Black Bean & Quinoa Bowls

This recipe is vegan. (GASP!) I almost put that in the title, but I knew some people wouldn't even look at the recipe because of that, so I didn't.  I'm finding that with my youngest son's food allergies (beef, pork, cow's milk, strawberries, oats and peanuts), combined with the foods I'm not giving him temporarily (wheat, eggs, soy, tree nuts) vegan recipes are making life easier.  Cooking vegetarian and vegan actually makes cooking easier because the prep work goes so fast without having to cook meat, grate cheese, etc.  I need more vegan recipes!

Several months ago my mom challenged us to eat animal products less frequently, so I started cooking vegetarian a couple times a week and I realized we didn't really miss the meat on those nights.  AND it's much less expensive to skip the meat.  While we have no intention of ever giving up cheeseburgers and going vegetarian/vegan completely, it is not a big deal for us to do without it sometimes. 

I recently posted another quinoa recipe and someone commented with an idea that made me try this for dinner tonight and we liked it!  I loved that this entire meal was ready in the time it takes to cook quinoa.  I made a quick guacamole to put on top but simply chopping an avocado for the top would be perfect if you want to make it even simpler.

Black Bean & Quinoa Bowls
serves a family of 5 or 3-4 very hungry adults

1 c. dried quinoa, cooked with 2 c. water according to directions

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 10-oz can Rotel, mostly drained
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
salt & pepper to taste

2 large avocados
2 Tb. thick salsa
generous dash of granulated garlic
salt & pepper to taste
2 Tb onion, minced
Tabasco to taste

3 green onions, chopped
lime wedges

While the quinoa is cooking mix together black beans, rotel, chili powder, cumin, 1/2 tsp. granulated garlic, salt & pepper.  Cook in a small pot over medium heat until hot or microwave 3-5 minutes until hot.  In a small bowl mash the avacado with a fork and stir in salsa, garlic, salt & pepper, onion and tabasco.  Taste and adjust seasoning as you like. (Or, simply chop the avacado and set aside.) To assemble the bowls, layer some quinoa at the bottom of a bowl, top with a generous amount of black bean mixture, a dollop of guacamole or chopped avacado, sprinkle on some green onions and serve with lime wedges.

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