South of the Border Bowls: Fire Roasted Fajita Black Bean and Quinoa Bowls

This past week I was craving something savory and south of the border so I knew my Fire Roasted Fajita Black Bean and Quinoa Bowls would be just the ticket! These vegetarian, yet protein and flavor packed bowls are a reoccurring staple in my weekly lunch and dinner line-up.


These bowls have quinoa, black beans, sweet corn, fajita style sautéed peppers and onions, tomatoes, rich fajita flavor (using homemade fajita seasoning), garlic and little heat from a fresh jalapeno.


They are great for make ahead lunches served over romaine, stuffed into peppers, rolled into taco shells, or scooped into a bag of chili cheese Fritos for a walking taco! You can make them as healthy or unhealthy as you like. This mix is very versatile and can be catered to even the pickiest of eaters.  (Heck- if you must, you can serve with taco meat or a grilled chicken breast!) Mix and match! Live a little! Take a walk on the wild side.


PRO TIP: If you’re the cook for more mouths than just yourself, and you lose your family at the word “Quinoa”, try a little creative marketing and say you’re having “South of the Border Bowls” for dinner, or if you’re feeling extra creative, “Cowboy Bowls” – I learned this trick my sister, Katie, mother of two boys. Don’t worry; you can secretly feed your family vegetarian dishes: it will be our little secret. I won’t tell anyone.


I made this dish with my homemade fajita spice mix, found here. But you can use any old taco seasoning packet you’d like! Even though I’m partial to mine…


For this dish, purchase bell peppers with three lobes on the bottom as opposed to four. Peppers with three lobes have fewer seeds and are heartier for cooking and sauteing (i.e. won’t get mushy and maintain some integrity). Peppers with four lobes are sweeter, and better eaten raw, and have more seeds, but not what we want for this dish. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced and deseeded
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 package frozen sweet corn
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, cut lengthwise into “fajita strips”
  • 1 red pepper, cut lengthwise into “fajita strips”
  • 1 yellow pepper, cut lengthwise into “fajita strips”
  • 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 container of homemade fajita mix or packet of taco seasoning
  • 3 cups veggie or chicken stock
  • 3 Tbsp coconut oil or vegetable oil for peppers
  • Optional Toppings: Romaine lettuce, lime wedge, Greek yogurt, cilantro, avocado, shredded cheese, etc

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a deep skillet, place three cloves of minced fresh garlic (my hands smelled like garlic for three days thereafter) and the diced and de-seeded fresh jalapeno. Be careful when deseeding the jalapeno, I’ve been SO wronged by the burn of a jalapeno seed – it’s not fun. Pushing ingredients back and forth occasionally with a wooden spoon, careful not to burn the garlic. Cook until for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add 1 cup dry quinoa to the jalapeno and garlic. Stir altogether and allow the quinoa to slightly “toast” for about 4 minutes, or until all fragrant – careful not to burn.
  3. Add 2 cups veggie or chicken stock (I add the last cup incrementally as the quinoa begins to cook). Turn up heat to a slow simmer. Add can of roasted tomatoes – stirring occasionally.
  4. Add half the container of homemade fajita mix or half a packet of store bought taco / fajita seasoning.
  5. In another skillet, heat 3 Tbsps of coconut oil and place the sliced peppers and onions in the oil. Add about ¾ of the remaining half of fajita seasoning or taco packet to the peppers (leaving about a tsp left). Toss peppers in oil and seasoning until evenly covered. Place lid on top of peppers so they can cook fully.
  6. Add more chicken/veggie stock to the quinoa mixture if necessary. Once the quinoa is fully cooked, add the can of drained and rinsed black beans and the sweet corn (thaw or microwave corn before adding or it can become shriveled from the temp change) to the pan. Stir altogether until warm, adding in the last ¼ of fajita or taco packet seasoning to the skillet (about 1 tsp).
  7. In the pepper skillet, continue tossing the peppers and onions until they begin to soften and take on the color of the fajita mixture, cook until your desired “crunch” level.
  8. Once all is done to your preference, remove pans from hot surface to discontinue cooking, and assemble to your liking! I served mine over romaine and topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt, cilantro, and hot sauce. Also very good with Mexican blend cheese on a tortilla chip!

Enjoy!

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