Quinoa & Black Bean Tacos with cilantro lime crema, aka the plant-based taco recipe that is on heavy rotation here at the pwwb house (& will be at your house too)! This black bean taco recipe is so simple to make: you need a few pantry staples, 1 skillet, & just 30 minutes start-to-finish. Plus, they’re 100% vegetarian, & very easily made vegan &/or dairy-free. & the best part? Quinoa black bean tacos are pretty ideal for Meatless Monday and Taco Tuesday = major weeknight dinner WIN! ??
This post is sponsored by ALDI, who is opening up a new store here in Minneapolis at 2601 Lyndale Ave. in Uptown on Thursday, August 22. You can find more details about the Grand Opening here. I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with ALDI this fall! I’m truly a life-long fan – I’ve shopped at ALDI ever since I was a kid tagging along on my mom’s grocery trips. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own. ?
Confession time: I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of tacos. They’re so versatile, & I love them all: chicken tacos, carnitas & barbacoa tacos, veggie tacos, homemade tacos, fancy restaurant tacos, street tacos, crispy tacos, tacos in the form of a salad…the list goes on & on, because when it comes to tacos, I don’t discriminate. I love all tacos.
I’m actually beginning to think that tacos are my love language.
And these quinoa & black bean tacos are no exception. They’re the kind of tacos that make my flexitarian heart pitter-patter.
They are stuffed with my take on an easy homemade vegetarian taco “meat” – a plant-powered taco filling made from organic black beans & quinoa. The quinoa & black bean taco meat simmers away with onions, garlic & a heavy dose of yummy taco spices like cumin, chili powder & paprika. It infuses spicy, garlicky goodness right into the vegetarian taco filling – basically what taco dreams are made of.
And the very best part? With minimal ingredients & time needed, this black bean taco recipe is probably one of the easiest dinner recipes I’ve ever made! Once you make them, I think you’ll understand the obsession. They’re:
- healthy plant-based goodness (hi, quinoa & black beans ILYSM. ?)
- 30-minute weeknight dinner magic ✨ (start-to-finish!)
- one-skillet recipe (less dishwashing for the win! ??)
- meal prep friendly (some thoughts on that below!)
- 100% vegetarian (& easily vegan/dairy-free)…but even the meat-lovers in your life will love them (promise!)
- & best of all? they’re totally budget-friendly (you can easily serve four for less than $10 when you shop at ALDI!)
When it comes to grocery shopping, I truly always turn to ALDI first. I’ve shopped at ALDI pretty much my entire life! It’s my mom’s favorite grocery store (she’s a budget-savvy goddess!) & I always tagged along on her ALDI runs when I was a kid.
I honestly feel like I’ve grown up with ALDI, because I’ve watched their assortment continuously grow & improve over the past 20+ years. They have awesome exclusive products (seriously, 1 in 5 are award-winning!), & offer amazing fresh produce, meat & even organics at mind-blowingly affordable prices (shout out to the ALDI Simply Nature brand – my fave!).
If you haven’t checked out ALDI yet, or you haven’t been lately, find your closest store & make an ALDI run soon!
Plus, some fun bonus news for my Twin Cities friends!: ALDI is opening up a location in the heart of Uptown – 26th & Lyndale! – on August 22! Some big Grand Opening celebrations are in the works (ahem…sweepstakes for a year’s supply of ALDI produce & Golden Ticket giveaways for the first 100 customers!!). I’ll be sharing more Grand Opening deets this week over on Instagram – be sure to follow along!
Black bean & quinoa tacos ingredients:
One of my favorite things about these easy tacos is that they’re made entirely with staple pantry ingredients, making them super easy to whip up any night of the week. You simply need:
- black beans
- a yellow onion & some garlic
- taco spices (chili powder, cumin & paprika)
- tomato paste
- & veggie broth (or just water!)
That’s it – seriously!
