Red Quinoa Tacos and Taco Salad

This is one of my favorite meals to make for myself, and even more for the meat eaters in my life. They are always going back for seconds and commenting about how they “don’t miss the beef at all.” Visually and texturally, red quinoa makes a super plant-based ground beef replacement, not to mention that it is a complete protein that’s easy to prepare (and inexpensive if purchased in the bulk section). Topped with creamy Ancho Chipotle Sauce, these fixins make for a delicious taco night, and a taco salad that all of your co-workers will be envious of the next day during lunch.

Makes: approx. 8-10 tacos
Preparation Time: 30mins

Saucepan with lid
Cookie sheet

1 cup organic red quinoa, soaked for at least 4 hours
1 1/2 cups pure water
1 pack of organic blue corn tortilla shells
1 packet of organic taco seasoning
1 tbsp cold-pressed virgin coconut oil
Organic Mixed Greens
Fresh, organic cilantro leaves, chopped
Ancho Chipotle Sauce (optional, but definitely recommended!)
Fresh, organic tomato, chopped (optional)
Fresh, organic avocado, chopped (optional)
Fresh, organic onion, chopped (optional)

Let’s Get Started:
Bring water and soaked quinoa to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10-20 minutes (soaked quinoa takes less time to cook than unsoaked) until all water is absorbed. Try to only peek once around the 10 minute mark since the steam is an important part of cooking and you want to keep the temp as consistent as possible. This is why I like a glass lid—so you can see what’s cookin’.

While quinoa cooks, preheat oven and prepare taco shells according to manufacturer’s instructions.

This is a good time to whip up some Ancho Chipotle Sauce, chop up cilantro and prepare any other fixins you’d like to add to your tacos.

Once quinoa has absorbed all the water, turn off heat and let it sit, covered, for 2-5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork.

Add 1/2 packet of seasoning and coconut oil to cooked quinoa and stir until thoroughly mixed. Taste. If you’d like spicier quinoa, add more seasoning. If not, save seasoning for next time you have taco night. I usually can get two taco nights out of one packet of seasoning. Especially if I’m adding spicy Ancho Chipotle Sauce to my tacos (which is almost always the case).

Now, just fill your taco shells with veggies, greens, quinoa and top with Ancho Chipotle Sauce.


Place all extra ingredients in separate airtight glass containers in the fridge for lunch or dinner tomorrow. To make a taco salad, just put all the taco goodness in a large bowl and use Ancho Chipotle Sauce as your dressing.

1. Decide which night you will be making tacos. The night before taco night, right before bed, put your quinoa in a bowl filled with pure water and a pinch of Celtic or pink Himalayan sea salt. Soak your quinoa while you sleep. In the morning, rinse well, place in the fridge. Remove it when you are ready to make your tacos/taco salad. Make sure you soak quinoa before preparing. This and this are reasons why.
2. Add some fresh sunflower sprouts or lentil sprouts to your tacos or taco salad.
3. Sprinkle salad with ground flax seed and/or hemp seed for more protein and omegas.
4. Drizzle salad with flax oil and/or hemp oil for an omega boost. Check your refrigerated section at your local health food store for these oils.
5. I tend to cook my shells as I need them, storing unbaked ones in my pantry.
6. Keep ingredients for taco salad separate in the fridge so you avoid any sogginess. Toss it all together when you are ready to eat so everything is crisp, flavorful and delicious.


Read the comments or add yours.

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  1. Amanda

    These were great, I made them for dinner last night. I love the Ancho Chipotle Sauce and used it liberally. I also stirred a can of black beans into the quinoa which worked well with just one half of the seasoning packet. Can’t wait to make this again!

  2. HANDS DOWN the best tacos ever. The sauce, the quinoa as “meat”…amazing. We used minced daikon for a garnish instead of onion to get a bite without my yoga students in the morning hating me for eating raw onions. Chopped avocado and mixed greens…wowzers. Thank you thank you thank you!!

  3. Jane

    I just made this tonight. It is delicious! I’m not sure I used the right chipotle pepper – the only ones I could find were canned in adobo sauce. I rinsed them thoroughly and the Ancho Chipotle Sauce came out great. Thanks!

    • Jane~
      This sounds delicious…I usually use dried pepper(s), but adobo sauce sounds like something I’d like to experiment with!

  4. Christina

    We made the sauce but we substituted with a fresh poblano and jalapeno pepper since we had them already. The sauce tasted tangy and spicy which may have been due to the substitution. The consistency was also pretty watery, but from your images on the recipe the sauce has a thicker appearance to it. Do you know why?

    • Heather Crosby

      Hi there Christina~
      Since the recipe calls for dried peppers, I bet the water in your fresh ones added more liquid (especially a big ole poblano). 😉 You can always add more cashews or sunflower seeds to the blender to thicken it up. Hope that helps.

  5. Meagan

    Can I use ancho chili powder instead? If so, how much should I use? I can’t find ancho peppers anywhere!

    • Heather Crosby

      You can use ancho chili powder instead, I would start by adding 1/4 tsp and then adding more to taste if you like. You can also leave them out and just use the chipotle. Enjoy!

  6. omg, thanks very much for posting this! It is gonna help when I order Red Quinoa online! Super Crazy!

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