Mexican Quinoa & Bean Salad Stir Fry (Serves 5-6)

`m not a vegan or vegetarian, but there are a couple of days in the week where I don`t eat meat and on those days, I love me some legumes! It`s a common misconception that people who don`t ever eat animal products only eat greens and don`t get enough protein. The recipe I`m about to share with you is packed with protein and other vitamins and minerals. In fact, it contains more nutrients per calorie than a steak or chicken breast does!

About a year ago, I never would have even considered going meatless for a single day. I was a total carnivore! Don`t get me wrong, I still enjoy eating meat sometimes, but I found that it was very hard on my digestive system. My stomach would hurt after eating meat and my stool would be loose (maybe TMI but seriously, your poop says a lot about your health). Maybe it’s age, maybe it was the years of binge drinking…but a change was definitely needed.

For about 4-5 years, I was experiencing serious IBS symptoms. I would go 5-6x a day – I don`t even think I ate enough to go that much. Clearly my body wasn`t absorbing nutrients properly because I was always hungry. I had anxiety attacks in the car while driving, at meetings, while I was teaching fitness classes – because I would suddenly have to GO! It was super inconvenient and I honestly thought I would have accidents everywhere I went. It`s hard for doctors to diagnose IBS but the symptoms were there. I even tried Chinese herbs but didn`t change my lifestyle. Once I cleaned up my diet, which meant no alcohol, controlling my portions, and having Meatless Mondays,  my symptoms disappeared. I`ve been symptom free for almost a year now, and to think, I was living that way for about 5 years. It was horrible and extremely depressing.

Now on to the good stuff! I really like this dish because it’s not entirely raw. It is lightly sauteed so the veggies are still a bit crisp but not completely raw and easier on my digestion.

You`ll need:

  • 1 cup organic quinoa (water:quinoa = 2:1)
  • 1.5 cups raw beans of your choice (I like black, kidney, and navy)
  • 5-6 cups of your choice of freshly chopped vegetables (I like red onions, carrots, celery, spinach, kale, tomatoes, zuchinni…really, just go nuts with your veggies!)
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1-2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp UME PLUM VINEGAR (or pinch of sea salt)
  • pepper to taste

What to do:

  • Soak raw beans overnight, or for at least 6 hours. Discard water, (can be used to water plants. This also reduces the gas-inducing properties of legumes) cover beans in fresh water, bring to a boil and simmer for 1.5 hours. (If you don’t have time for this, boil the beans in the morning, turn off the stove and just leave them in the water during the day while you go to work etc. then come home, and continue with the below)
  • Place quinoa in a pot with 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 10-15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
  • In a medium sauce-pan, heat coconut oil and lightly saute onions. Add garlic and saute for another minute before adding the rest of the vegetables, with tomatoes last. Mix in oregano, bay leaves, cumin, and a bit of water when necessary. Remember, we are looking to lightly cook the vegetables so this shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
  • Mix the quinoa, drained beans and vegetables together, and add UME Vinegar, pepper, and lime zest and juice.
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