Wheatless Wednesday – Quinoa Black Bean Tacos with Chili Lime Sauce

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I – LOVE – THESE – TACOS!  They have all the Yum (and protein) and none of the unhealthy. Ever since the popularity of my Black Bean Chili Con Quinoa, I have been wanting to make a taco version .  I have been craving tacos and these did not disappoint.  Picture spicy quinoa and rich, earthy black beans topped with avocado, jalapenos, black olives and crumbly queso drizzled with a creamy chili, lime sauce.  I DID NOT MISS THE MEAT!

Quinoa makes a great meat substitute.  It has great texture when added to sauces and the red quinoa is visually appealing as well, although you could use any color quinoa you have in your pantry.  Quinoa is known as ‘The Mother of all Grains’ because of its health benefits.   It is a complete protein that contains all nine of the essential amino acids and the highest fiber content of any of the whole grains.   Loaded with vitamins and minerals, it is high in magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron, the most common minerals that people lack. Not only is quinoa a nutritional powerhouse, it is also a smart little cookie.  It creates saponin, a naturally bitter substance, to protect itself against hungry foragers who don’t like the bitter taste.  Saponin comes off easily in water, so make sure you don’t skip the step of rinsing your quinoa in a fine sieve before cooking.

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Black Beans are a personal favorite of mine for their rich and earthy flavor, but they are also loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.  Digging in to these tacos with both black beans AND quinoa, you won’t leave the table hungry… but you may go back for seconds.  Just sayin’.

TIPS:  I like to saute the cooked quinoa with onions and garlic before adding the tomato and spices, however, if you are looking for a shortcut (even if its just saving the extra pan to wash). saute the onion and then add the quinoa and 1 cup of water and cook until the water  has evaporated and the quinoa ‘tails’ have come out. Then add the spices, tomatoes, beans and more water if necessary and cook another 5 minutes or so.

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QUINOA BLACK BEAN TACOS WITH CHILI LIME SAUCE

1/2  cup red quinoa
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup water or vegetable broth
1 cup crushed tomatoes (or small can tomato paste with extra liquid)
2 Tbsn chili powder
1 Tbsn ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1.4 tso black pepper
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 corn tortillas

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CREAMY CHILE LIME SAUCE
1 cup plain yogurt (any kind)
1 Tbsn chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin(optional)
2 Tbsn fresh lime juice

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TOPPINGS (Optional):
chopped cilantro
crumbled queso (Jack or cheddar cheese)
diced avocado
sliced black olives
choppe jalapenos
diced tomatoes
hot sauce
shredded lettuce

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  • Saute onion in olive oil over medium high heat until golden and tender, 3-5 minutes.

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  • Add cooked quinoa and garlic and saute several more minutes..

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  • Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, cayenne,  salt and pepper.  Add one cup of water or broth and simmer about 10 minutes.

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  • Add black beans and simmer, uncovered 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasion.

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  • Warm tortillas on low heat in a heavy covered cast iron pan, flipping to prevent the bottom tortillas from getting to crispy. Or heat them carefully in the microwave or keep them warm in a tortilla warmer (if you have one).

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  • Mix yogurt, chili powder, cumin and lime juice in a small bowl and set aside.  For easier (and more artistic) drizzling pour into a fine tipped squeeze bottle.

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  • Serve quinoa mixture with tortillas and desired toppings.  Drizzle with Chili Lime Sauce.

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If you want to completely ditch the carbs, how about a lovely taco salad – a lighter, flavor filled option.  Just pile it on and drizzle…. Maybe your artistic side will come out – or not!

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Quinoa Black Bean Tacos with Chili Lime Sauce

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 20150526_193820

1/2  cup red quinoa
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup water or vegetable broth
1 cup crushed tomatoes (or snall can tomato paste with extra liquid)
2 Tbsn chili powder
1 Tbsn ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 tsp salt
1.4 tso black pepper
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 corn tortillas

CREAMY CHILE LIME SAUCE
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 Tbsn chili powder
2 Tbsn fresh lime juice

TOPPINGS (Optional):
chopped cilantro
crumbled queso (Jack or cheddar cheese)
diced avocado
sliced black olives
choppe jalapenos
diced tomatoes
hot sauce
shredded lettuce

  • Saute onion in olive oil over medium high heat until golden and tender, 3-5 minutes.
  • Add cooked quinoa and garlic and saute several more minutes..
  • Stir in tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, cayenne,  salt and pepper.  Add one cup of water or broth and simmer about 10 minutes.
  • Add black beans and simmer, uncovered 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasion
  • Warm tortillas in a heavy covered cast iron pan, flipping to prevent the bottom tortillas from getting to crispy.
  • Mix yogurt, chili powder, cumin and lime juice in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Serve quinoa mixture with tortillas and desired toppings.  Drizzle with Chili Lime Sauce.

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