It’s all about the casserole today as Taco Tuesday gets a 70’s makeover. Black beans, loads of veggies and quinoa make for a satisfying vegetarian and gluten free taco casserole. Black Bean and Veggie Quinoa Taco Casserole for the win.
Do mom jeans get a bad wrap? And what about mini vans? And casseroles?
Think about it. Mom jeans are uber comfortable (or so I’m told). Soft cotton, elastic waist, stain resistant, wrinkle free. I could could go on and on. What’s not to love about them? Mini vans are the ultimate in convenience and ideal for traveling with kids + dog + stroller. Plus the new ones have slider doors on both sides of the car and you can configure the umpteen seats a million ways. Total winner if you ask me. And what about casseroles? They’re the ultimate for making ahead, they feed a crowd, so easy to put together and who doesn’t love a meal that fits into a bowl?
So what’s the problem, you ask?
THEY’RE ALL PRETTY UGLY.
And my utmost apologizes if you wear mom jeans and drive a mini van. I mean I think I’m sorry….
So let’s talk about it this. For as comfortable as mom jeans are (again, I’m speculating) the high waste and that unflattering pouch thing they do at the midsection is just not ok. Also wearing mom jeans is not an excuse to also wear white ankle socks and squeaky clean sneakers. Seriously. Mini vans are virtually perfect on paper. They’re ideal for camping, schlepping a ton of gear, comfy for multiple kids… but….but…..but….but…it’s a mini van. Enough said. And casseroles? Well, they’re really hard to make look good. Plus it’s always a mystery as to what you’re going to get. I mean, let’s be honest, casseroles are nothing more than a big dish of who-knows-what stuff smothered in cheese. Casseroles are at home on the buffet of a church gathering or neighborhood potluck but not kitchen table, you know?
But then why do so many ladies wear mom jeans, drive mini vans and eat casseroles? Because of comfort, functionality and ease, that’s why. I can’t be he only shallow one out there. The only one willing to forgo the elastic waste in favor of jeans that pinch a little in the middle? The only one who refused to test drive a mini van when car shopping last year simply to protect my image. Am I the only one that thinks casseroles are beneath my dinner table? Please, PLEASE say I’m not alone. My ego needs some company right now.
OMG. I totally just said all that out loud.
So what does this mean for our friendship? You’re either totally with me right now or you’re just realizing how shallow I am and maybe we shouldn’t be friends. I truly hope it’s not the latter because I really like having you all here.
In attempt to prove that I’m not totally shallow and ultimately probably confuse you, I went ahead and did something out of my comfort zone. I MADE A CASSEROLE. Sure it still looks like a mystery dish covered in cheese (which it totally is) but because I made it, I can tell you exactly what’s in it and I know for a fact that it’s actually quite good. Plus I made it in a really cute baking dish so that must count for something. And when covered with fresh, brightly colored produce it almost looks edible.
Don’t think this means I’m condoning mom jeans and mini vans because I’m not. This simply means I needed dinner stat. And I was craving something veggie. And before you know it, the casserole just happened. But don’t get used to it. I have a reputation to uphold.
A gluten free and vegetarian taco casserole.
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups water or stock
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 red red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
- 1 small sweet potato, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1- 15oz can black beans, drained
- 1 cup your favorite salsa
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
- 4 oz shredded monterey jack cheese
- 4 oz shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
- diced avocado, halved cherry tomatoes and lime for garnish, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter a 9-inch oven proof baking dish.
- Add quinoa and water plus a pinch of kosher salt to a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is fully cooked. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the casserole.
- Meanwhile, het the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, sweet potato, jalapeño and garlic. Sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the chili powder, oregano, cumin, and salt. Cook another 2 minutes and then remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, add the cooked quinoa, black beans, sautéed veggies, salsa, cilantro, corn meal and a handful of the cheese (reserve the rest for the top).
- Transfer the quinoa mixture into the prepared baking dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes until the cheese is melted and the edges are bubbling. Remove from oven, and let cool for 10 minutes before diving in.
- Garnish with diced avocado, halved cherry tomatoes, additional cilantro and wedges of lime if desired.