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!
Quinoa Black Bean Tacos with Creamy Avocado Sauce
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 tacos 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Mexican
These quinoa and black bean tacos with dairy-free avocado crema are a simple and delicious weeknight dinner! They’re vegan and gluten free, too. Recipe yields about 6 hearty tacos.
Quinoa and black bean filling
- 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 1 ½ 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
- 6 to 8 small, round corn tortillas (certified gluten-free if necessary)
- 1 ½ cups roughly chopped romaine lettuce or spring greens
- Optional garnishes: pickled jalapeños or radishes, crumbled feta cheese
- 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!
Recipe inspired by Picasso Cafe in Oklahoma City and adapted from my roasted cauliflower and lentil tacos and southwestern kale power salad.
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!
This is one of our all-time favorite recipes!!! It’s easy to make, so it was a regular meal during our season with long commutes – my husband would make a HUGE batch of it in the beginning of the week for lunch/dinner that we could easily take to work. And it’s delicious, so it’s also our go-to meal when we have people over for dinner. It’s a win all around!
Wonderful! Thanks so much for your review, Taija.
I’ve had quite a few bags of quinoa laying around and I needed Ideas for work lunch and easy dinners. The recipe is fairly simple and I thought it would be just ok but to my suprise it was really tasty! I look foward to trying your other recipies.
I’m happy to hear that, Omar! Thank you for your review.
I just read elsewhere on your site that it’s best to cook the quinoa uncovered. Here you cover and cook it. ???
Hi John! Great question. I discovered the best way to cook quinoa when I was doing this post in 2016: https://cookieandkate.com/2016/perfect-quinoa/
I had the same question! I got to this post from your perfect quinoa page and was confused by the guidance to cook it covered. But I think the answer is to follow the perfect quinoa method (rather than what this recipe says?)
I got here from the perfect quinoa post too. But was thinking maybe you’d want this quinoa to be kinda mushy since it’s replicating tacos? I’ll try it and see!
I made it exactly as written and it was too thick to drain and too liquidy to eat as is. I had to put back on the burner to cook off some liquid and thicken up. Next time I’ll try the perfect quinoa recipe approach!
My husband is a big meat and potato guy, but at least once a week I make a veggie meal. Finding recipes that are satisfying for him is a challenge. Tonight he had seconds, which is the signal to me that a recipe is one to keep. We will definitely have these tacos again, without changing a thing.
I think that is a great signal! Thanks for the review, L!
I made this for our meatless Monday dinner tonight and everybody loved it. I followed as written except I didn’t add cilantro or jalapeño because of personal taste preferences. Next week I’m going to make the lentil and cauliflower tacos!
Thank you, Priscilla!
I like to start my year with a Daniel fast. It really helps me center my mind, body and soul for the year. After the craziness of the holidays, not to mention the sugar overload, it’s an awesome way to put myself back into what is important, God 1st in my life, my health, and relationships. (Google Daniel fast. There are a ton of websites that explain it).
I’m always looking for new easy recipes that fit the requirements. This recipe is awesome. Super easy, super yummy, and I made a big batch so I can pull some out and make a quick and simple meal during the week. Thank you!!
Thank you for sharing, Tam!
I just recently became vegan at the tender age of 50 and this is the first new recipe I tried. It was delicious and I will definitely make it again. Soon!
I’m so happy to hear you loved this one, Mindy! Thanks for your review.
I discovered your blog over a year ago, and my family and I have loved every recipe we have made to date. We doubled the recipe for the quinoa black bean tacos and the leftovers the next day tasted just as delicious. I omitted the red onion because I didn’t have one on hand. My teenage daughters love your colorful weeknight burrito bowls from your Love Real Food cookbook as well. I share your recipes with my friends when they are looking for vegan or vegetarian meals.
Thank you for sharing, Lisa! Yes, I love the burrito bowls from my cookbook. I appreciate your review!
Can you double the recipe? Would you cook it for the same amount of time?
Hi Ashley! This one should work well doubled. You may need to cook it slightly longer. Just start with the original time and then add based on if more seems needed.
This recipe sounds delicious, however my husband does not like avocados so what kind of sauce could I use on top instead?
You could use a salsa and omit the avocado sauce.
I have 2.5cups of cooked quinoa. Should I add all of it to the recipe? I’m trying to use this leftover lol. Thank you!
So yummy and thank you for sharing!
Our family is obsessed with these! New family weeknight favourite. Thank you!
You’re welcome, Stacey!
I have just made this recipe for my dinner tonight and it was AMAZING. I love cilantro and lime together and the jalapeño heat! It tastes so good!!! This definitely hit the spot. Will certainly be buying your cookbook and trying out more tasty recipes!!! Thank you! xx
You’re welcome, Sophie! Thank you for your review.
