Raise your hand if you like spending hours in the kitchen, especially once summer rolls around. Your hand isn’t up? Well, neither is mine. I’m all about healthy meals that are quick. Not to mention easy to scale up to serve as leftovers for my lunch (or even breakfast) the next day to minimize my time in the kitchen. This Spicy Shrimp & Black Bean Quinoa Bowl ticks a lot of boxes. As well as being quick to prepare, this recipe:
- relies on staples I always have on hand (quinoa, canned beans, frozen shrimp),
- uses a pre-made spice blend (read on for ideas) and
- is high in protein and fibre (which most of us don’t get enough of) to keep you energized for hours.
It’s also super adaptable. Don’t like shrimp? Just sub in chicken, beef or pork. Or make it with tempeh for a vegetarian version.
And while it is simply delicious as is, you can layer on easy extras if you want to gussy it up. Read on for some inspired ideas and more on the beauty of black beans. I recommend serving this with an ice cold Partake Beer. It’s non-alcoholic but tastes just like the real deal. In summer, I love their Peach Gose! Enjoy!
Spicy Shrimp & Black Bean Quinoa Bowl…Deconstructed
Here some suggestions to make this bowl a thing brevity as well as beauty:
- use shrimp that are already peeled (I keep a few packages of organic shrimp, like this one, in my freezer; while it’s best to defrost them in the fridge overnight, you can more quickly defrost them by submerging them in cold water too…just follow the directions on the package)
- use canned black beans instead of cooking your own (I like Ontario-grown, organic Cullen’s Foods Black Turtle Beans but you could use any canned beans; be sure to rinse and drain them well)
- make the quinoa ahead of time (in fact, make extra any time you make quinoa so you can whip up a bowl on a whim – it will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to five days)
- use a premade spice mix (I use this one or here’s a recipe to make your own in bulk)
- top it with salsa – I like Mad Mexican salsas (my favourites are their Salsa Morita and Roasted Tomatillo & Avocado)
- add extra fire with your favourite hot sauce (my personal fave for Mexican food is this molé-inspired Sumac Cacao Organic Hot Sauce made by Mirepoix Farm in Prince Edward County)
The recipes notes offer lots of suggestions for extra vegetables but keep in mind these are just suggestions. Feel free to use whatever veggies you might have on hand. As I mentioned, this recipe is very flexible. Let your imagination run free and your taste buds be your guide!
The Beauty of Black Beans
Beans and other pulses (like lentils) are extremely nutritious and yet often underrepresented in the daily diets of anyone not vegetarian or vegan. My post Beans, Beans, They’re Good for Your Heart goes into great detail on why eating beans improves cardiovascular health. So I won’t rehash/re-fry it all here and instead invite you to read the post. I will, however, point out a few reasons why black beans are a thing of beauty.
- Black beans are high in magnesium and fibre and we could all use more of both in our diets. You’ll get a whopping 15 grams of fibre in 1-cup cooked black beans! As that’s matched by 15 grams of protein as well, eating black beans won’t elicit as high a blood sugar response as will other higher carbohydrate foods. And the same 1 cup provides 120 mg of magnesium (29% of the recommended daily value).
- As well as magnesium, black beans are high in other bone-building nutrients like calcium and phosphorous.
- Studies have shown that black beans positively affect gut bacteria and, as we now know, a healthy gut microbiome is crucial to good health.
- Black beans are antioxidant standouts, with almost twice the antioxidant activity of red kidney beans and yellow peas, for example. Chickpeas, delicious though they are, are relatively low in antioxidant activity. Antioxidants are vital for good health and they are supplied by the vegetables and fruits that we eat, which is why I’m always banging on about eating more of them!