I love this variation of classic black beans and rice. It’s made with citrus black beans and sweet potatoes over quinoa. It’s a simple, fast and satisfying weeknight meal the whole family will love.
Last week when the Big Kid came home from school, he opened his backpack and started laying papers all over the dining table. When I asked him what he was doing he replied “Oh, I’m just leaving some schoolwork papers here for you to look at. When I come back you can tell me how impressed you are with me.” He then gave me a little smirk and skipped into the basement to play with Legos.
That, my friends, is (a) perfectly executed 7-year old snark and (b) my exact sentiment when it comes to a simple but delicious dinner like these citrus black beans with quinoa. “I’m just going to toss this stuff into a pot, and when I dump it onto your plate at dinner you can tell me how impressed you are with my culinary skills.” Just as I was impressed with his schoolwork, I’m always impressed by how satisfying such a simple supper can be.
I’ve been a devotee of citrus black beans since I made the version on Simply Recipes about a million years ago. To be honest, it took me awhile to board the beans and rice train, but once I did it was game over. Shortly thereafter came a time when Cameron was like “dude, no more black beans and rice”. And then I was all like “um, okay, I’ll make black beans and…quinoa…with sweet potatoes”. #facepalm #thekiddoesitbest
My version of citrus black beans and quinoa is loosely based on the recipe linked above, but I’ve tweaked and adapted it over the years to suit my cupboard and palette. I like swapping quinoa for rice to boost the protein. The addition of sweet potatoes, radishes and cilantro kick up the nutrition profile and add a punch of flavor. I serve this with corn tortillas and queso fresco (my wild card this week) so I can trick the kid into thinking we’re having tacos for dinner.
Citrus Black Beans and Quinoa Recipe Notes
This dish is a super easy weeknight success as long as you have some cooked black beans stashed in the freezer (they defrost in less than 10 minutes). You can use canned, but the taste of cooked-from-scratch is really outstanding in a recipe like this where the beans take a starring role. If you use canned, be mindful of rinsing them really well. You may also want to adjust the seasonings – a touch more cumin, a little less salt.
This dish is served best warm, but I’ve been known to eat it straight from the fridge at 11 pm. It also makes for a tasty breakfast served with a poached egg on top. It freezes okay, but I really prefer the texture fresh. Naturally, I almost always make a double portion early in the week and nosh on it for days.
See my tips and method for cooking beans from scratch!
Citrus Black Beans and Quinoa
I love this variation of classic black beans and rice. It's made with citrus-seasoned black beans and sweet potatoes over quinoa. It's a simple, fast and satisfying weeknight meal the whole family will love.
- 1 c. quinoa
- 2 tbsp avocado oil divided
- 1 large sweet potato diced
- 2 medium leek halved and thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp paprika
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 1/2 c. white wine
- 1 1/2 c. cooked black beans or 1 can
- 1/2 c. chicken bone broth or vegetable broth
- 1 orange juiced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- cilantro chopped, for serving
- radishes julienned or thinly sliced, for serving
- queso fresco crumbled, for serving
- corn tortillas for serving
Place the quinoa in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Swirl around and allow to soak for 10 minutes. While the quinoa is soaking, start preparing your vegetables.
Strain and rinse the quinoa and place in a small saucepan. Add 2 c water and a pinch of salt. Heat over medium-high until boiling, then reduce to low and cover. Cook 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to rest another 5 minutes.
Heat 1 tbsp avocado oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet until shimmering. Add the sweet potatoes, toss to coat. Pan-roast the potatoes, stirring occasionally, until they are starting to brown and mostly cooked through, 7-8 minutes. Add the second tbsp of avocado oil to the pan along with the leeks and toss to coat. Continue pan-roasting the potatoes and leeks until the potatoes are cooked through and the leeks are soft, 5-7 minutes.
Make a little space in the center of the pan and add the garlic. Saute until fragrant, 1 min. Add the cumin, coriander, paprika, and red pepper flakes to the garlic and stir, toasting, until spices are fragrant, 1-2 minutes.
Deglaze with the white wine, stirring continuously, until it stops bubbling. Add the black beans to the vegetables along with the broth, orange juice, salt, and pepper. Give everything a good stir then cover and cook until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the beans are cooked through, 10 minutes.
Top the quinoa with the black beans and vegetables and serve with chopped cilantro, queso fresco, and corn tortillas.
Add some shredded chicken or pulled pork along with the black beans for a meatier dish.