Quinoa Taco "Meat"
Yield: 6 (½-cup servings)
Naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan, this versatile dish is bursting with south-of-the-border flavor and can be used just like taco meat. Or enjoy it as a side dish that is destined to be enjoyed by meat eaters and plant-based eaters alike!


The quinoa:

  • 1 cup (180g) uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup (240ml) vegetable broth*
  • ¾ cup (180ml) water

The seasonings:

  • ½ cup (128g) salsa (slightly chunky is best)
  • 1 tablespoon (11g) nutritional yeast*
  • 2 teaspoons each ground cumin and chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon each garlic powder, kosher salt, and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon (14g) olive or avocado oil


  1. Using a fine-mesh strainer or sieve, rinse the quinoa well and then drain well. Rinsing will get rid of a natural coating on the quinoa (called saponin), which has a bitter flavor.
  2. Heat a medium-size pot over medium heat. Once hot, add the rinsed and drained quinoa and toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the broth and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce the heat to low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook for 12-16 minutes, or until the liquid is completely absorbed and the quinoa is tender. (Precise time will depend on the low heat level on your stove, as stoves do vary.) Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, and then let rest for 10 minutes with the lid slightly ajar.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375℉, and then combine the nutritional yeast, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  5. After the quinoa has rested for 10 minutes, add the salsa and oil, and sprinkle the spice mixture over top. Toss to thoroughly combine. Spread the quinoa evenly over a lightly greased (or parchment-lined) baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring once after 15 minutes to ensure even cooking. The quinoa should be fragrant and golden brown. It will still be soft but will have some delicious crispy pieces around the edges.


*If you don’t have nutritional yeast, you may omit it. Or, if not needing a vegan recipe, you could use finely grated Parmesan cheese instead.

*No vegetable broth? Use chicken broth if a vegan or vegetarian recipe is not needed. The broth infuses more flavor into the quinoa, but if you don’t have it, you could also use all water plus a pinch or two of salt.

How to use the quinoa taco “meat”: Serve it in crispy or soft taco shells, in burrito bowls, and quesadillas. Use as a filling for stuffed peppers. Or make a taco salad, nachos, enchiladas, or tostadas. We’ve also enjoyed scooping it onto tortilla chips and then adding a dollop of salsa or guacamole. (See main post for specific suggestions.)

Storage: Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheat in the microwave, in a 350℉ oven, or in a skillet on the stovetop.

More recipes at FountainAvenueKitchen.com