I recently went to the fridge looking for something to eat for lunch. I found a myriad of leftovers that somehow combined perfectly to make this quick, delicious and super filling dish that I am now obsessed with. The things I found in our fridge were: a tupperware of cooked quinoa, a half a bottle of enchilada sauce, shredded cheese, a half of a lime (the other half used for the hubs’ Coronas) and a red pepper that was on its final days. Good start, but not quite a full meal. So I headed to the cupboard and found a can of black beans and below that in our produce bowl, an avocado. Now we’re gettin’ somewhere! What followed next was a bowl piled high with what they’d call on Chopped “deconstructed enchiladas”, or what I’m calling, quinoa enchilada bowls. This will be your new favorite go-to quick and simple meal. Guaranteed.
Lunch is always a question mark for me. I’m a stay-at-home, work-from-home mom of an eight month old so I don’t have the luxury of catered lunch three days a week like my husband does at his fancy job. I typically eat whatever my daughter doesn’t off her plate, plus a mini peanut butter cup, a handful of crackers and usually my third cup of coffee. Healthy right? Yeah, not really. Lately I’ve been getting really sick of these pieced together lunches and have been starting to prep some foods ahead of time so I have some quasi (had to Google how to spell this word, how often do you type out quasi?!) complete meals to get me through the day. These quinoa enchilada bowls can be prepared ahead of time and simply reheated when the time comes to chow down. I cook the quinoa and dice the red pepper whenever I get a few minutes on the weekend which saves me time on Monday when I make this for realsies. I know it only saves a few minutes, but when you have a baby rolling around those few minutes of freedom could mean a shower!
A note about the enchilada sauce. The one we had in our fridge was super mild. I don’t like a ton of spice, but since this dish has a lot of cool creamy ingredients, I felt the need to add some chili powder to boost the heat a little bit. Feel free to omit the chili powder if your enchilada sauce already meets your spicy needs. Or add some sriracha instead if you’re one of those people.
If you premake these bowls and want to reheat them later, leave off the greek yogurt and avocado when you microwave it. After it’s all warm and melty, then mix in the yogurt and top with avocado and a squeeze of lime. If you want to get crazy you could even eat this dip-style with tortilla chips. Say whaaa?!
As you should know, this blog is all about living simply which means living with less, including waste. One way to reduce packaging waste is to shop mostly in the bulk and produce aisles then look for everything else in recyclable packaging. For this recipe you can find quinoa in bulk and the pepper, lime and avocado in the produce aisles using your reusable bags. The enchilada sauce and black beans come in recyclable aluminum cans, so that’s great. As for the dairy, recycle the yogurt tub, but you might have to toss the packaging that your cheese came in. Cheese is always one of those items that almost always comes in a plastic wrapping that can’t be recycled. It’s a bummer, but it’s not much. If you buy a block of cheese and shred it yourself you’ll get more out of it with a little less waste. And every little bit counts.
Quinoa Enchilada Bowls
A super fast and super filling dish piled high with everything enchilada but without the shell. A new lunch favorite!
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, small diced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 can black beans, rinsed
- 1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce
- 1 tsp chili powder (optional)
- 1 lime
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 avocado
- Greek Yogurt
- In a medium pot add two cups of water with one cup of uncooked quinoa. Heat on high until it boils, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and remove from heat. Be sure there is no water left at the bottom.
- Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Once warmed, add the diced bell pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally until they begin to soften. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook an additional 4-5 minutes, but don’t stir. You want the bell pepper to get a slight char.
- Turn the heat down to low and add the black beans, 1 cup of the enchilada sauce, the juice of half of a lime and the chili powder (if desired). Stir and cook for 2 minutes until everything is warm.
- Grab two bowls. In each bowl add 1 cup of cooked quinoa, half of the enchilada bean mixture, 1/4 cup of shredded cheese, 1/2 diced avocado, a dollop of greek yogurt, a squeeze of the other half of the lime and drizzle half of the remaining enchilada sauce overtop. Stir to combine and enjoy!