Quinoa with Creamed Spinach and Spicy Beans

         First, a word about the photograph.  This part of Colorado has been receiving a considerable amount of snow in the last few weeks, which we absolutely adore.  The area seems like our own personal winter wonderland.  I wanted to show you a partial view from one of the windows, and Paulo kindly agreed to hold the bowl of tasty food so that I could capture both within the same picture.  But looking at it now, the image doesn’t do the view justice.  It appears bleak and gray, while in reality the day shimmered with snow and myriad shades of silver, and a vast quietude disturbed only by the hushed sound of snowflakes filtering through pine trees.  Magical….

          We spent the day (and many others) installing a wood floor and making other alterations to our new home.  After hours upon hours of manual labor, we wanted nothing more than icy cold pale ales and a big bowl of something hearty and warm.  I looked in the fridge and cupboards, and devised this meal.  It isn’t gourmet.  It isn’t fresh, local, and seasonal.  But I’ll tell you what….  It took about 15 minutes to prepare, was delicious besides, and seemed absolutely perfect as we sat by the window, drinking and eating, watching the shades of silver shift and deepen, as they gradually merged into velvety black darkness.

Quinoa with Creamed Spinach and Spicy Beans

1 cup quinoa

1 lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed

1/2 to 3/4 cup whole milk (or non-dairy milk or coconut milk)

1 tsp lemon juice

2 15oz cans ranch or chili beans*

2 tsp Sriracha (or other hot sauce)

2 tsp grainy mustard

2 tsp honey or agave nectar or maple syrup

1/2 cup white onion, chopped

          Rinse and drain the quinoa.  Bring it to a boil with 2 cups of water and a little salt.  Cover and simmer until the grains are tender, about 15 minutes.  Drain off any excess water.

          While the quinoa is simmering, prepare the spinach and the beans.  Squeeze the spinach dry of excess liquid and put it in a saucepan, along with 1/2 cup milk, a sprinkle of salt, and a few grinds of black pepper.  Bring to a gentle simmer.  Add an additional 1/4 cup milk (or more), if needed, in order to bring the spinach to a creamy consistency.  Add additional salt and pepper, to taste.  Stir in the lemon juice just before serving.

          Put the beans and their sauce into a saucepan, along with the Sriracha, mustard, and honey.  Heat to a vigorous simmer.

          To serve, spoon the quinoa into individual serving bowls, and top with both the spinach and the beans.  Sprinkle with the chopped onion.

* Ranch beans and chili beans are beans (often pinto) that are canned with a seasoned tomato sauce.

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16 Responses to “Quinoa with Creamed Spinach and Spicy Beans”

Comments (16)
  1. I love the sound of snow to. The beans and spinach look beautiful together!

  2. BTW, what are those huge animal tracks in the snow? They look scary.

  3. That looks like great skiing weather. Fresh snow on the slopes…

  4. Ooh, spicy and creamy – sounds like the best of both worlds!

  5. This looks good and i’d love to feed it to the husband and kids, but do you think I could add meat because you know they will be looking for it.

    • You can add whatever you want. Maybe top the bowl with strips or cubes of sauteed meat, or simmer some meat in the bean mixture itself.

  6. That bowl of food looks fantastic and perfect for a snowy day, and normal people can’t always cook fresh seasonal and local. We have families to feed at the end of a long day! Quick and nutritious is the only thing that matters to me.

  7. I love snowy quiet days- good food and good drink make them even better. Thank you for the simple and pretty recipe.

  8. The food, drink and view are gorgeous!


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