With two toddlers running wild around this joint, my time for cooking meals seems to be dwindling away. People tend to assume that I have these perfect, from-scratch meals on the table every night, and to be honest, at this stage in our lives we’re still very much in survival mode. I’m pretty gentle with myself and focus on the big picture as much as possible. If everyone is happy with a full belly, well that’s success! We all do the best we can. Raising a family is messy and imperfect and humbling.
But, still, I’m always looking for shortcuts. I recently started experimenting with one pot quinoa dishes and absolutely fell in love with their simplicity and versatility. This recipe takes just 10 minutes to throw everything into a skillet or pot and then all you do is cover it and cook. Like magic! It’s a great option for the summer when you don’t want to turn the oven on (like this weekend for those of us in this crazy heat wave). Just one stovetop element is all you need. You really can’t beat that…unless of course your partner is cooking for you while you sip on some rosé….*wink, wink*
Is it kid-friendly? Well, it is and it isn’t. If your little one loves quinoa, they may enjoy this dish (reduce spice if necessary). If they don’t already like quinoa, it’ll likely be a pass (shocker). I had one love it and the other said “EWWWWWW!” (their new favourite word…sigh). The one who inhaled it the first night wouldn’t touch it the next day. *double sigh* The feeding toddlers struggle is real.
For us normal folk, it seemed to be a hit! My mama testers lit up with joy when they heard it was a one pot meal. And, I mean, you don’t even have to sauté anything! I’m anxious to hear what you think if you try it out. I always worry that these super easy recipes are lacking in some way, and I hesitate posting them.
Well, my fellow Canadians, I hope you have a fun Canada Day weekend! Hard to believe it’s already upon us! And for my American friends, have a fantastic Independence Day next week. Are you celebrating with any OSG recipes this weekend? Let me know and be sure to share on social media using the tags #ohsheglows and @ohsheglows so I can drool over them!
Yield 12 small wraps/5 cups quinoa
For the quinoa:
1 cup (200 g) uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 3/4 cups (430 mL) low-sodium vegetable broth
1 (14-ounce/400 mL) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced (1 cup/125 g)*
1 tablespoon (5 mL) fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
Fine sea salt and black pepper, to taste (I added 1/4 teaspoon each)
Lettuce or flour wraps
Gather your quinoa ingredients on the counter so you have them ready. To a large pot, add the quinoa and broth. Set the heat to medium and bring to a simmer while you add the rest of the ingredients: drained black beans, red pepper, pineapple, coconut aminos, paprika, cayenne, lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 16 to 21 minutes, reducing heat if necessary, until the quinoa is fluffy and the water is mostly absorbed. I recommend checking it after 16 minutes and then every few minutes thereafter. Stir the cooked quinoa mixture and season to taste.
If using lettuce for your wraps, place one large leaf on a plate. Add another leaf on top so that its base is pointing the opposite way of the leaf below. Top each lettuce wrap (or flour wrap, if using) with a spoonful of hot quinoa. Add your desired toppings (I like to use every topping listed), a small pinch of salt, and a lime wedge on the side. If the lettuce wraps are too difficult to eat with your hands, you can dig in with a fork and knife.
The quinoa is best served fresh as it tends to dry out in the fridge, but you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. To reheat the quinoa, add it to a pot along with a splash or two of broth, cover, and warm on the stovetop over medium heat. You’ll likely need to add more seasonings as the flavour diminishes over time.
This flavorful and easy-to-make black bean and corn salad recipe will rejuvenate and revitalize you. Guaranteed.
With fresh toppings and a delightful tangy cilantro avocado dressing, there’s nothing stopping this recipe from becoming your new go-to salad.
The secret ingredient in this corn salad recipe is the avocado dressing. Avocado’s creaminess lends itself perfectly to corn’s crunchy texture, coating each and every kernel with a luxurious dressing that adds a sensational flavor and really completes the salad.
An ideal lunch to take to work, just chop and cook everything in advance and then pack in an airtight container. Be sure to store the dressing separately to prevent your salad from becoming soggy. One batch of this recipe should make at least two meals, perhaps more.
Corn is in its peak in summer when the harvest is bountiful and corn is stocked at farmers markets and grocery stores. At your local farmers market, you should be able to find plenty of corn ranging in color from white to purple.
The key to enjoying salads is making sure they are packed with filling ingredients. Luckily, corn is one of those optimal salad toppings. One cup of corn boasts 12 grams of dietary fiber which will leave you satisfied.
This plant-based salad is not lacking in protein, either, thanks to both corn and black beans. Each have about eight grams of protein per ½ cup. Plus, the two taste delicious together! For protein lovers, try adding a few spoonfuls of cooked quinoa, which will boost it even more.
Corn is also an antioxidant food. Yellow corn has a high concentration of carotenoids and blue corn on the other hand, gets its antioxidants from anthocyanins.
Cooking with certified organic corn is highly recommended for this or any recipe. While corn was ranked #49 on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen List, meaning its pesticide residue is relatively low, eating non-organic corn is not certain to be safe, as much of it is genetically modified and sprayed with dangerous herbicides and pesticides, which have known negative health effects. Look for organic corn at your supermarket or farmers market.
Black Bean and Corn Salad Recipe
For the salad:
2 heads of romaine lettuce, washed thoroughly
½ cup corn, removed from ear
¼ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
¼ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
Cilantro for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
For the dressing
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise
¼ cup filtered water
¼ cup cilantro, stems removed
½ lime, juiced
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Bring a salted pot of water to boil. Add corn and boil for 5 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain and let cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the romaine horizontally into thin strips, then chop vertically down the middle. Add romaine to a large bowl. Add corn, black beans, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro, if desired. Toss until thoroughly mixed.
