Quinoa Tacos (aka my newest obsession)

I have a new obsession. Yes, I get obsessed a lot with food, good food, but these are taking over my brain. Quinoa tacos. I found this recipe at a new favorite cooking blog – Minimalist Baker. Dana is pretty much a genius as everything I’ve made from her blog has been amazing. General Tso’s tofu – check. Pina Colada popsicles – check. This quinoa taco stuff … holy cow!

This started out as just another experiment and now I’m trying to figure out all the ways I can make quinoa replace meat. Possibly sloppy joes or a version of BBQ pork sandwiches? (Don’t worry, Dad, I’m still making regular pulled pork this weekend.) Bob was on board with trying it, although he did sound a tiny bit skeptical when I first mentioned it. But … I’ll say this for the man, he is willing to let me try crazy stuff so long as I am willing to admit when it doesn’t work. Fair deal I think.

So here is what I did. You could just follow the recipe from Minimalist Baker, but here you go –

I took two cups of quinoa (leftover from another meal) and added a half cup of the double roasted salsa. I love Rick Bayless and think he’s amazing, so when I do buy jarred salsa, I go to him. The double roasted tomato is smoky and spicy so I think it adds a lot to the quinoa here. I also used about 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder (because I accidentally dumped it), 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 2 teaspoons cumin and chili powder, little bit of salt and pepper and a little bit of olive oil. I mixed well and spread it on a parchment lined baking sheet and baked it for 25 minutes.

While this baked, I grated some leftover cheese from my favorite cheese shop. I will fully admit, that when it comes to cheese, I think high quality cheese without fillers is really important. Yes, its more expensive, but trust me on this – this is not the processed cheese product of childhood. (Although I do have a soft spot for processed cheese product.) I went with an alpine style cheese because it’s what I had on hand. Any hard cheese will do, but think stronger cheeses like cheddar or Gruyère or an alpine. For the salsa, I went with my favorite combination – tomato, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt. That’s it. Chop the tomato and onion to desired sizes, pick and chop a few cilantro leaves. Squeeze half a lime over the whole thing, sprinkle a little salt on it and let it sit while the quinoa bakes.

For the shells, I went with conventional white corn taco shells. Yes, I could have made my own or used soft shells, but I was going for childhood memory tacos, so hard corn shells.

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These were so good, I think I like them better than the real meat stuff. Yes, I’m weird, but trust me – these are so good I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t like them. Spice and heat can be altered with the type of salsa you use and the amount of chili added. But really, this is totally great. I even made a taco salad the next day – lettuce, tomato, onion, the quinoa, a few crumbled corn chips and a cilantro lime dressing. How was that …. there were two clean plates by the end of lunch and I’m probably making this again in a week. And possibly more often than that.

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