Quinoa Moros

Holiday Healthy Alternative

I love the holidays and especially all of the delicious food that comes with it! Lately, my friends and I have noticed so many different takes on traditional comfort foods that we thought why not feature some healthy alternatives to holiday side dishes. During this time of year, you definitely want to enjoy all of your favorite dishes and those treats you can’t resist which is totally fine! But, why not try subbing some ingredients for a cleaner take on your favorites?! My friends and fellow wellness bloggers came up with some great holiday side dishes you can take to a get together or potluck. I chose to make Cuban Moros but “healthified”!

By subbing just a few ingredients and not using ham hock this dish easily became more nutrient dense and even vegan friendly! To start off, black beans are great sources of dietary fiber, particularly soluble fiber. This type of fiber helps to delay the absorption of glucose and therefore lessens sudden changes in blood sugar. Very important to avoid that post lunch or dinner crash!

The beans of course were already part of this traditional Cuban side dish but by swapping the white rice with quinoa it became much more protein and fiber rich. Actually, 1 cup of cooked quinoa has about 40 fewer calories than the same amount of white rice, but the real benefit is in the carbohydrates. White rice has almost 15 times more grams of carbs, and quinoa provides 5 more grams of fiber and double the protein. All of these factors help your body feel more satiated and can help reduce that urge to fall asleep after eating!

It’s definitely ok to indulge in traditions and have fun with family and friends but it’s fun to experiment as well! Maybe you can test a new ingredient or introduce your guests to new foods while still enjoying your favorites!

Picture courtesy of @PricklyFresh Sweet potato wedges with cashew cheese sauce by @PricklyFresh Cashew cookie skillet cookies by @jenerationwellness

Keep scrolling below for what you’ll need and all the directions for this side dish!

Picture courtesy of @PricklyFresh Chocolate banana bread by @dmrodrigzz
Picture courtesy of @PricklyFresh Quinoa moros with additional chopped green pepper sprinkled on top

Quinoa Moros (serves about 6)

Ingredients:
• 1 cup of dry organic black beans
• 2 cups of tri-color quinoa
• 2 tbsp coconut oil
• ½ of one green pepper (chopped)
• ½ yellow onion (chopped)
• 4 Garlic cloves (chopped)
• 1 lime (cut into wedges)
• Salt & pepper to taste

Directions:
• Soak beans in a large bowl with water covering the beans over night. I placed the beans in a large glass bowl, covered the beans with plenty of cold water and put saran wrap on top of the bowl. I then let it sit on my kitchen counter over night.
• The next day, or when you’re ready to cook them, drain and rinse the beans. Empty beans into pot and put enough water into the pot to cover the beans.
• Set to boil and then once it comes to a boil, lower to a simmer and put the lid on top but not entirely; you will want to leave some space open.
• Leave it simmering for 1 hour or desired tenderness, occasionally stirring to make sure they don’t stick to the bottom.
• In the meantime, rinse and drain the quinoa in a mesh colander and place in a separate bowl.
• When the beans are done pour the contents of the pot into a mesh colander over a bowl so you can keep the water that the beans were cooked in. We will use that water to cook the quinoa.
• In a large pot on medium/high heat, place 2 tbsp coconut oil and when heated sauté the green pepper, onion, and garlic cloves for 2-3 minutes.
• Then add the beans to the pot and stir.
• Add the quinoa and toss to toast the quinoa for about 1 minute.
• Then place the water that the beans were cooked in (mine ended up being a little less than 1 cup) plus 2 cups of regular water into the pot.
• Let the quinoa and bean mixture cook for about 15-20 minutes.
• Then, add another cup of water and let cook for a remaining 10 minutes.
• You will see that the quinoa become softer and fluffier.
• At this point I added a little bit of kosher sea salt and stirred. You may want to add pepper too.
• When it is all mixed together it is ready to plate on a serving dish.
• I squeezed a couple of lime wedges over the quinoa and served it alongside more lime wedges in case anyone wanted more lime. The lime gives the quinoa moros a nice flavor!

This recipe was adapted from:
http://www.foodtravelist.com/plates/traditional-cuban-recipe-moros-y-cristianos/

Sources:
http://www.lifescript.com/diet-fitness/tips/y/your_weight-loss_foods_quinoa_instead_of_white_rice.aspx
http://superhumancoach.com/benefits-of-sprouted-legumes-beans-and-lentils/

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