I’m obsessed with your website. This is the 3rd recipe I’ve made in 2 days. Cauliflower soup & steel cut oatmeal were both delicious and easy to prepare. Can’t wait to have this for supper! I have become a flexitarian eating a little fish, no meat and some dairy for health reasons but really love eating a plant based diet. Thanks for sharing your recipes.
I am so happy I made this last night for my family! It was a hit and we’ll be making it again. It really makes me want to try your cauliflower and lentil tacos!
We served ours with feta. The avocado sauce was incredible! I wish I had read the tip sooner on making sure the plastic wrap touches the surface of the sauce when storing it – oops. Next time (because there WILL be a next time)!
Thanks for sharing!
OMG, this recipe is utterly delicious. After not so successfully experimenting with different vegetarian taco recipes, this one was the hands-down hit. Easy, healthy, flavorful. The kids loved it. Even the anti-cilantro husband loved it. It’s going into regular rotation.
I just made this, and it’s better than my go to McCormick seasoning packets!! It’s so good, and it’s nice to have a yummy vegetarian option. Especially when ground beef is difficult to find these days in my area.
We’re not vegetarian, just trying to eat less meat. This was very yummy and filling! I used reduced sodium beans and broth and no salt added tomato paste to lower the high sodium content.
Hey! I made this tonight, and we thoroughly enjoyed it! Does your estimated nutritional information include the avocado cream on the tacos?
Hi Christy! Yes, it does.
Brooke M. Pope
These were amazining. The avocado cream sauce put it over the edge, I’ll be adding the sauce to other dishes.
New to eating vegetarian, loved these tacos! I made sourdough tortillas to wrap them in, and then used the leftovers to top a spinach salad. Thanks for the great start to a new lifestyle!
I made the quinoa and black bean tacos tonight. They were excellent!! Thank you so much! So healthy and tasted fabulous. I can’t wait to make them for my vegan daughter and son-in-law.
We made these tonight; omg we each ate FOUR lol They were delish and went together really fast. That sauce….. gold.
This was delicious! Thank you for another great recipe!!
September 5, 2020
I recently decided to go back to vegetarian and fish, pescatarian? I realized I feel so much better. Anyway, I have tried a few of your recipes off the internet. Everything has been so very delicious that I have decided to buy your cook book.
I just finished reading your explanation of how to best cook quinoa! Thanks for that!! Many of these grains/not grains are new to me so information is appreciated.
You’re welcome, Kathleen! Thank you for your comment and review.
This looks great. But do I follow the recipe, and cook the quinoa covered?
Hi! You can follow my How to Cook Perfect Quinoa & 10 Quinoa Recipes. I found this method after some of my earlier recipes. Enjoy!
First time visitor to your site Kate,
Went looking for cooking “fluffy- quinoa” found your site, and was pulled in further, by your clean, clear, recipes, good instructions, photos, and Nutritional Facts.
However, I DISTAIN “Social Media” and so will go back to your site, in order to view more info. Signed -Up for Newsletter which will show more about the SITE and you.
BTW, your perfect quinoa-recipe is just that!
Thank you, and I am at High Altuities 7,000 + feet.
Welcome to Cookie + Kate! I’m glad you found the blog and can’t wait to hear what other recipes you try.
If you make the avo sauce earlier in the day, will it brown by dinner time? Wondering how far in advance I can make it without it turning ew brown…
Hi Karen, if you have it in a sealed container it may be ok. Let me know if you try it!
I did! Made it about noon and covered it. It was fresh and perfect at 6pm. Not one bit of brown. Thank you for a yummy recipe!
Wonderful, Jen! Thank you for your review.
Antonio A Inserni
Super easy, very good! This was excellent the day I made it, and as a left-over today (a week later). I used Penzeys Indian Cumin and Penzeys Ancho Chili power, Better than Broth (chicken) for the liquid, w limes from my garden. The avocado wasn’t quite ripe, but worked well anyway. I had about 1/2 can of the store brand tomato paste left, so combined it with some canned corn, a little chili power and some cumin for an excellent side dish.
A grocery delivery service sent me a bag of red quinoa instead of something else I ordered, so I was on the hunt for a new quinoa recipe. This is a winner with my hubby and kids (10 & 5), and a great addition to our vegetarian recipe collection. I would agree with other comments that there’s too much liquid (too thick to drain excess) so I put it back on the heat for a few minutes after adding the black beans. When I make this again, I’ll likely add more cumin & salt, may be even oregano (something was missing for me).
I’m sorry you didn’t love this as is, Deanna. I appreciate you sharing your feedback.
OH MY GOSH!!! This rated a ‘do again’ from myself and my husband …. and we wouldn’t make any changes!! This will definitely be on our rotation of dishes going forward!!
Hooray! I’m glad you both loved it.