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Hello all you readers of the Muffin Myth! I’m Erika from The Pancake Princess and I could not be more pleased to have the opportunity to guest post on Katie’s lovely blog. I’ve been enamored of her real food-focused blog ever since discovering date paste in her amazing no-sugar banana branners and I’m completely hooked on her what’s good around the web series. Katie, I hope your ankle heals fast and well and thanks for having me!

This is a recipe for one of my favorite vegetarian creations I’ve made in a while and I think it was one of my boyfriend’s too, judging from the way he went back for thirds. This was born of my continual search to find delicious things that can be made on the stovetop rather than in the oven while Houston shoulders the dog days of summer.

Mexican Black Bean Quinoa Skillet 1

I first made this black bean casserole at a friend’s house (she who doesn’t fear the oven…or the air-conditioning bills). The result: a heavy, bubbling pan of cheese over layers of blistered peppers and perfectly-spiced quinoa jumbled into creamy refried bean-like black beans. The dish, which had us raving for the entire time we ate it and for a good while after, took probably close to two hours to make including food prep, assembly and baking.

Mexican Black Bean Quinoa Skillet 2

I realized that the same effect (most importantly: the bubbling cheese) could probably be achieved on the stove. This stovetop version goes lighter on the beans, heavier on the vegetables, and decreases the overall volume for an amount that can fit in a frying pan. The entire process will take between 30-40 minutes, although you could speed it up with pre-chopped vegetables. The original casserole could serve a party with nine hefty servings; this version is more of a weekday creation for three or four.

Get excited, meat lovers—from a distance, the mixture of black beans and quinoa bears a frightening resemblance to ground meat (but tastes even better). Enjoy!

Mexican Black Bean Quinoa Skillet 3

INGREDIENTS

2 bell peppers, diced (any color)
½ cup corn

½ cup quinoa, uncooked (you can use up to 1 cup of quinoa for a heartier dish)
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste

½ tablespoon oil
1 cup chopped onion (about half a large onion)
1 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, minced
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed

1 tomato, chopped
½ cup shredded Mexican cheese

diced green onions

INSTRUCTIONS

For the peppers:
Set a medium saucepan over medium high heat (you will use this later to cook the quinoa). Add the diced peppers and corn and do NOT stir—this gives them a brown roasty look. Wait for 2-3 minutes before stirring, then let them “roast” for another few minutes before removing from the pan.

For the quinoa:
In the same now-empty saucepan, cook quinoa as directed. While quinoa is cooking, start the black beans (below). Once quinoa is cooked, stir in the chili powder and cumin. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

For the black beans:
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, jalapeno and garlic powder. Saute for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in the rinsed black beans and about 1 ½ cups of water (filling up the empty bean can should be about the right amount). Bring mixture to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Lower heat to medium and cook for another 10 minutes. Use a fork to mash beans to desired consistency—I mash most of them, leaving just a few beans whole. The mixture should be thick, not watery. If you still have a lot of moisture, let it cook out by keeping it on the heat for another few minutes.

To assemble:
With the black beans still over medium heat, spread the quinoa mixture evenly on top of the black beans. Add peppers, corn, and chopped tomato. Sprinkle with cheese and cover; let warm through for two minutes or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with green onions and EAT!

I love spooning the mixture inside a giant lettuce leaf, rolling it up and eating it like a wrap. This would also be awesome atop nachos. My boyfriend, of course, loves it as is.

Text, recipe, and photos courtesy of The Pancake Princess

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