Week 15: Black Bean & Quinoa Enchilada Bake
I feel like I have a lot less free time now then when I started this job back in January. I sure am glad that I did though, because when life gets busy, I’m trying to hold myself accountable and continue to cook fresh healthy homemade meals (written as I scarf down mini eggs, but it’s all about balance, right?!). The fact that the cafeteria lunch options are kind of blah helps motivate me to cook too.
This week I was looking for something I could make a big batch of on Sunday and have leftovers to get me through the week. Ideally I was looking to make one thing rather than a multicomponent meal for the sake of time and convenience, something that’s reasonably healthy, and hearty enough to keep me full through the afternoon. Two Peas and Their Pod raved about their recipe for this Black Bean and Quinoa Enchilada Bake so I decided to give it a try. It ticks all the boxes for me and might just become a staple at my house too!
Ingredients: pretty standard stuff – veggies, quinoa, fresh cilantro, canned beans, cheese, and enchilada sauce. I found some fun “Aloha” bell peppers that added a pretty colour to the dish. You can buy enchilada sauce in a can but in my experience it’s very salty. It’s easy enough to make at home (I use the recipe from the Oh She Glows cookbook), so take that into consideration when planning your timing and grocery list. I didn’t know what “Mexican cheese” was so I used equal parts medium cheddar and pepper jack (Monterey Jack with jalapeno pepper bits inside) and grated them fresh.
Timing: This took me 2 hours, start to finish (double the quoted time). In my opinion, there is no possible way you could get this done in 1 hour. I sometimes wonder how people come up with these unrealistic recipe time estimates. Perhaps they assume you have all the ingredients washed/chopped/prepped and ready to go and the time that takes is not included in the quoted time? If so, who/what/when/how did this all happen?! I’d plan for two hours unless you’re superhuman or have an assistant.
Yield: a very full 9×13 baking dish so I’d estimate 8 generous dinner-sized servings? Definitely makes enough to feed a large family or if you want to have lots of leftovers for the week!
Serving: I enjoyed this on its own, but you could also top with avocado slices, chopped green onions, fresh chopped cilantro, or scoop it up with tortilla chips as the recipe author suggests.
How did it go? Apart from the timing, it went really well. Nothing tricky or out of the ordinary. I used homemade enchilada sauce I had prepared earlier, shredded my own cheese (never buy the pre-shredded stuff!), and used canola oil to grease the pan instead of cooking spray (another thing I will not buy). A bonus feature (and one that I love about all baked dishes) is that when they’re in the oven you can get a head start on clean-up, so that’s a nice perk.
Taste: yummm! This recipe does not cheap out on the cheese and that ooey gooey cheesy topping really takes this dish to the next level. The spices and seasoning make this a very flavourful dish and I am a huge fan of those Mexican inspired flavours. There’s a lot going on in this dish from flavours to textures with the veggies, beans, quinoa, and cheese, so it is far from boring to eat your way through the batch. Love this!
- Get all your ingredients measured out, washed, prepped, etc. before you begin to help make the cooking process go smoothly.
- Remember to rinse the quinoa thoroughly (not just a quick rinse) before you cook it to get rid of any bitter flavour.
- Cook the quinoa according to your package directions. I use Longo’s brand quinoa and boil the water first then add the quinoa, cook over medium with the lid on for 15 minutes then take the pan off the heat but leave the lid on for another 15 minutes. It always turns out so nice and fluffy and tastes amazing.
Luke’s review: sadly, Luke’s review is on hiatus as Luke is away right now. I can tell you he would’ve loved this one and my “ooey gooey” comment about the cheese was inspired by his sentiments and signature style (and love for cheese). I’m going to freeze a portion for him to try when he gets back, although I’d be happy to make this whole recipe again. I’ve got to say, for two hours of work and a reasonably priced bunch of ingredients, I am very pleased with both how this turned out/tastes and how much I have leftover for the week – a perfect Sunday recipe! Definite thumbs up.