In San Diego there was a fast food restaurant that I sort of fell in love with. The place was called CBW, I’m pretty sure it stands for Crazy Bowls & Wraps, and they serve salads, bowls, and wraps. What I really liked about this place was that they had 3 options for filling. White rice, brown rice, and quinoa(!!). Quinoa is not something that you usually see at a fast food restaurant, but I absolutely love it. It’s a super food because it is a complete protein, high in dietary fiber, magnesium, and iron, and it is a source of calcium. Needless to say, when I saw it on the menu the first time we went there I was pretty excited.
I had 2 favorite menu items that I liked to order and when I saw this Mexican Quinoa on Annie’s Eats last year, it immediately reminded me of one of those items. So I made it for dinner one night and it has quickly become a staple in our meal rotation. It’s quick and easy, filling, and super good for you. Over the year I have made some adaptations and bumped up the veggie content (to more closely match the bowl at CBW). That’s the other great thing about this meal, it’s another one that is versatile. You can adjust the veggies, add extra spices, use different kinds of canned tomatoes. When I photographed this meal I used fire roasted tomatoes and added smoked paprika and a dash of Chipotle chile powder to give it a bit of slow-cooked smokey taste. I love that I can make small adjustments like that so the meal isn’t exactly the same every time I make it (though it has always been delicious!).
2 tsp olive oil
2-3 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped into small chunks
1 small zucchini, chopped into small chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well and drained
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, with juices (I like to use fire roasted when I have it!)
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp paprika (or smoked paprika)
1/4-1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder (optional)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 quarter of a lime, juiced
Sour cream, cheese, lime, avocado, hot sauce (all optional for serving)
In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add the jalapenos, bell pepper, and zucchini, cook for 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds. Stir in the quinoa, broth, black beans, tomatoes with juices, and frozen corn. Season with salt, paprika, and chipotle powder (if using). Bring to a boil then reduce heat and put a lid on the skillet. Simmer for 20-25 minutes or until all of the broth/juice has been absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh cilantro and lime juice. Serve with sour cream, cheese, extra lime, avocado slices, and hot sauce.