My husband is from Louisiana, so Cajun is his middle name. To say he likes all things seafood, spicy and punching with flavor is an understatement. If he could, he would live off gumbo daily! Unfortunately, due to his gout, he no longer can have those tempting bowls of seafood gumbo. Seafood triggers gout terribly and the pain is not worth it.....or barely worth it, he'd say. Since I can't serve him seafood and definitely not chicken or sausage, I'm left with creating dishes with the flavors of Cajun. Minus the meats, this dish satisfies his taste buds fairly well. I quite enjoy it myself.
If you are unfamiliar with quinoa, it is a grain that is very high in protein and a quality protein at that. There is white quinoa and red quinoa. The red quinoa has a more rustic texture which I love.
Cajun Red Quinoa and Beans
- For the Beans
- 1 lb bag of dry red kidney beans Making them from scratch yields fabulous tasting beans! Do not skimp on these!
- 2 teaspoons of garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
- For the Quinoa
- 1 cup red quinoa not white! my recipe is specific to use the red quinoa for texture
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 2 small bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chili spice or red pepper or cayenne pepper
- Few grinds of fresh ground black pepper
- 1 large green bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 large red onion chopped (130 g, about a cup)
- 3 large garlic cloves minced
- salt & pepper
- Ahead of time prepare the red beans according to package directions either overnight or early in the day. I went ahead and used the whole bag just to have extra beans, but you will not need all of them at the time of this recipe. This will need to be done in advance prior to making the quinoa and veggies. Once you have already done the soak method of the beans, you can then cook them. Follow the cooking directions on the back of the bag.
- Prepare the quinoa. Add the quinoa, vegetable broth and all the spices, including the bay leaves, into a pot. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and turn heat to low and cook for 20-25 minutes or until almost all of the water has evaporated, stirring a few times during the cooking process. Once the water is almost gone, turn the heat off, return the lid and leave covered for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork.
- While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Pour a few tablespoons of broth in a large pan and turn the heat to medium low. Add the bell pepper and onion into a large pan. Add some salt and pepper. Once they are almost tender, after 5-10 minutes, add the garlic and cook until all veggies are tender stirring often so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add more broth if necessary. Turn the heat off. Combine the veggies and quinoa. Serve by plating with the quinoa mixture and adding the cooked beans on top. Season with extra salt or cajun spice if desired.