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
Quinoa and black bean tacos - a hearty, flavorful, vegan alternative to meat tacos.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa $2.00
- 1 clove garlic $0.08
- 1/2 tsp salt $0.03
- 1/2 Tbsp chili powder $0.07
- 1/4 tsp cumin $0.02
- 1/4 tsp oregano $0.02
- 1/4 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
- 1/4 bunch cilantro $0.20
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.
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.
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.
When the quinoa has finished cooking, remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Add the drained black beans and stir to combine.
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 1/4 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.
Step By Step Photos
The 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.
Put 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.
While the quinoa is cooking, whip up your pico de gallo (it only takes about five minutes). The recipe is here.
Also 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.
After cooking, the quinoa looks like this.
Give it a fluff with a fork, then stir in your rinsed and drained black beans.
These 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.
Just 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 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!
This would probably also be a great filling for burritos! Or a taco salad! Okay, now I’m excited.