Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

$7.71 recipe / $0.96 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.92 from 12 votes
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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

top view of two Quinoa Black Bean Tacos on counter, bowl of pico and half of an avocado in background

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Quinoa Black Bean Tacos

4.92 from 12 votes
Quinoa and black bean tacos - a hearty, flavorful, vegan alternative to meat tacos.
Servings 8
Prep 10 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 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 ground cumin ($0.02)
  • 1/4 tsp dried 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 avocado ($1.00)
  • 16 small corn tortillas ($1.94)
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro ($0.20)

Instructions 

  • 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!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingCalories: 269.56kcalCarbohydrates: 45.61gProtein: 10.11gFat: 6.43gSodium: 355.99mgFiber: 10.4g
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Top view of two Quinoa Black Bean Tacos on cutting board, package of tortillas, bowl of pico, half of an avocado, lime slices and cilantro on the side

Step By Step Photos

Rinsing Quinoa in strainer
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.

seasonings added to cooked quinoa in pot
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.

pico de Gallo in bowl with fork
While the quinoa is cooking, whip up your pico de gallo (it only takes about five minutes). The recipe is here.

black beans in colander to rinse
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.

cooked quinoa in pot
After cooking, the quinoa looks like this.

fluffed quinoa with black beans added
Give it a fluff with a fork, then stir in your rinsed and drained black beans.

package of corn tortillas
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.

toasting tortilla in 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.

assembled Quinoa Black Bean Tacos
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!

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

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Comments

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  1. We love these tacos so much! The bean and quinoa mixture freezes well, so it’s great for a super fast and easy meal – especially if you forego the homemade pico and go with salsa from the fridge. So yummy and easy.

  2. Wow!!! So delicious and nutritious! I meant to make the lime crema with this, but got lazy so a dollop of sour cream with this is also perfect. I cannot wait to make more recipes!

  3. This recipe has been on my regular list for year! We love it – it is so good! Thanks for such a fantastic idea!

  4. Had this for dinner last night. Yummy and filling. The avocado was a very nice addition. Realized at the last minute that I was out of onion and cilantro 😕, so served with a homemade tomatillo salsa instead of pico. Thanks for a nice twist on tacos

  5. EXCELLENT!!! I sauteed some mushrooms, zucchini and corn. Added that with avocado and some salsa. It was deelish. Thank you!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

    1. 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

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

  9. 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 :)

  10. 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!

    1. 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. :)

  11. 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!

  12. 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 !