Making Instant Pot quinoa and red beans with Cuban flavors is an easy vegan dinner. It’s a protein rich dinner that is ready in 25 minutes.
When you are short on time, what do you do?
I have run for my food delivery app and that’s not good.
Here is a recipe that I have amended, so I can make it in just 25 minutes!
Now, I have no excuse to not eat a protein rich meal!
Originally published on December 26, 2017 at 6:40pm. Here to see why this recipe was updated.
Here is a quick look at the ingredients. It is to understand why these specific ingredients were chosen. To get the full recipe, go to the bottom of this post.
Tri-colored Quinoa – Quinoa is a complete protein ingredient! It’s a hearty ingredient that is filling. These tiny grains pack quite a nutrition punch. Just 1/4 cup of quinoa has about 8-10 cups of protein and 5-8g of fiber.
Small red beans – I used dried red beans in this recipe because I am not a fan of canned beans. You can use either type of beans, but I strongly recommend dried version. These small red beans are packed with protein too. They have 7 or the 9 essential amino acids.
Cuban seasoning – Cuban seasoning is very unique in that it uses Annatto seads (part of the Achiote tree seeds). They provide that deep rich red color in so many Cuban cusines. The dried spices in it are great for the gut and digestion. I made my own cuban seasoning, but you can also (Affiliate Link) get this seasoning from Amazon.
Black pepper – Black pepper gets no love! This spice has benefits like being rich in antioxidants, reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugars and even sooth an upset stomach. Source: Insider.com.
Why you should be soaking beans!
If you are like me, you prefer using dried beans because canned beans have preservatives and extra sodium. Dried beans are easy to work with, so I prefer using them.
But, there is one drawback with all beans. They have Phytohaemagglutinin (PHA) which is a type of lectin. It wrecks havoc on your gut and digestive system. In some cases, it’s been known to cause poisoning effects on the body.
So, lectin needs to be tamed and then, you can eat it without any trouble. Soaking them overnight or 8 hours will weaken or remove the lectin from beans. Then, pressure cook them or use a crock pot to cook them. This will make them easy on the digestive system.
Handy Tip: Red beans have lectin in them that causes gut problems. Soak ½ cup of red beans in 2 cups of water overnight. Drain the water in the morning and cook it.
How to make these quinoa and beans
- Set your Instant Pot to “Saute” and let it heat for 30 seconds before adding the avocado oil and red onions.
- Drain the water from the soaked red beans and rinse them. Add the red beans, pink salt, Cuban seasoning and black pepper to the Instant Pot.
- Add 2 cups of water to the Instant Pot and mix well. This can be tap water or use Spring water.
- Close the lid to the Instant Pot and choose “Pressure Cook” option. Remove the “keep warm” option and set the time to 15 minutes.
- Gently open the lid when the Instant Pot has cooled down and the valve has dropped. Add the Quinoa and mix well. Close the lid again and this time, Pressure Cook for 1 minute. Let it cool before opening it.
- Add the lime juice and gently mix well. This Instant Pot quinoa and red beans are now ready to be served.
👩🍳 Pressure cooking tip: The floating valve should always drop before you open the lid. When the valve is up, the Instant Pot is still pressurized. A natural pressure release of the steam makes sure that your food is cooked effectively.
Answering common questions
Yes, you can absolutely use black beans instead. If possible, use dried black beans instead of canned. Follow the same soaking method.
No, both beans are different. Kidney beans are larger in size and more shaped like a kidney. Red beans are small in size and look more like a pebble, instead of a bean. Source: RandallBeans.com.
Yes, put the ingredients into your slow cooker and let it do the cooking. It should take about 3 hours.
A half cup of dry red beans turn into about 1 cup of soaked red beans.
You can absolutely use rice instead of quinoa. In fact, this dish is normally called Cuban rice and beans because rice is a staple. I try not eat as much rice as I used to, so I used quinoa instead. Try adding basmati rice or brown rice.
🥄 Quantity Tip: A half cup of dry red beans turn into about 1 cup of soaked red beans.
Make ahead and storage
How psyched are you that I made a recipe that can actually made ahead?! I am good at making recipes that are to be consumed immediately. So, I am trying to challenge myself to do more meal-prep.
I am so happy that I can make these quinoa and red beans ahead of time, then freeze/refrigerate it. If you are like me and hat meal prep, start small. I started by getting started on getting the essentials of meal-prep.
To refrigerate, as always, use glass containers like these (Affiliate Links) glass meal prep containers with 2 compartments. They will keep the quinoa fresh for about 7 days. Also, refrigerate them in single serve portions so you don’t have to thaw the whole batch every time.
Freeze them in freezer friendly bags and store them for up to 6 months.
To heat refrigerated, just place the glass container in a 250°F (121°C) mini oven. Heat for 15 minutes and you are good to go. DO NOT microwave them.
To thaw, remove from the bags and place directly in the oven or stove top. Do not thaw at room temperature because they will get soggy.
Storage tip: Glass containers are better storage option because it’s elements won’t seep into the food. Plastics normally seep into food, especially when heated.
What to serve with these quinoa and beans
- This recipe was originally as part of a vegan Cuban bowl on Bowl-Me-Over’s website. In it, I served these quinoa with homemade sofrito and baked plantains. You can also serve it with fried plantains.
- They would be great with a side of broccoli and potatoes or just steamed broccoli.
- Yesterday, I served them with baked purple potatoes and they were a huge hit!
- A side of avocado tomato salad would be the perfect compliment to these quinoa and beans.
Try these other bean recipes
- Have you tried making quinoa soup in the Instant Pot? It’s super easy and delicious!
- Cook a hearty 3 bean chili in your slow cooker and you will love it.
- A colorful navy beans salad is a super easy salad to take to picnics or take it to backyard parties.
- Try this stuffed sweet potato with black beans and spinach.
Sharing is caring
Don’t be shy, chime in below in the comments. Let me hear your opinion on this Instant Pot quinoa recipe. If you enjoyed this, please give it 5 stars and share it on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube.
Instant Pot Quinoa and Red Beans
- 1 Instant Pot (6qt)
For soaking the red beans
- ½ cup small red beans I used dried red beans, but you can use canned.
- 2 cup water
For cooking the quinoa and beans
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil
- ¼ cup red onions finely diced
- 1 tsp pink salt See notes
- 1 Tbsp Cuban seasoning
- ½ tsp black pepper adjust to taste
- 2 cup water
- ⅔ cup quinoa
- 1 tsp lime juice
Soaking the beans
- Soak the beans in a bowl for 8 hours to overnight.
- In the morning, drain the water completely.
- Place the beans in a colander and rinse the beans once with warm water.
Cook the quinoa and beans
- Set your Instant Pot to "Saute" and let it heat for 30 seconds .
- Add the red beans, pink salt, Cuban seasoning and black pepper.
- Add 2 cups of water to the Instant Pot and mix well.
- Close the lid to the Instant Pot and choose "Pressure Cook" option. Remove the "keep warm" option and set the time to 15 minutes.
- Gently open the lid when the Instant Pot has cooled down and the valve has dropped.
- Add the Quinoa and mix well.
- Close the lid again and this time, Pressure Cook for 1 minute.
- Let it cool before opening it.
- Add the lime juice and gently mix well. Serve or refrigerate.
These images are horrible, right? I loved the recipe, but don’t like the pics, so I am remaking it. Also, this recipe was made in a crock pot. I am not a fan of it because I want more for fast, effortless recipes.
I kept the new recipe close to the old one, but I didn’t add any bell peppers. If you have them on hand, use them.