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).
Lunch was almost always a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and dinner was often cheese and shells. If my parents put creamed corn on the table, it was a guaranteed meltdown (hated the stuff).
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.
*Note: you can learn about the origins of tacos here.
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 Quinoa 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
Amazingly flavorful taco “meat” made with quinoa, smoky seasonings, and salsa! Baked until hot and crispy. A healthy substitute for ground beef (just 9 ingredients)!Print SAVE SAVED
Prep Time 15 minutes Cook Time 45 minutes Total Time 1 hour Servings 6 (1/2-cup servings)Course EntreeCuisine Gluten-Free, Mexican-Inspired, VeganFreezer Friendly 1 monthDoes it keep? 4-5 Daysfrom votes
Prevent your screen from going dark
US Customary – Metric
1 cup tri-color, white, or red quinoa1 cup vegetable broth*3/4 cup water
1/2 cup salsa (slightly chunky is best – I love Trader Joe’s brand)1 Tbsp nutritional yeast2 tsp ground cumin2 tsp ground chili powder1/2 tsp garlic powder1/2 tsp each sea salt and black pepper1 Tbsp 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.
Nutrition (1 of 6 servings)
Serving: 1 half-cup servings Calories: 147 Carbohydrates: 21.4 g Protein: 5.7 g Fat: 4.5 g Saturated Fat: 0.6 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 415 mg Fiber: 2.6 g Sugar: 0.8 g