There is a slight downside to being a vegetarian. Recipes tend to be centered around bread or cheese. When I first started eating less meat in middle school, I was totally fine with that. To this day, I could probably still eat an entire sleeve of Town House crackers, and nothing else. But that’s not exactly healthy. Loading up on carbs & fats rather than protein can be an easy thing to do when you’re not eating meat, but with a little planning you can switch things up.
That’s what inspired this recipe. I wanted to make something that was a balance of protein, carbs, and fats. I wanted to take cheese out of the spotlight and use it for flavor rather than the main event. The quinoa is higher in protein than your typical white (or brown) rice and the beans provide both protein and fiber. It’s also gluten free!
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- ½ bell pepper
- ½ medium white onion
- ½ cup salsa (any type)
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- 1 cup sweet corn (frozen is fine)
- ¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 handful fresh cilantro
- ¼ cup guacamole or avocado (optional)
- Rinse the quinoa and then add it to a pot with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
- While that cooks, dice the pepper and onion and toss them in a large frying pan, cooking over medium heat for 5 minutes. It doesn't need to fully cook, just soften them a bit.
- Once the quinoa is cooked, stir in the salsa, black beans, corn, peppers, and onions.
- Add to a glass baking dish and sprinkle the cheese on top.
- Bake at 400 for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
- Top with avocado and cilantro and serve.
All in all this recipe came together really easily and it was still healthy & delicious! Alex and I actually split this up into two smaller casserole dishes and decided to save one for the weekend. This is definitely a good one for leftovers if you don’t eat it all at once. If you’re curious about the calories, click here for the nutritional information. Each serving (not including guacamole/avocado) has just over 300 calories, plus 14g of protein and 10g of fiber.
Want to make this recipe even easier? Make your quinoa in a rice cooker ahead of time!