Tag Archives: tomatillos

Fire WIthin

 Quinoa Verde con Tostada



Not going to lie, the theme for  r/52weeksofcooking had me more than a little nervous this week.  I understand the importance of Presentation but I tend to focus more of the substance and taste of the dish and not so much of what it looks like – after all I’m not cooking for Gordon Ramsey or Anthony Bourdain or someone else who will comment on whether or not my dish resembles cat food.  However I haven’t missed a challenge yet this year and wasn’t going to start now!  So I thought about all the things I could do before deciding to go with color and vibrancy instead of knife skills or something insanely elaborate – after all I didn’t want to screw up the food in my quest for a pretty plate.  I decided to make something with as many colors in it as possible without going too overboard while utilizing things I already had in my pantry.  Watching an episode on Chopped gave me the inspiration, and confidence, to try making a tostada.  I still had some tortillas left from the taco challenge and since tostadas are traditionally made with slightly stale tortillas the timing was perfect!

Quinoa Verde con Tostada

serves 5-6


1 1/2 cups tri-color quinoa, well rinsed

3 cups water

2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided

1 tsp cumin seeds

3 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 cup red onion, diced

3 tomatillos, diced

2 plum tomatoes, sliced

1 jalapeno, diced

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (daiya brand shreds also works!)

1 tsp cayenna powder

1/2 tbsp chili powder

4 tbsp vegetable oil

10-12 corn tortillas

1 avocado, sliced


  1. Heat 1 tbsp of canola oil in a large sauce pan. Add the quinoa and allow to cook for a minute before adding the water. Bring to a boil, the cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Set Aside
  2. Meanwhile in a large saute pan heat up the remaining oil along with the cumin seeds. Toast for 3 minutes, then add the onion and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes and then add the tomatillos, cook for another 8-10 minutes or until tomatillos are soft and garlic is golden.
  3. Remove lid from quinoa and then add the onion mixture. Stir well then toss in the tomatoes and jalapenos and set aside on a warm burner.
  4. In a medium bowl toss the cheese with the chili powders and set aside.
  5. Rinse the saute pan used for the onion mixture and then heat over medium heat with the vegetable oil. Once the oil is warm gently place the tortillas one at a time in the oil. Allow to puff up and turn golden, then flip to the other side and repeat.
  6. Move the cooked tortilla to a plate then cover with the spiced cheese. Once the cheese has melted add the quinoa along with the sliced avocado. Serve and Enjoy!

I spent a fair bit of time trying to figure out the perfect way to plate this dish, I wanted to make sure everything could be seen and keep the picture from being too saturated.  I wound up plating the dish four different ways before picking this option.  Needless to say doing this dish gave me a great appreciation for people who do this on a regular basis and will probably result in much better pictures as I will be paying a lot more attention in the future!!!


Fire Burning

Salsa Verde Black Bean Tacos


Last meet submission for the /52weeksofcooking Taco Week challenge!  I actually made this on Monday but had a rather insane week that resulted in way more delays then I thought possible.  When it comes to tacos I tend to make my black bean sweet potato ones, after all they served at our rehearsal dinner so I’m more than a little partial.  However for this challenge I wanted to go outside of my normal taco shell and try something really different.  The first thing I wanted to do was make a soft taco, and with that a filling that would have some bit to it as a contrast to the shell.  I wanted to keep beans as the primary protein but wanted to include something different.  After debating squash, zucchini, green peppers, and tomatoes I decided to try tomatillos – seeing as how I’m a huge fan of salsa verde.  I still wanted tomatoes, and more color, so I made some pico de gallo and also cut up some avacados to give them an extra boost.  The end results were flavorful and extremely filling soft tacos that provided the perfect punch of heat.

Fire Burning

Serves 4-5


4 roma tomatoes, diced

1 onion, diced and divided

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced

1 serrano chili, diced and divided

2 cloves garlic, diced

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cayanne powder

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

4 tomatillos, husked and loosely diced

1 1/2 cups black beans, presoaked

8 soft shell tacos

1 avocado, sliced


  1. Add the tomatoes, half the onions, cilantro, half of the chili, and garlic in a large bowl and blend well. Place in fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat and add the various seasonings. Heat for one minute before adding the remaining onions. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the remaining serrano chilis and cook for another 3 minutes before adding the tomatillos. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
  3. Once the tomatillos are soft add the black beans and continue to stir until everything is well blended.
  4. Meanwhile begin to heat up the soft tortillas either using a small skillet or the microwave. Fill with the bean mixture, the pico de gallo, and slices of fresh avocado.

For additional toppings Joe added cheese to his tacos while I stuck with some sour cream and some salsa verde.  I’m sure there are other ways I could have incorporated the tomatillos but cooking everything in the same pan allowed the the flavors to all build and blend, resulting in a delicious combination of flavors.