Black Bean and Quinoa

March 15, 2012

Gabby’s, aka allergy princess, most favorite food has been black beans. How very sad that a child is so ill exposed to food that she would prefer black beans to most things. At times we have thought she looked like she dove into bowl of chocolate, but rather it was black beans. It’s been her “go to” food when she won’t eat anything else. So as a result, I went fishing for some recipes that might satisfy her pallet.

Call me stupid, but I didn’t realize that black beans came in any other way than can form. I’ve been hearing more and more about BPA exposure in cans. So when I went to a friend’s house who noted the same thing and was soaking black beans, I decided to try to do it that way!

Special thanks to Jessica Kalina for introducing this to me, as well as this recipe. You may remember Jessica from me blogging about her wonderful, creative bangles. To re-read that blog, click here.

***Please note this picture doesn’t paint a great picture of this dish, but it is what it is ๐Ÿ™‚


Vegetarian Cuban Black Beans and Coconut Rice
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • Black Beans:
  • 1 bag dry black beans, soaked overnight in water (twice as much water as beans)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped into large pieces (you will have to remove them later, so make โ€˜em big)
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and chopped into large pieces (same reason as above)
  • Mushrooms *I added but the recipe did not call for
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 box organic, free-range, low sodium chicken broth (or water if you are a vegetarian), plus enough water to cover the beans by 3 inches
  • Coconut Rice:
  • I did not make the rice, Gabby is allergic to rice and I substituted quinoa but I have a strong aversion to coconut so I just made plain quinoa and used the black bean soupish/sauce over it.
  • 2 cups jasmine rice, washed and drained well 1½ cups low fat coconut milk (shake can to mix well before opening) 1½ cups water
  1. Black Beans:
  2. Drain the beans in a colander and rinse with water. Over medium heat in a large pot, saute the onion, green pepper, mushrooms, cumin, 1 tsp. salt and a pinch of black pepper until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for 1 more minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the liquid and black beans and simmer over medium-low heat for another 45 minutes (approx.). Stir frequently to make sure the beans arenโ€™t sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add more water if it is getting too low. When the beans are tender, remove ⅓ of the beans, the onions, green pepper and garlic. Puree them in a blender or with an immersion blender in a bowl and return to the pot of beans. The consistency should be like a thick soup. If too thick, add more water, if the opposite then simmer a while longer to thicken it up.
  3. Coconut Rice:
  4. Combine rice, coconut milk and water. Stir. When boiling, immediately cover with tight fitting lid, turn heat to medium-low and simmer undisturbed for 20 minutes. Remove pot from heat but do not open lid. Really, no peeking! Let sit for 10 minutes and then fluff with a fork.
  5. Plantains:
  6. **I did not make plantains either but the recipe calls for them.
  7. plantains, the riper the better. A good plantain is almost black on the outside, so make sure to buy them several days in advance. Peel and slice them into 2 inch pieces, saute in a non-stick skillet with ¼ C. Olive oil until golden on all sides.



Gabby took one teeny tiny taste and threw her plate. Drew, on the other hand, ate most of it. The black bean portion was good, although I don’t think I made it as well as I believe Jessica would. The bigger issue is that I just don’t love quinoa. This is my third time trying to use it in place of rice and I just don’t love it. I have ordered it in restaurants and liked it but whenever I make it at home I’m not thrilled.

Anyone have proven, easy, good quinoa recipes?

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