How to make this quinoa black bean tacos recipe:
When cooked perfectly, the texture of the black bean & quinoa filling for these tacos is surprisingly hearty & satisfying – the secret to making this the best black bean taco recipe! The texture is almost meaty, honestly. It reminds me of really finely ground taco meat or chorizo! If you want to know the best method for how to make black beans for tacos, THIS is seriously it!
Plus, these vegetarian tacos are seriously EASY. It’s the kind of recipe that comes together really quickly, with a just handful of key steps (full directions provided in the Recipe Card, below):
- Prep! Take a minute to grab all the ingredients you need before you start cooking. Because this vegan taco filling recipe moves quickly, I find it’s best to have all of the ingredients ready to go before you start. Dice an onion, mince some garlic, grab your spices & tomato paste, measure the quinoa & veggie stock, & rinse the black beans. Place everything within an arm’s reach from the stovetop & cooking will be smooth sailing.
- Sweat the onion: This is the first layer of flavor in this black bean taco recipe. Let the onion cook in olive oil for about 4-5 minutes, to get nice and soft. Be sure to season with a pinch of salt – it draws the water out of the onion & makes it even more flavorful.
- Toast the aromatics: Get ready for your kitchen to smell awesome – this step adds major depth & flavor to the quinoa & black bean tacos. Add garlic, spices (chili powder, cumin, & paprika) & tomato paste to the skillet & let it cook with the onions for about a minute. The spices will get nice & toasty, & super fragrant.
- Cook the quinoa. Stir the quinoa into the onion mixture & let it toast up for a minute or two before adding in the broth. Bring the mixture to a boil before adding in the black beans, covering the skillet & letting it simmer for 15 minutes. When it’s done, use a fork to fluff up the quinoa & black bean taco filling, & give it a squeeze of lime juice <– don’t skip that part, it’s key!
- Serve!!! Your quinoa black bean tacos are ready to go – top them with what you love & devour!
Easy toppings for black bean & quinoa tacos:
You really can’t go wrong when it comes to toppings for these vegetarian black bean tacos. Use your faves! A few of mine include:
- sliced avocado – adds an addictively creamy component to each bite
- salsa – pick your fave! ALDI has an awesome Casa Mamita Chipotle Lime salsa -I’m obsessed with the smoky flavor it adds awesome flavor to the black bean taco filling.
- chopped cilantro – a small sprinkle adds some bright, fresh flavor these seasoned black beans for tacos needs!
- similarly, lime wedges – a small squeeze of lime juice really bumps up the fresh flavor.
- cilantro lime crema – an absolute must! It’s flavorful, yet cooling and the perfect topping for these black bean tacos. I give some thoughts on adapting to make it vegan or dairy-free in the Recipe Notes, below.
Black bean & quinoa tacos – modifications, tweaks & tips:
A couple of easy modifications, tweaks & tips for these quinoa black bean tacos:
- Spice it up: While super flavorful, the quinoa black bean taco meat is pretty mild in terms of spiciness. You can amp up the heat by adding in a dash or two of cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes with the rest of the aromatics in Step 2. For some awesome smoky heat, I’d dice up a chipotle pepper or two – yum!
- Make it vegan: These tacos are easily made vegan & dairy-free since the quinoa black bean taco meat is vegan. To make your tacos vegan, simply swap the Greek yogurt for your favorite vegan/dairy-free alternative when you make the cilantro lime crema, or try the chipotle cashew crema from this recipe – it’s 100% vegan & dairy-free.
- Make it meaty: Adding meat to this recipe is super easy. Brown up your favorite taco meat (ground beef, turkey, chorizo, etc.) in the skillet before you start sweating out the onions. Transfer the browned meat to a plate & set aside as you cook the black bean & quinoa mixture according to recipe directions. Once the black bean & quinoa mixture is cooked, carefully stir the cooked meat into the mixture.
