This post will be quick and easy, just like this recipe. Which is exactly what I need right now with everything going on. I made this the other night in an effort to make something hearty, healthy and satisfying without having to spend at least an hour in the kitchen. Since we are getting ready to hit the road this weekend for SXSW in Austin, every minute counts. This is where cooking dinner in a crock-pot comes in. No matter how busy I am though, I insist on eating as healthy as I can, especially at times like this. It is when you need nutritious goodies and healthy energy the most!
This stew was super easy to toss together and it made the house smell amazing all day long while it cooked. Plus, we’ve been enjoying the leftovers ever since. You can have fun with the toppings on this or keep it as simple as you’d like. Additionally, if you want to saute the veggies first, you can do that too, but I like keeping my crock-pot cooking as easy and quick as I can. After all, that is the entire point of it, in my opinion anyway.
This recipe is similar to my crock pot black bean soup, but I thought leaving the beans whole and adding in the quinoa and diced tomatoes would make it more stew-like and a fun change. The quinoa was a subtle addition but it was nice. I think I could actually get away with adding in 1 full cup, but I didn’t want the quinoa to steal the show! The bonus, this stew is naturally vegan and gluten-free. Feel free to play around with the spices making it to your liking, maybe adding in some cumin or leaving out the cinnamon, etc. Make it your own.
Do you have a favorite crock-pot meal? What do you like most about cooking in a crock-pot or slow-cooker?
- 1-2 dried chipotle peppers
- 1lb of dried organic black beans, rinsed and picked over, soaked overnight
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and picked over
- 1 28-ounce can organic diced tomatoes
- 1 red onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 dried cinnamon stick
- 2 teaspoons chile powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
- 7 cups water
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
- green onions, thinly sliced
- lime wedges
Load all of the ingredients, except the salt, into your slow-cooker, stir to combine. If you wish to saute the onion, garlic and bell pepper first, you can, but I like to make crock-pot cooking as simple and quick as possible. Cook on high for 4 to 6 hours, or on low for 8 to 10 hours, until the black beans are tender. The time to cook the beans can vary based on the strength of your slow cooker and also the freshness of your beans. Add the salt at the very end, as it will affect how the beans cook, if you add it at the beginning.
Remove the chipotles (if you don’t want a mouthful of a whole spicy pepper) and the cinnamon stick before serving. Ladle into bowls and serve topped with fresh cilantro, green onions, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, diced avocado, sour cream, hot sauce, tortilla chips, etc.
It seems due to the varying cooking power and strengths of crock pots and other slow cookers, unfortunately the cooking time for the dried beans can vary significantly. For some, this time works great and for others the beans are still crunchy even after 12 hours. If your crock pot is older or is known for not being very strong, I would suggest soaking a bit longer and/or pre-cooking the beans first, before putting them in the crock pot. This time has always worked for me and my crock pot and I have made this recipe many many times. Sadly without being able to test it on other slow cookers, I have know way of knowing how much that time can vary.
Older beans can take longer to cook, so that is also something to keep in mind.