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Quinoa & Black Bean Pilaf

Quinoa is not technically a grain, but the seed of a plant. You can use quinoa where ever you would normally use rice or couscous. Quinoa naturally has a coating of saponin, a bitter taste, which deters insects and birds. Rinsing the quinoa well with warm water is important to remove the saponin. Serve this quinoa recipe as a delicious hot pilaf, or a scrumptious cold salad.

8 to 12 hours before you want to make the Quinoa: Rinse the quinoa well, in a fine mesh sieve, with warm water (this will remove the bitter saponin). Place the rinsed quinoa, 2 cups water, and yogurt/vinegar in a medium bowl. Cover and allow to soak overnight, or 8 hours.

The next day, or about 8 hours later, when you want to make the Quinoa: Drain the soaked quinoa in a fine mesh sieve. Place the drained quinoa and broth (or water) in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes until quinoa is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.

While the quinoa is cooking in a small saute pan, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onions, saute until tender. Add the garlic, chipotle powder, cumin, and oregano, saute 1 minute more. Remove from heat and set aside until quinoa is done cooking.

When quinoa is done cooking, with only a little liquid remaining, Add the pepper-onion mixture, along with the drained can of beans, to the saucepan with the quinoa. Stir to combine, cover and cook for approximately 5 minutes more, until everything is heated through.

Remove from heat, season to taste with lime juice and salt/pepper, as needed. Garnish each serving with a little finely chopped, fresh cilantro, if desired. Great served with Adobo seasoned grilled/broiled chicken breast.

Serves 4 to 6.