Were you a picky eater as a kid?
I was (kind of). When it came to fruit I remember only liking canned pears (yeah, weird, I know).
Desserts on the other hand? So easy to please, so long as coconut flake, cherries, or raisins weren’t involved.
Another menu item I could always get behind? Tacos. My family loved crispy tacos with ground beef and lots of salsa. My favorite thing to do was mix in some corn to the filling – I know, classy move. You don’t have to tell me how refined my palate was at 6 years old.
These days, ground beef isn’t my go-to filling for tacos. But sometimes the 6-year-old in me misses its crumbly texture and flavor.
I think you see where this is going. Quinoa makes an excellent substitution! It’s almost uncanny. Come see how.
This recipe is simple, requiring just 9 ingredients and simple methods.
Prepare quinoa, season with spices and salsa, bake until crispy, devour. See? I told you it was easy.
I got the idea for this recipe when I made my Spanish Stuffed Peppers for dinner one night and some of the quinoa spilled over in the pan and got all crispy and delicious while baking – I couldn’t get enough. That was my light bulb moment.
I hope you all LOVE this recipe! It’s:
& So delicious
This is the perfect filling for all your Mexican night needs: Tacos, burrito bowls (find my 30-minute recipe in our Everyday Cooking Cookbook!), taco salads, nachos, enchiladas, tostadas (also in the cookbook) – you name it, it works!
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #minimalistbaker on Instagram so I can see! I love seeing what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Quinoa Taco Meat
- 1 cup (184 g) tri-color, white, or red quinoa
- 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable broth*
- 3/4 cup (180 ml) water
- 1/2 cup (128 g) salsa (slightly chunky is best - I love Trader Joe’s brand)
- 1 Tbsp (3 g) nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground chili powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive or avocado oil
Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add rinsed quinoa and toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add vegetable broth and water and bring back to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce heat to low, cover with a secure lid, and cook for 15-25 minutes, or until liquid is completely absorbed. Fluff with a fork, then crack lid and let rest for 10 minutes off heat.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
Add cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients (salsa, nutritional yeast, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and oil). Toss to combine. Then spread on a lightly greased (or parchment-lined) baking sheet.
Bake for 20-35 minutes, stirring/tossing once at the halfway point to ensure even baking. The quinoa is done when it's fragrant and golden brown. Be careful not to burn!
This quinoa taco meat goes extremely well in crispy taco shells and soft taco shells, and I also think it would be perfect on nachos, taco salads, tostadas, and in enchiladas. Dream big!
Store leftovers in the refrigerator up to 4-5 days. Reheat in the microwave, in a 350 degree F (176 C) oven, or in a skillet on the stovetop.
*The vegetable broth infuses more flavor into the quinoa. But if you don't have it, just sub water and adjust spices/salsa as needed.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of roughly 6 (1/2 cup) servings.
Nutrition Per Serving (1 of 6)
- Calories: 147
- Fat: 4.5g
- Saturated fat: 0.6g
- Sodium: 415mg
- Carbohydrates: 21.4g
- Fiber: 2.6g
- Sugar: 0.8g
- Protein: 5.7g