Add avocado, vegan mayonnaise, filtered water, cilantro, lime juice, and spices to a food processor. Process until completely smooth, scraping down as necessary. If a thinner dressing is desired, add water one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved.
Once ready to serve, pour dressing over salad and toss until salad is thoroughly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Karissa Bowers is a fashion and food blogger living a compassionate lifestyle. Karissa is the blogger of Vegan À La Mode where she shares her favorite vegan and gluten-free recipes and also her eco-friendly cruelty-free style. Her love for photographing food and her outfits, drove her to develop a passion for photography. After a few years of honing in on her photography skills, Karissa launched her business, Karissa Bowers Photography, where she shoots weddings and portraits. When she’s not taking photos or in the kitchen, you can find Karissa traveling and trying new vegan restaurants.
The moment I placed these brownies in the oven, I started whining like a disgruntled teenager because Luise had persuaded me to only sweeten them with dates and mix a whole can of black beans into the batter. “They are going to taste like sh*t” might have been the carefully formulated phrase I used. Baking brownies was my idea to start with and I usually don’t complain about healthy desserts, but I was tired that day and my mind was set on the caramel-tasting brownies from the bakery across the street. More than the flavor, it was their texture I wanted to recreate. The crusty top and caramel fudge center that you only can achieve with sugar, butter and flour. I knew these would be far from that. And in my mind that was all Luise’s fault.
The whining escalated into a discussion (aka argument) and by the time the timer on my phone rang, things were, well, kind of tense between us. I cut off a corner piece of the baked brownie and quickly realized that they weren’t as awful as I had expected. Of course when Luise asked me, I did what any 36-year old teenager would do and grunted: “They were okay I guess”. In reality, they were actually pretty good. They didn’t have that crusty texture or typical sugar taste but they were still sweet, gooey but not heavy, chocolatey, energy packed and rich. I added frosting to make them a little more sassy – using dates as sweetener and avocado and coconut oil for an ultra lush and creamy consistency. They turned out really beautiful and jam-packed with good stuff. Rather than a dessert, I’d say that this is more like an energy bar-style brownie, and I found myself sneaking back to the fridge several times that day for another bite.
We’re sharing the recipe and some notes below. But first, check out this little video from our youtube channel where we demonstrate how to make them.
Since that first batch of brownies, there have been at least six more batches. A few vegan attempts and various flavor and texture variations. I have gathered a few notes that might come useful in case you want to give them a try.
We use very soft fresh dates that we buy in card board boxes and they are pretty affordable compared to loose weight or medjool dates. Sizes differ so use a scale if you want to be exact.
If you can’t find fresh dates you can use dried dates that you soak in water for a couple of hours. Drain the water before mixing. However, I wouldn’t use dried dates for the frosting as they need the dates to be super soft to achieve a smooth consistency. Try maple syrup instead.
If you aren’t used to sugar free desserts, you can add a couple of tablespoons maple syrup, honey or sugar to the batter. We have tried this recipe both with and without additional sweetening and they taste good both ways. It all depends on what you are used to and your expectations are.
We use a quite mild olive oil and it works really well with the chocolate flavor (not strong at all). However, if you don’t like olive oil, you can use, coconut oil, rapeseed oil or butter instead.
We have also tried a vegan, egg-free version using aquafaba (chickpea water) that we are sharing at the bottom of the recipe. We also tried making aquafaba using black bean water (because it’s a rest product of the beans in the recipe). It didn’t firm up as much when whisked but it did work as a binder. However, it looked kinda gross and added more bean flavor so we decided to stick with chickpea water instead.
We add coffee to the frosting to disguise the avocado flavor. If you don’t like coffee, you can use almond butter or peanut butter instead to give it a flavor twist.
Sea salt flakes are great on top and we love the salt + chocolate combo, but desiccated coconut would also look good.
If you are allergic to nuts, you can mix toasted sunflower seeds into a flour and use instead of almond flour. And use pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts.
Black Bean Brownie Bites with Chocolate Avocado Frosting Makes 24 bites
These taste sweet but not overly so, see notes above if you prefer to make them sweeter. Vegan version below.
20 soft dates (approx 230 g / 8 oz) 1 1/2 cup / 185 g cooked black beans (rinsed) 1/2 cup / 125 ml olive oil or other neutral oil 1/2 cup / 125 ml plant milk or regular milk 3 eggs 1/2 cup / 50 g oat flour (or same amount rolled oats, mixed into a flour) 1/2 cup / 50 g almond flour 6 tbsp cacao powder 1 tsp baking powder 1 pinch salt 1 handful crushed walnuts (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F. Pit the dates and add them to a food processor along with the rinsed black beans. Mix on high speed. Add oil, milk and eggs (leave out if you are vegan) and mix until smooth. Add almond flour and oat flour (you can make oat flour from rolled oats by simply blending them in a food processor or grinding them in a mortle and pester), cacao powder, baking powder and salt and pulse until everything is mixed. Stir in walnuts (and whipped aquafaba if you are making the vegan version). Place a baking paper in a 28 x 20 cm / 11 x 8 inch rectangular baking dish and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the brownies from the oven once they are firm to touch and leave until completely cool.
Make the frosting by mixing all the ingredients in a food processor until completely smooth. Taste and adjust the flavors, adding more dates (or maple syrup if you want it sweeter) and more cacao powder if you want it richer. Spread the frosting over the brownies, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and cut into bite-size pieces. Store in the fridge.
To make them vegan: Use 3 tbsp more oat flour. Leave out the eggs and whisk 1/3 cup aquafaba (chickpea water) into soft peaks that you stir into the mixed batter together with the walnuts. The vegan version needs approx 45-50 minutes in the oven and will come out slightly stickier but firms up once it cools.