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bowl of quinoa taco meat
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4.56 from 9 votes

Quinoa Taco Meat (Vegan)

Quinoa taco meat is an easy plant based recipe that is high in protein, vegan, and gluten free.  It is simple to make and transforms plain quinoa into a delicious taco filling that kid's love.  A must try!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 209kcal


  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup yellow onion chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup chunky salsa medium (like Margaritaville)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice 2 to 3 limes


  • Toast the uncooked quinoa in an ungreased 10-inch skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Pour the toasted quinoa in a strainer and rinse.  Set aside by resting the strainer over a clean bowl.
  • In the same skillet, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat until it shimmers, roughly 2 minutes, then saute the onion for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.  Add the dry taco seasoning spices and cook for one minute to bloom them, stirring constantly.
  • Add the rinsed quinoa, the chunky salsa, and the vegetable broth, then stir.
  • Cover with a lid and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Stir then simmer uncovered for 5 minutes more, or until the extra liquid has evaporated.
  • Remove the skillet from the heat.  Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.  Stir in 2 to 4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice.  Fluff with a fork and serve while still hot.

Assemble the Tacos

  • Char the tortillas in a bit of olive oil over medium heat.  Fill the tortilla with ½ cup of quinoa, 2 tablespoons of pico de gallo, 2 tablespoons of guacamole, and 1 tablespoon of avocado cilantro lime dressing.  Garnish with a squeeze of lime juice and some fresh cilantro leaves.


  • If you're in a hurry, use 2 ½ cups of leftover quinoa, and substitute 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and onion powder and omit the olive oil.
  • To get the fluffiest quinoa, cook it separately with ¼ teaspoon salt for 25 minutes.  Remove from the heat with the lid on to rest, fluff it with a fork, then return to the heat.  Add the taco spices and salsa, then simmer for 10 minutes.  Remove from the heat and add the lime juice.  Stir and serve.
  • Serve with toppings such as homemade guacamole, pico de gallo, or avocado cilantro dressing.


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 209kcal | Carbohydrates: 33.2g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 1003.3mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 4.1g | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 88.3mg | Iron: 2.8mg