quinoa black bean tacos

$7.71 recipe / $0.96 serving

Shhhhhh…. They’re VEGAN!

I decided to experiment a little more with vegan food in 2013. Now, before you get your panties all in a bundle, hear me out.

I’m an omnivore and probably always will be. I eat everything, animal and non-animal, but that doesn’t mean that every meal has to include both. I see vegan food as a challenge (I LOVE challenges) and a good way to incorporate more fresh food and fiber into my diet. Also, I’m only really interested in food that just happens to be vegan, not strange ingredients or concoctions that are meant to replace animal products. I plan to use only ingredients that can be found at regular grocery stores. Luckily, quinoa has become so popular in the past few years, that you pretty much can find it at any grocery store these days. And if you can’t? You can sub with rice. Rice and beans together make a complete (and delicious) protein source.

Quinoa is great because it cooks up quickly, can be seasoned with just about anything, is highly nutritious, and has a really fun texture. I mixed in some black beans (‘cuz I love ’em) and seasoned it all up with some taco spices. I topped the tacos with homemade pico de gallo (which is absolutely to die for) and a slice of avocado for that rich creaminess that I’d normally get from cheese or sour cream. Quick, simple, delicious.

Here are some other fun toppings for your tacos: pineapple, mango, jalapenos, corn, or sauteed mushrooms (okay, now I’m just thinking about all of the things that I like to put on my burritos at Izzo’s).

The verdict: Super fast, super easy, super tasty, and way more satisfying than I expected! Love ’em! (and cheap, as usual)

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

4.8 from 5 reviews
quinoa black bean tacos
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $7.71
Cost Per Serving: $0.96
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa $2.00
  • 1 clove garlic $0.08
  • ½ tsp salt $0.03
  • ½ Tbsp chili powder $0.07
  • ¼ tsp tsp cumin $0.02
  • ¼ tsp oregano $0.02
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika $0.02
  • 2 cups cooked black beans* $0.42
  • 1 recipe pico de gallo $1.91
  • 1 medium avocado $1.00
  • 16 small corn tortillas $1.94
  • ¼ bunch cilantro $0.20
  1. Use a wire mesh sieve to rinse the quinoa very, very well (this removes the bitter taste). If you don’t have a wire mesh sieve, you can put the quinoa in a bowl with water, swish it around and carefully pour off the water. Repeat this process until the water is fairly clear.
  2. Put the rinsed quinoa in a medium pot along with the clove of garlic (minced), salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, and 1.5 cups of water. Stir to combine. Put a lid on the pot, turn the heat on to high, and bring it up to a boil. As soon as it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and let it sit (with the lid in place) for an additional 10 minutes.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the pico de gallo according to these directions (it’s as easy as chop and stir). Rinse the black beans well in a colander and allow the excess water to drain off.
  4. When the quinoa has finished cooking, remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Add the drained black beans and stir to combine.
  5. Lightly toast the tortillas in a skillet over medium heat until each side is just slightly golden brown (tortillas should still be pliable). To make each taco, place about ¼ cup of the quinoa/black bean mixture in the center of a tortilla. Add about 1-2 tablespoons of pico de gallo, one slice of avocado, and a few sprigs of cilantro. Fold and eat!
*I used black beans that I had cooked in my slow cooker, but you can replace this with one 15-ounce can of black beans.

Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

Step By Step Photos

Rinse QuinoaThe first step is to rinse the quinoa really, really well. This removes the natural substance on the outside of the quinoa that tends to taste bitter. A wire mesh sieve makes this a LOT easier. Do not try it with a colander as these little suckers are small and will slip right through.

season quinoaPut the rinsed (and drained) quinoa in a pot and add minced garlic, salt, chili powder, oregano, smoked paprika, and 1.5 cups of water. Stir to combine. Put a lid on top, turn the heat on to high, and let it come up to a full boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and allow it to continue to steam with the lid on for another 10 minutes.

pico de galloWhile the quinoa is cooking, whip up your pico de gallo (it only takes about five minutes). The recipe is here.

