I have to be honest, I never heard of quinoa until Ryanne introduced me to it about a year or 2 ago. Since then, it’s our go-to ingredient if we want to get some protein in our diet without having to deal with cooking meat. I like that it’s a very versatile ingredient and can be used in a variety of ways. A while back I made a quinoa Mexican-style salad as a side dish and we had some leftovers. The following night Matt and I were in the mood for tacos but didn’t have any meat or ingredients to make them… other than corn tortillas and cheese. This was the birth of the Quinoa Soft Taco! It’s fresh and easy to make, not to mention super healthy. What amazes me the most about this dish is that my husband, the guy who in college only ate hotdogs and easy mac with canned peas, absolutely LOVES this dish-quinoa, avocado, and all!
Quinoa Soft Tacos
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 red onion
- 1 can black beans
- 1 cup sweet white corn (I use frozen and defrost it)
- 1 avocado
- 1 small bunch of fresh cilantro
- 2 tsp. lime juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- corn tortillas
- grated cheese of your choice
How to make Quinoa Tacos
First, cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package. It should take about 15-20 minutes. While it’s cooking you can start chopping and preparing the rest of the ingredients.
While waiting for the quinoa to cook, dice 1/2 of a red onion. I only used 1/4 of an onion here because onions have been giving me pregnancy heartburn – not fun!
Wash and dry your bunch of fresh cilantro. Tip #1 – I like to use my mini salad spinner for this… works great!
Tip #2 – I also store whatever herbs I don’t use in the refrigerator submerged in a little bit of water. It lasts longer and that way you don’t feel like you’re wasting a bunch of herbs. (and yes that’s a paint roller in the fridge as well for Tip #3 today – store a roller with paint in a ziplock bag in the fridge for a day or 2 if you’re doing a multiple-day paint project… that way the paint doesn’t dry and you don’t have to wash the roller!)
Chop the cilantro to yield about 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup, however much you want! You don’t have to worry about removing all of the stems because they have flavor as well! I ended up chopping about double of what’s in this picture.
Next rinse and strain your can of black beans, and prepare your 1 cup of corn. I usually just defrost my frozen corn in the microwave. By this time the quinoa should be about done. Remove it and place it into a bowl, add the black beans and corn.
Combine your previously chopped ingredients (cilantro, onion) as well. Add in the 2 tsp. lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.
Then I add in the avocado last because I don’t like it to get too mushy with all of the stirring. To chop the avocado I usually score the avocado as shown above and scoop out with a large spoon – no need for one of those fancy avocado cubing contraptions! Toss with quinoa mix.
Next, pre-heat your oven to about 250 F. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place the number of corn tortillas you want to make on the foil. Sprinkle the amount of cheese you’d like on your taco. I used sharp cheddar and mozzarella since that’s what I had on hand.
Then spoon about 1/3 of a cup of the quinoa mixture onto the tortilla. Put the soft tacos into the oven until the cheese melts (about 5 minutes).
Once it’s melted, serve and eat like a soft taco. You can add salsa, or your favorite taco toppings. The leftover quinoa mix can be eaten warm, or cold, as a side, or as a main dish for lunch the following day… so many options! Enjoy!