Tag Archives: vegetarian

Black Bean Tacos

23 Oct

As you’ve probably already gathered, Karl and I like to eat a lot of beans!  They are delicious, filling, and a great substitute for meat in your dishes!  One such bean dish we tried a few months ago and loved is black bean tacos.  We love making black bean tacos for many reasons.  1 – they are delicious.  2 – they are cheap; a can of beans costs only $0.75 while a pound of ground beef is around $3.80.  3 – they are quick and easy; I can have dinner on the table in 20 minutes or less.  They are so, so simple, and I promise if you try them you won’t miss the meat!

Here’s the recipe:


  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 bell pepper (whatever color you choose – I like to use half of 2 different colored peppers)
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 1 handful cilantro
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can chopped green chiles
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • flour tortillas
  • shredded lettuce
  • Mexican cheese
  • salsa

How to make it:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan.
  2. Dice onion and begin sauteing.
  3. Dice peppers and add them to the pan; cook until onions and peppers begin to soften.
  4. Add beans, green chiles, and cilantro. Season with cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
  5. Slice tomatoes in half and add just before serving.  Cook until all ingredients are warmed through.
  6. Fill tortillas and top with cheese, lettuce, and salsa.
  7. Enjoy!  We usually eat these by themselves but they would also be great with some Mexican rice.

Black Beans and Quinoa Remix

22 Jul

Last night we had no plans on what to make for dinner.  This whole week has been a very unorganized or us.  We didn’t make any kind of a meal plan this past weekend and only went to Sam’s to pick up veggies.  Lack of organization is bad for us.  If we don’t know what we are going to make then we just don’t make anything and go out to eat instead.  Tuesday night we ate Jimmy Johns and Wednesday night we had Pizza Hut.  Last night as we were pulling out of the parking lot at work, Karl asked where we were going for dinner, not what we were going to eat.  My answer was home because I couldn’t stand for us to spend money on another high-calorie meal.  When he asked what I was making I told him I would figure something out.

So, when we got home I walked into the kitchen and took an inventory.  In cabinet number 1 I found quinoa, taboule (which we have yet to try) and 3 different kinds of pasta.  Cabinet number 2 had a can of black beans, a can of red beans, and 3 cans of chickpeas. And our fridge is always stocked with vegetables – lettuce, spinach, carrots, assorted bell peppers, and cucumbers along with the onions, grape tomatoes, and avocado sitting on our countertop.  So I just decided to throw a few things together…

First I cooked up some quinoa.  I always make half of what the box suggests (1/2 cup quinoa and 1 cup of water instead of 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water) because when paired with other foods half of the cooking suggestion is more than enough for the two of us.  I seasoned it with some salt, black pepper, about a tablespoon of cumin, and about a teaspoon of chili powder.  While the quinoa was cooking I chopped up an onion and sauteed that with a couple big handfuls of spinach.

Onions and spinach with quinoa simmering in the background.

While those sauteed I went to work chopping other vegetables… an orange bell pepper, a baby cucumber, and some grape tomatoes.  At this point Karl decided to come in the kitchen and help by turning our two almost overripe avocados into a quick guacamole (one of his favorite foods!).  After the onions began to soften I added the pepper and cucumber and let them cook for a few minutes.  I took this free time to open a can of black beans and rinse and drain them.  My next step was to thrown in the beans, then the quinoa.  I seasoned the whole thing with some more salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder and a little garlic powder as well.  I let this heat up and then added the grape tomatoes.  It takes no time at all to heat up the tomatoes, so about a minute later I was plating this baby.  I served it with a dallop of gauc and a light squeeze of lime juice on top.  It was so quick, so easy, and so delicious.  Cooking a meal like that makes me realize how easy it is to make a healthy dinner every day.  I guess that means I have no excuse for going out to eat, even during the week?

This meal will definitely be a repeat item for us!  Karl loved every bite, but I guess what meal isn’t good with a little guac on top?  I’m sorry I don’t have a real “recipe” to share.  I really just eyeballed everything except for the beans (1 can) and quinoa.  But you should seriously give this a try.  Throwing a bunch of veggies together is very forgiving – they almost all taste good together!  I guess that’s why I do it so often!  Enjoy!!

White Bean Pasta

12 Jul

Tonight I made a new meal that I was really excited to try:  White Bean Pasta.  It seems like a lot of the vegetarian dishes I come across are southwestern/mexican flavored (I guess because black beans are one of the first things people think of when they think about cutting meat), but tonight’s meal was a different story.  I don’t know what this dish would be classified as except fresh and tasty!

