Something unexpected and quite lovely has been unfolding in our home and kitchen these past months.
When you have children your home can become a bit like Grand Central Station with people coming and going all of the time. Some people visit once or twice, others become “regulars” like Cliff and Norm from Cheers where you yell out your greetings the moment they walk in the door and you can’t quite remember the last time they weren’t there.
As I mentioned in my last post, I quite love the hustle and bustle of community around the dining room table. What’s fun about cooking is trying to come up with things that everyone likes in the same meal. What’s hard about cooking is that often success is only mediocre when you are feeding a crowd. Taste can be subjective, and people can be picky. Awhile back I posted my recipe for overnight oatmeal in a crock pot. Some people let me know that they loved it, others let me know that they didn’t like it at all. What can you do, it is what it is.
What’s wonderful of late is that I’ve had a new challenge in the kitchen in that we have a new “regular” in the house, a friend of my son who joins us for meals fairly often. He’s a vegetarian, has been for a few years, and I feel compelled to prepare some nutritional vegetarian fare that will coincidentally benefit the rest of my family as well.
I like vegetarian food, and I’m pretty certain that if I had to farm, raise, and slaughter my own meat, we’d be vegetarian too. I had my own meat free phase in high school that was poorly done and ultimately ended with honey garlic ribs. For a season a few years back my daughter made us all adopt meat free Monday’s because she’s a Beatles fan and Paul MacCartney was an advocate. That had a good run. So here we are again trying to satisfy the vegetarian palate of a regular dinner guest and I am happily up for that challenge.
Last week we had a home run, unexpectedly so, but a home run nonetheless. I found a recipe for Black Bean and Quinoa Soup that I figured would be grudgingly accepted by the masses, but no. They ALL loved it and consumed a double batch in one meal. Scraped the pot clean they did and then asked for a second batch this weekend. Seriously, who could guess that one?
I found the recipe in a cookbook called “Quinoa 365”, I’ve had this one for a few years and really have yet to dig in to it in a big way outside of a few salads and their recipe for pizza dough, which is divine and a right sneaky way to trick your kids into eating something good for them. The first batch of the soup was a bit thick, so for the second batch we doubled the broth and it was perfect for us. The recipe below is doubled and should serve 6-8 with leftovers.
Black Bean and Quinoa Soup
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 8 cups vegetable broth
- 4 cans of black beans, 19 0z, drained and rinsed
- 2 tsp fresh garlic
- 2 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 4 tsp fresh cilantro
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Tortilla chips, sour cream or plain yogurt, grated cheddar cheese
1. Sauté the onion in oil for a few minutes, then add the quinoa and toast it, stirring often for about 4 minutes. It will smell lovely.
2. Add the garlic, broth, and black beans. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes so the quinoa can cook. Stir frequently.
3. Add the chilli powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Either purée the soup in a blender in small batches and return to the pot, or use a hand blender. Stir in cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
4. Ladle in bowls and top with grated cheese, sour cream, and tortilla chips.
Delicious and good for you. Score.