You guys are the best. You know that, right? Two months ago, when I shared my roasted cauliflower and lentil tacos recipe, I asked you to hop over to Facebook and vote for my recipe. You did, and my tacos won!
That means my tacos will represent the United States at the United Nations’ 2016 International Year of Pulses celebrations. (Pulses are beans, lentils and other dried legumes and they were selected based on their significant health, economic and environmental benefits.) Basically, you’ve made this food nerd verrrry happy. Thank you! Thank you to the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council for letting me participate, too.
Since 2016 seems so far away, I thought we’d celebrate today with some more tacos! These are inspired by some that I ordered last week at my friend’s bachelorette party. I was sitting next to my college roommates, sipping my cocktail very slowly, and feeling sappy about how grown-up we are now.
The waiter came by and I ordered some quinoa tacos, hoping that they would be hearty enough to fill me up. They were, fortunately, and they were so tasty that I had to recreate them at home right away.
The quinoa and black bean filling takes cues from traditional ground beef fillings, but offers lots of plant-based protein and fiber. I couldn’t resist topping it with a generous spread of creamy, tangy avocado sauce and some romaine lettuce for some requisite crunch. To really make the flavors pop, add a few pickled jalapeños and/or crumbled feta cheese.
Perhaps the best part is that these tacos are ready in 30 minutes. I hope they are a new weeknight favorite for you, too!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup chopped red onion
- 2 large garlic cloves, pressed or minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground chili powder
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well in a fine mesh colander
- 1 cup vegetable broth or water
- 1 (14 ounce) can black beans or 1½ cups cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 large avocado, sliced into long strips
- 1 to 2 medium limes, juiced
- 1 medium jalapeño, deseeded, membranes removed and roughly chopped
- 1 handful fresh cilantro
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- To make the filling, warm the olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic with a dash of salt for 4 to 5 minutes, until the onions are softened and turning translucent. Add the tomato paste, cumin and chili powder and sauté for another minute, stirring constantly.
- Add the rinsed quinoa and 1 cup broth or water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then cover the pot, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the quinoa from heat and let it rest, still covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot, drain off any excess liquid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Stir in the drained black beans and add salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and set aside for a couple of minutes to warm up the beans.
- To make the avocado sauce: Simply combine the ingredients as listed in a food processor or blender. Blend well and season with salt, to taste.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the tortillas in a single layer, flipping halfway. Wrap the warmed tortillas with a lint-free tea towel until ready to serve. To assemble the tacos, spread quinoa and black bean filling down the center of the tortilla, then top with a generous drizzle of avocado crema, a handful of chopped romaine and any additional garnishes you’d like to add. Eat up!
Make it vegan/dairy free: Just don't add cheese!
Make it gluten free: Be sure to use certified gluten-free corn tortillas.
Make it tomato free: Skip the tomato paste.
Storage suggestions: Store individual components separately. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the avocado sauce to prevent oxidation. Warm the tortillas and filling just before serving, then top with avocado sauce and chopped romaine.
Love this recipe? Check out more taco recipes here!