rinse black beansAlso rinse off your black beans. You can either use one 15-ounce can of store bought black beans or two cups of home cooked beans. I had some home cooked beans in my freezer, so I used those.

cooked quinoaAfter cooking, the quinoa looks like this.

add black beansGive it a fluff with a fork, then stir in your rinsed and drained black beans.

corn tortillasThese are the tortillas I used. You’ll want to toast or fry them or else they’ll just taste like corn flour. I prefer to lightly toast mine in a dry skillet.

toasted tortillasJust lightly toast them over medium heat so that they’re lightly golden brown, but still flexible enough to fold around the taco fillings without cracking.

build Quinoa Black Bean TacoBuild your tacos with about 1/4 cup quinoa/bean filling, a tablespoon or two of pico de gallo, a slice of avocado, and a sprig or two of cilantro. Yum!

Quinoa Black Bean Taco FillingThis would probably also be a great filling for burritos! Or a taco salad! Okay, now I’m excited.


  1. Thanks for all the vegetarian/vegan recipes! My daughter has been pescetarian for the last year, and is now attempting the leap to veganism. You’ve give her/me a lot of healthy, delicious recipes to try!

  2. Diana says:

    I think this is by far, hands down, my FAVOURITE recipe of yours!!! Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that I am allergic to quinoa…. :( I still pass along this recipe to anyone who mentions they don’t know what to make for dinner. I still can’t get over how tasty and easy it was to prepare.

    • Try substituting rice for the quinoa!!! I’ve made these for my sister with rice instead since quinoa is pretty overpriced and damaging to the economy and they were deliiicious

  3. Bryan says:

    These were delicious!!! Loved you pico too!!! Excellent!! This is now in my digital recipe box.Thanx!

  4. Samantha says:

    I’m pretty sure this was my one of my first Budget Bytes dinners back when it was first posted, and I just made it again for tonight…they’re every bit as delicious as I remember, and my mouth is watering thinking about eating it tomorrow! Just so much flavour and amazing in one lil taco. I underestimated how much quinoa I had left over from my last quinoa use though, so I ended up using about 1/4 of the jasmine rice I had on-hand to supplement, and it still turned out amazing :)

  5. Karl E says:

    Hi Beth, just wondering what the best way would be to quickly prepare canned black beans for this as I’m unsure if they’re pre-cooked.

    Thanks as always for the recipe – I have vegetarian & gluten-free friends to cater for so this should be perfect given the corn tortillas and quinoa!

    • One can of black beans is about 1.5 cups, so I think I would use just one can rather than increasing it to two cans. You can just drain the beans, give them a quick rinse, and use them in the recipe like I did the “cooked” black beans. Canned beans are already cooked. :)

  6. Andrea says:

    My husband and I tried this last night- we are looking for more vegan/vegetarian options, as a cost saving measure! We are meat-eaters, but like to explore meatless options. This was fabulous!! I love cooking with quinoa- quick, healthy, and filling! We didn’t have corn tortillas, so we used flour (like a med size) so it was probably worth 2 smaller tacos) and lots of homemade pico. Yum!! Also did add just a smidge of mexican shredded cheese, and then put in filling, and heated in the microwave. Definitely on our must repeat list!! Thanks!

  7. Deborah says:

    I just made tonight for my husband and I. My husband and I eat meat but we wanted to eat less and experience more vegetarian/vegan recipes.

    This was surprisingly not bad! The texture was very interesting actually, different but good. Did I miss the meat? Yes, a little bit, but that’s because I never had tacos without, but I would be happy to make this again on a Meatless Monday!

    Good recipe, cheap with a fantastic texture to it. Win !

  8. Shana Ulrich says:

    I just finished eating this and it was AMAZING!

  9. Elisabeth says:

    My husband and I made these 2 nights ago using farro instead of quinoa since that’s what we had in the house. They were amazing! Quick, easy, fresh, delicious. Bonus – yesterday and this morning we mixed up the leftover filling and pico with eggs in the skillet for breakfast tacos.

