Make Ahead Meals: One Pot Black Beans & Quinoa

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by JL Fields on September 26, 2012

In the kitchen I have big ideas that are rarely matched with ambitions of the same size. Because I am a lazy cook. I overcame my short comings in the culinary section of the house when I discovered the joy of bulk cooking. I subsequently fell in love with preparing meals in my rice cooker – it’s not just for rice anymore!

Seriously, did you know that you can make beans, grains, soup, and more in your rice cooker?

When I went vegan, I added a rice cooker (and a pressure cooker) to my kitchen to make sure I had numerous ways to prepare beans and grains, two of what I call the “fabulous five” vegan food groups: vegetables, fruit, beans/legumes, grains, and nuts/seeds. For the lazy cook, the pressure cooker is a game-changer because beans and grains are done in minutes. The rice cooker also rates high because, though not speedy, it does make cooking easy. Toss everything into one pot and walk away – a technique that is perfect for make ahead meals.

On a recent Monday morning I tossed quinoa and black beans into the rice cooker, with a few other goodies, and 40 minute later I had one dish that I was able to serve in multiple ways throughout the week.

One Pot Black Beans & Quinoa

by JL Fields @ JL goes Vegan

This one pot dish, paired with raw or cooked leafy vegetables pulls together a vegan staple: beans, greens and grain.

Ingredients (Makes 6 cups)

  • 1 cup carrot, diced into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup diced onion (I used vidalia)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup dry quinoa (I used a mix of red and golden quinoa), rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth (I used homemade)
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional)


  1. Add carrots, onion, garlic, quinoa, chili powder and vegetable broth to the rice cooker.
  2. Cook on the brown rice setting.
  3. Check the rice cooker at 30 minutes. When there is just a little liquid at the bottom, add black beans and salt (optional) and stir thoroughly, then close the lid and let the cycle cook through to completion (approximately 10 – 15 minutes).
  4. Serve warm as a side dish or over sautéed greens. Serve cold wrapped in a raw collard greens (or Swiss chard) or over a chopped lettuce for a filling salad.
  5. This recipes makes about six cups of quinoa and grains. If you don’t think you’ll eat it all in three or four days, it freezes well in a plastic bag.

For a crisp, cool salad-type lunch, try it in collard green wraps:

Simply spread a mix of vegan mayonnaise and Sriracha over a collard green leaf, spoon cold quinoa and beans over the leaf, wrap and devour.

For a warm, comforting dish, opt for the stereotypical vegan bowl of beans, greens and grains.

Reheat black beans and quinoa. Meanwhile, saute garlic, shiitake mushrooms (sliced) and baby spinach (one huge handful serves one as it wilts and reduces dramatically!) in avocado oil (one of my favorite cooking oils!) on high heat for just a minute. Stir, cover and simmer for just one more minute. Transfer the spinach to a bowl and smother it with the beans and grains. (Shiitake mushrooms make this 5 minute meal look fancy!)

There are so many other things you can do with this dish! You can serve it cold over chopped lettuce for a filling salad. You can add two cups of the beans and quinoa to a saucepan with one can diced tomatoes and one cup vegetable broth, bring to a boil and you’ve made a super-easy “chili” in about five minutes.

What is your favorite vegan one pot meal?

This post is made possible by BlogHer’s Make Ahead Meals editorial series, made possible by Bank of America.

  • Bianca

    Yum! My favorite one-pot meal is probably any version of white bean and greens soup (collard, kale, whatever).

    • JL

      Oh, I love that combo, too!

  • Great recipe (and so relevant for me right now, given that I’m struggling with finding good, student-friendly, make-ahead food).

    • JL

      Thanks, Gena! So glad you found it helpful!

  • A pressure cooker is just what I need. I still opt for can beans because it’s just so time consuming when boiling them.

    • JL

      I always say the pressure cooker is a GAME CHANGER! Beans are cooked in no time!

  • Tera

    Is there a way to make this without a rice & pressure cooker?

    • JL

      Sure, stovetop just saute the carrots, onions and garlic in a sauce pan and then add the quinoa and veggie broth, cooking per the quinoa package instructions. Add the canned black beans at the end.

  • Pingback: Cooking while not in the kitchen: the rice cooker to the rescue! (Garlic Lentils & Kale Recipe)()

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