- Meal prep: These tacos come together really quickly once you get to cooking! To make this an even faster weeknight dinner, dice the onion & prep the cilantro lime crema whenever you’re meal prepping for the week. Store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. At dinnertime during the week, you can get cooking with minimal prep needed – seriously, the easiest dinner ever! You could also prep the quinoa black bean taco meat in advance in entirety – store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Not craving tacos? We can’t be friends. Ha! Kidding. ? The quinoa black bean taco meat is really versatile. You could use it as a filling for epic vegetarian burritos, served on nachos, on top of a taco salad, etc. Sky’s the limit!
I hope you give this Quinoa & Black Bean Tacos recipe a try very soon – I know you’ll love them! If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo & tag @playswellwithbutter on Instagram. One of my favorite things is seeing your pwwb creations! ☺️ Grab the full recipe below, & be sure to pick up all of the ingredients from ALDI next time you’re at the store – if you’re in Minneapolis, you can do it at the Uptown Grand Opening this week! ?
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Meet your new favorite vegetarian quinoa & black bean tacos recipe! These tacos are completely vegetarian (& easily vegan). A 30-minute dinner made entirely with pantry ingredients in one skillet – perfect for meatless Monday and Taco Tuesday!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (or smoked paprika)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry Simply Nature Organic Quinoa
- 2 cups low-sodium vegetable stock (or water)
- 1 14-ounce can Simply Nature Organic Black Beans, drained & rinsed
- 1 lime, juiced
- Kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
- for serving: charred corn tortillas, sliced avocado, cilantro lime crema (below), chopped cilantro, salsa of choice, lime wedges, etc.
for the cilantro lime crema:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream, or your favorite dairy-free alternative)
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
- 2 limes, zested & juiced
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- water, as desired
Prep note: Once you get cooking, these tacos come together very quickly! I suggest starting by getting all your chopping, measuring & other prep odds & ends out of the way so cooking is a smooth process: dice the onion, mince the garlic, grab your spices & tomato paste, measure the quinoa & veggie stock, & rinse the black beans. Place everything within an arm’s reach from the stovetop.
- Sweat the onion: Add the olive oil to a medium skillet (with lid) over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion. Season with 1 teaspoon Kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent & fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
- Toast the aromatics: Stir the garlic into the skillet. Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika) & tomato paste. Stir to coat the onion & garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes more, until very fragrant.
- Cook the quinoa: Add the quinoa to the skillet, stirring to combine with the onion mixture. Let the quinoa toast for about 1 minute before adding in the vegetable broth. Increase heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, add in the black beans. Cover the skillet and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Once the quinoa cooked, remove the skillet from the heat – but let it stand covered for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove the lid. Squeeze the lime juice over top and fluff the mixture with a fork. Set aside for taco assembly.
- Prep the cilantro lime crema: Meanwhile, as the quinoa simmers, prep the cilantro lime crema. Add all listed cilantro lime crema ingredients to a food processor or blender. Blend to combine, adding a tablespoon or two of water as needed to reach your desired consistency. Set aside, or transfer to an airtight container & store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Assemble & serve: Add some of the quinoa & black bean mixture to a tortilla with sliced avocado. Top with a drizzle of cilantro lime crema. Finish with some chopped cilantro, a spritz of fresh lime juice, & any salsas or toppings your taco-lovin’ heart desires. Enjoy!
- This quinoa taco recipe is vegetarian & very easily vegan &/or dairy-free if you simply swap out the Greek yogurt in the crema with your favorite dairy-free alternative, such as dairy-free yogurt. You could also make the smoky chipotle cashew crema from this recipe – it’s 100% dairy-free, vegan & delish!
- 10-minute meal prep: These tacos come together really quickly once you get to cooking! To make this an even faster weeknight dinner, dice the onion & prep the cilantro lime crema whenever you’re meal prepping for the week. Store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. At dinnertime during the week, you can get cooking with minimal prep needed – seriously, the easiest dinner ever!
Keywords: black bean tacos, black bean tacos recipe, quinoa black bean tacos, vegetarian tacos, plant-based recipe