  10. Made it into a casserole with the beans, my boyfriend’s homemade salsa and some habanero shredded cheese (I know it cancels out the vegan part) it was amazing. Maybe next time we will try adding some chorizio!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I was recently introduced to quinoa about a year ago and I absolutely love it. I am not vegan so instead of cooking the quinoa in water, I used chicken broth and then added cheese to the taco. Delicious

  12. Emily says:

    I just made this for dinner and it was absolutely delicious! Instead of the pico de gallo and avocado slices, I used a little guacamole and chopped tomatoes. I think this was every bit as good as the turkey tacos I normally make. Unfortunately my husband didn’t like the quinoa at all, but he is a ridiculously picky eater. Thanks for the recipe!

  13. I ate this 4 days in a row…awkward that it was supposed to be 8 servings and I made it 4 :/ but oh well! So, so delicious and so, so satisfying. The only corn tortillas at my grocery store came in packs of 6, so the last day I just mixed the last of my quinoa/bean mixture with the last of my pico de gallo and some cubed avocado and ate it like that. Still totally amazing. Thanks so much. Will definitely be making again!

  14. I have been following your blog for awhile and finally tried these. I sauteed some onions and peppers to top these and used lettuce instead of tortillas and it was delicious. I am in love with quinoa tacos now! Thank you for sharing.

  15. Anonymous says:

    These are possibly the best tacos I’ve ever had!!! I topped mine with an avocado mango salsa and they were glorious! Excited for more vegetarian and vegan recipes!Thanks for sharing!

  16. Anonymous says:

    Yay! I just discovered this site and love that you are including more vegan food!!

  17. I made a version of this yesterday for a quick healthy lunch. I didn’t feel like making pico de gallo so I just through in some store bought salsa and a fresh jalapeno. It was amazing! I loved every bite!

  18. Holy delicious Batman! Beth these were so tatsy and super filling! Thank you so much for sharing and I look forward to trying some more of your recipes.

  19. “I see vegan food as a challenge (I LOVE challenges) and a good way to incorporate more fresh food and fiber into my diet. Also, I’m only really interested in food that just happens to be vegan, not strange ingredients or concoctions that are meant to replace animal products.”

    I fully support this statement! About 4 years ago, I moved to a more vegetarian diet. Now, the majority of food I eat is vegetarian or vegan. I still eat and enjoy meat, but focusing on a vegetarian diet helps me ensure I’m getting enough healthy stuff in my diet. I recently posted a delicious vegan soup on my blog – check it out!


  20. I made the quinoa as a sub for the rice in the Taco Chicken Bowls! So tasty.

  21. Ryan Benson says:

    I just had this and it was fantastic! The mixture itself is very good, but the combination of the creaminess of the avocado and the addition of the homemade pico was perfect! I devoured three and I’m completely stuffed, and it barely made a dent in the pot of quinoa-bean mixture. Thank you for the recipe and so many others. My fiancee and I love your site and your wonderful ideas!

  22. Love your blog! These tacos look great. I love subbing things like quinoa for meat – not because I’m vegetarian, but because it’s a real cost saver (plus it’s healthy and helps the environment)! ;)

  23. Love it! I’ve never tried making quinoa before, but I think I’ll give it a go now. I don’t have a metal sieve and that always put a stop to my plans. Thanks for the tip! And I love your philosophy towards vegan food, mainly because it’s similar to my own. I don’t see the point in substituting fake food for real food, but I do end up eating vegan and vegetarian things quite often.

  24. Lauren – Yep, I think the mix would freeze great!

  25. This looks great and I have some quinoa in dire need of being eaten! Do you think the mixture would freeze okay? I love making your lentil taco recipe and freezing some to have for lunches.