The thing that I love about cooking with beans is how quickly the meals come together.  With chicken or beef I would have to pull some meat out of the freezer and wait for it to defrost, and then it would seem to take forever to cook all the way through!  This meal came together in less than 20 minutes and was delicious.  We both had a hard time not helping ourselves to our leftovers!  And, you don’t miss the meat.  This was seriously so good… I’m getting hungry just writing about it!

White Bean Pasta


  • 2/3 box of whole wheat pasta like penne, rotini, or elbows
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 cups broccoli crowns
  • 4 cups baby spinach (I am just guessing – I put in a lot because I knew it would wilt down)
  • 1 can cannelini beans, rinsed and rained
  • 3 sundried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese

Putting it all together:

  • Boil pasta according to instructions on box – be sure to season the water with salt!
  • Once the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large pan and let the garlic and red pepper cook in the pan for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the broccoli and spinach into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.

    Spinach before...

  • Spinach with broccoli after

  • Add beans and sun-dried tomatoes and cook just a couple minutes to heat the beans.
  • Drain the pasta and pour into a large serving bowl.
  • Pour bean and broccoli mixture over the pasta.
  • Top with parmesan cheese and toss.
  • Enjoy!

Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

11 Jul

Another great vegetarian meal idea is black bean enchilada casserole.  This meal was really supposed to be just enchiladas, but I made the mistake of using corn tortillas.  I bought them because they are much lower calorie than flour tortillas, but they have zero bending capability.  I even tried heating them up inside of a wet paper towel but they continued to crack while I tried to roll them.  So I gave up, lined the bottom of the pan with tortillas, topped that with all of the filling and added another layer of tortillas.  I topped that with salsa, covered the pan, and popped it in the oven.  About 15 minutes into baking I removed the foil and topped it with shredded Mexican blend cheese and chopped cilantro then put it back in the oven until the cheese was melty.  For an extra serving of veggies I served this on a bed of romaine lettuce.  This is another quick and very simple, mostly healthy (depending on how much cheese you want to add) meal.  I hope you will give it a try!

Black Bean Enchilada Casserole


  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked (cook with spices such as salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, and chili powder)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (half of two different color peppers gives your meal lost of color)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup and 1/4 cup salsa, divided
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 12 tortillas (your choice of flour or corn)
  • ~1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • In a large non-stick skillet, saute pepper, onion, and garlic until softened.
  • Add in black beans, 1/4 cup salsa, brown rice, and spices.  Cook until heated through.
  • At the same time, line the bottom of a 9×13″ baking dish with tortillas.
  • Cover tortillas with rice and bean mixture.
  • Top with another layer of tortillas then 1 cup salsa.  Cover with foil and place in oven for about 15 minutes.
  • Remove foil and top casserole with cheese and cilantro.  Place back in the oven and bake until the cheese has just melted.

Mexican Quinoa with Black Beans & Avocado

6 Jul

For dinner yesterday I decided to try a recipe I had found on another blog,  Daily Garnish.  For awhile now Karl and I have been trying to cut down on the amount of meat that we eat to try and eat a larger variety of foods such as beans, healthy grains, and more vegetables.   I don’t know that either of us are capable of making the full-on plunge, but we have made great strides in trying to cut back some.  For instance, for lunches we now take salads topped with chickpeas to work instead of a turkey sandwich.  Changing our diet has also made us expand our horizons a little.  One of the new foods we have tried and really liked is quinoa.  Its a little round grain that has a little tail kind of thing that pops out when you cook it.  We’d heard about it a lot, but until about a month ago we’d never made the effort to try it.   Its got a lot more texture to it and fills you up a lot better than just plain brown rice and you can season it however you want just like rice.  If you’ve never tried it before I would definitely recommend it – its a great way to introduce some variety into your diet!

This recipe piqued my interest because it is something different from the usual black beans and rice (I think we’ve eaten that a few too many times now).  The other really great thing is that it cooks up so fast – the only thing you really have to wait on is the quinoa!  We literally walked in the door at 5:30 and were eating before 6pm.  I modified the recipe a little to fit our tastes; feel free to do the same!

Mexican Quinoa with Black Beans and Avocado


  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 small avocados, peeled and diced
  • lime juice
  • spices such as black pepper, cumin, garlic and/or salt to taste


  • Prepare quinoa as instructed on box.  Season to your tastes – I add some cumin, garlic powder, black pepper, and salt.
  • At the same time, dice onions and cook them over medium heat until lightly browned
  • After the quinoa has finished cooking, add it along with the black beans to the pan with the onions.  Stir to combine and heat through.
  • Add 2 tbsp. lime juice and reduce heat to low.
  • Stir in tomato and avocado and leave over heat until they are just heated and season again as necessary.
  • Top with some chopped cilantro and enjoy!

YUM! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!