some brown or white rice.
2. To make this dish completely vegan without missing out on the umami, try vegan fish sauce.
3. Black beans really are better here. I tried cannellini beans which I also really like but they didn’t stand up to the other ingredients as nicely as the black beans did.
- 1½ - 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 - 1½ cups canned black beans
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger
- 1 - 2 teaspoons chili sauce
- Splash fish sauce
- Splash soy sauce
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Oil, for stir-frying
- garnish: scallions
- condiment: Vinegar with peppers and garlic
- On medium high heat: cook shallots until lightly colored at edges, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add splash of fish sauce and the chili sauce. Add quinoa, beans and soy sauce (and more fish sauce if desired). Add more oil if necessary. Stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with scallions, plate and serve.