  26. Anon – Hmmm, I haven’t cooked a lot with bulgur. I think I’ve seen people use it to make veggie burgers, though. I would try going to a site like tastespotting.com or foodgawker.com and type bulgur into the search field. Hopefully that will give you a lot of ideas! :D

  27. Yummm! My New Year’s resolution is going vegan. I’m looking forward to more of your vegan posts!

  28. Anonymous says:

    I’ve had a bag of quinoa in the back of my pantry forever. I love quinoa but usually just go for the old standby of rice and beans because that’s what I usually crave and it’s delicious. Now I am inspired to use up that bag of quinoa and make this! I also have a bag of bulgur wheat (cracked wheat) in the back of my pantry and am struggling with more ideas for it besides tabouli. Any thoughts? Thanks so much Beth! I love all of your recipes and love browsing through them on the weekends to plan my meals. Can’t wait for your cookbook!

  29. i totally agree with you regarding the whole vegan thing because I am not vegetarian totally. I love meat but want to explore other veggies and whole grain options. I have been trying to add easy, inexpensive healthy food in my diet and quinoa def. makes there on my list. I have usually had as a salad or patties but this def. something I will be trying out soon. thanks so much for the recipe.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Please keep the vegan posts coming!

  31. Vegan (insert item) has been my latest Google trend. One of my boys is allergic to eggs, I have found this is the easiest way to find egg-free recipes. (Although I usually make it non-vegan in some way.)
    I love your recipes, and so does my family. I may try this one tonight! Thank you for sharing all of your budget-friendly healthy recipes!

  32. whoa, why didn’t i think of this? definitely trying it soon :)

  33. I’m not vegan but I also love the challenge of making things vegan. I’m excited for these upcoming recipes!

  34. Looks very tasty. I like spicy food, it’ so piquant! Have some ideas of saving money on buying food:
    Efficient eating

  35. Anonymous says:

    And I’ll be making this today, looks delicious.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Just so you know, quinoa is not a grain, it’s a seed.

  37. These look wonderful! I love the idea of more vegan, just not sure I’ll get the hubby approval on it, lol.

  38. This looks amazing, and I am super excited for more vegan recipes.

  39. Your “panties in a bundle” comment made me giggle. May I suggest “knickers in a twist” for future blog posts? Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  40. Sautéed onion in olive oil. Added cooked quinoa and cannelloni beans. Sprinkled with garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Topped with fresh salsa and chopped romaine on corn tortillas. So freaking good!

  41. I LOVE IZZO’S!!! It’s been one of my favorite places for lunch lately.

  42. I LOVE IZZO’S!!! It’s been one of my favorite places for lunch lately.

  43. I make a similar vegan taco filling, but for me fresh corn is a must, mixed beans if you want to lower the carbs, and defintely gotta throw on some cilantro.

  44. I lived with vegans in one of my first ever flats and I learnt so.much about cooking from them. Good vegan food is INCREDIBLE – and good vegan cooks are epic cooks. Defo keen to make this, although I suspect I would probably sneak some cheese in there nonetheless…

  45. this is genius! love the idea! i am going to make this for my family. even with my kids as picky eaters, i know they will enjoy it. :)

  46. Normally I object to wrapping a carb in another carb (forget Oreos, rice-filled burritos are the most unhealthy food in the world, IMHO), but this has enough fiber to make it okay. I’m going to try it, but will likely upsize the veggie component of the tacos and downsize the quinoa.

  47. Normally I object to wrapping a carb in another carb (forget Oreos, rice-filled burritos are the most unhealthy food in the world, IMHO), but this has enough fiber to make it okay. I’m going to try it, but will likely upsize the veggie component of the tacos and downsize the quinoa.

  48. Yum! What a great way to get filled up without spending a lot!

  49. Wow, I never thought of putting quinoa in tacos but it sounds like a great idea! Keep the vegetarian recipes coming. :)

  50. I love this recipe! Can’t wait to try it. I also share all your vegan recipes with my vegan friend. Thanks Beth! You make my cooking life filled with so much more variety! I love your recipes!

  51. Yay for more vegan recipes! :)

  52. Right now I am not eating grains (for Phase One) but this just went on my to-try list for later!

    • Shannon says:

      From what I understand, quinoa is gluten free (common misconception is that it is a grain) so if that’s the reason, I’m sure you can still have these tacos.

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