Pairing the virtuous with the sinful…a lusciously layered quinoa and black bean bake…

There’s something quite satisfying about finding something new to try that’s delicious and good for you because let’s face it, that doesn’t always happen. Often the things we like are the things that if succumbed to on a regular basis will push us slowly towards diabetes, obesity or the potential for a motorised scooter. Often the things that are good for us are the things that if succumbed to on a regular basis will push us towards utter boredom, total frustration and complete starvation.

Not this time kids. Oh no. This amazing recipe from pinchofyum.com takes so many things that are good for us, incorporates them all together in one big pot and invites you to stick your face into its consummate delightfulness.

quinoa black bean casserole (1) quinoa black bean casserole (2)

So what are we talking about here? Exactly what level of goodness are we reaching? Pretty high actually. Layers of quinoa – a South American grain that might as well be put on a pedestal and fanned by semi naked ladies for all the praise and glorification that is bestowed upon it’s current superfood status – glossy black beans, rainbow hued peppers, jalapenos and spring onions and a whole heap of metabolism-boosting spices. Adapting it slightly, we left out the suggested sour cream as an accompaniment although there’s no doubt that would be great and even topped it with low fat cheese so I’m actually going all out here and saying it’s as good for you as it can possible get.

Ok, to all the pedantic people out there, yes, I do realise that a plate of steamed broccoli and tofu would be better for you but really, I’d rather eat my own feet than achieve the higher state of worthiness that may come from a diet like that so let’s get back to food that actually tastes good shall we?

Apart from the flavour which is insanely good, the construction of this is so damn simple, you can’t help but imagine the tweaks and amendments you might make the next time you make it and the time after that because make no mistake, this dish is not a one time only deal. That’s actually the beauty of great, simple food; it inspires you to try it and then it empowers you to make it your own, to add your signature twist to it. Plus, there’s something about layered food that begs to be scooped into from bottom to top that is super satisfying.

quinoa black bean casserole (5) quinoa black bean casserole (4)

The full recipe can be found here on an adorable website full of beautiful meals to try – http://pinchofyum.com/southwestern-quinoa-and-black-bean-casserole – and once everything’s cooked and layered and baked, all that remains is to add a generous squeeze of lime and a large bowl of tortillas to act as deliciously edible spoons.

Take it from me when I say that this is also one of those dishes that tastes even better reheated the next day…it gets a touch stodgier and more comforting and whereas straight from the oven you can pick out each specific flavour and texture, on day 2 all the flavours have had time to sink into each other which is just heavenly. This is the perfect Saturday night dish to sit on your coffee table, to gather round and to literally dig into and I beg you not to be put off by the perhaps somewhat unfamiliar ingredients – it’s really one of those dishes that once you try, you’ll wonder why it took you so long.

quinoa black bean casserole (3)

So what’s your favourite go-to simple, healthy dinner that tastes so good it really should be naughty? Is there an ingredient that you find yourself using again and again because it’s super versatile? Or perhaps you’ve just discovered something that you now want to spread the word about to anyone who’ll listen? Let me know how you get the right balance between so good for you and so good to eat…

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