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A New Twist on Moros y Cristianos

Moros y Cristianos is traditionally a hot dish that combines black beans and rice. This updated version  features quinoa and beans and can be served cold or room temperature. Light and nutritious, it’s a perfect choice for summer picnics and back to school lunchboxes since it does not contain any ingredients that will spoil in the heat.  It can be made ahead and holds well in the refrigerator for a quick meal after a long day.

left-quoteWhen my son was a toddler, we had to avoid so many foods  And then he had the audacity to be picky on top of that!  He didn't really like a lot of meats, so I was always looking for ways to get more protein, fat and power packed calories into him.  I started experimenting with quinoa because we were so tired of rice and potatoes. This became our go-to pot luck dish and still is. —  Kathy Pright-quote

Not only is this recipe free of all of the “top 8” allergens, it is also vegetarian and very high in protein, fiber and other nutrients.

Moros y Cristianos


1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp olive oil, divided use
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced
1 small red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp cilantro or flat leaf parsley, minced
1 15 oz can low-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small can sliced black olives, drained (optional)


Thoroughly wash quinoa to remove the bitter saponin and drain. Combine with 1 cup water and 1/2 tsp salt in small saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Add 1 Tbsp oil, fluff with fork and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl combine celery, red pepper, black beans and olives. In a small shaker jar combine remaining oil, vinegar and seasonings; shake to combine and then pour over contents of bowl. Stir to combine. Add cooled quinoa and cilantro. Toss well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Makes approximately six 1/2 cup servings

Nutritional Information

Each 1/2 cup serving is estimated to contain the following:

  • Calories: 208
  • Fat: 11 g (can be reduced by using less oil and/or omitting black olives)
  • Cholesterol: 0g
  • Sodium: 449 mg (may be reduced by thoroughly rinsing and draining the black beans and/or omitting black olives)
  • Carbohydrates: 22g
  • Protein: 6g

Check out our Allergy-Friendly Lunch Hacks to make packing lunches a little easier, as well as these recipes:

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Welcome to KFA Caroline!  Hope you try it and enjoy it!


We just sent dd off to college and this was one of the things she wanted to be able to make in her dorm to keep in the fridge to snack on.  She practiced making it before move in day and served it to extended family for dinner along w/ grilled meat.  There were no leftovers!

Kathy P
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