Tacos! with Quinoa “Meat”, Carrot Slaw, Refried Black Beans, and Radish Jalapeño Salsa

Taco nights are my favorite night. We try to have one each week. There’s a good amount of prep work involved, but everything is so delicious that it’s all worth it. We also usually have variations, like making different kinds of salsas, occasionally having guacamole, cheese, various lettuces, and/or sour cream, using different beans, etc., so feel free to take whichever of the included recipes you want from here and make them your own. Besides hard and soft tacos, the recipes here can also be combined and substituted to make enchiladas, tostadas, lettuce wraps, nachos, taco salads, or whatever you want.

For the quinoa meat, I recommend using a jarred chunkier salsa rather than a thinner/watery one.This helps to add thickness to the “meat”. I’ve used homemade salsa with this, but it doesn’t usually end up as good as when I use salsa from a jar (could likely be the extra salt content found in jarred vs. home made).

The carrot slaw is incredibly easy and comes together very quickly. As always, I highly recommend using a food processor with a grating disk for the carrots. It makes life so much easier! Also, the carrot slaw is quite tasty on its own, especially with crumbly cheese (like goat cheese) on top.

I don’t like buying refried beans in a can. The salt content is way too high for my taste, the seasoning leaves a lot to be desired, and usually only a couple types of beans are used. So, I make my own! Black beans are definitely my favorite bean for tacos and other Mexican foods, but feel free to use whichever bean you like the most and adjust the seasonings to taste. These can be made up to a day in advance, just refrigerate and reheat in the microwave or in a pan, adding water if necessary.

These recipes are: vegetarian, vegan, gluten free

Quinoa “Meat”

Adapted from Minimalist Baker.


  • 1 cup quinoa, white or tri-color
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (if not vegan, parmesan cheese can be subbed for this)
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ground chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the quinoa and toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the vegetable broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the quinoa, crack the lid, and let sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the quinoa to a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients (salsa, nutritional yeast, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and oil). Mix, then spread on a parchment-lined (or lightly greased) baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, tossing at the halfway point to ensure even cooking. Watch vigilantly towards the end and be sure not to burn!
  3. Eat immediately in whatever application you want, or store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Serves 4.


Carrot Slaw


  • 4 cups grated carrots
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • scant 1 tbsp cumin
  • salt to taste


  1. Toss the carrots with olive oil, lime juice, cumin, and salt to taste.
  2. If possible, let sit for a few hours in the fridge before serving- the flavors really come together if you do this! It also stores well. Serve with tacos, salads, rice bowls, whatever!

Serves 4-8, depending on application.


Refried Black Beans


  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small onion (any variety), finely diced
  • 1 can reduced sodium black beans, including liquid!
  • 1/4-1/2 cup water
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or 4 tsp dried cilantro)
  • pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil over medium heat. Cook garlic and onion until soft.
  2. Add the black beans with liquid and mash to a coarse consistency with a potato masher. Bring to a simmer and cook until hot. Add enough water to thin to a creamy consistency.
  3. Mix in the cumin, cilantro, and pepper to taste. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
  4. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and reheat, adding water if necessary.

Serves 4.


Radish Jalapeño Salsa


  • 12 radishes
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 – 1 jalapeño
  • 4 green onions
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper


  1. Julienne radishes. Roughly chop the cilantro. Dice the jalapeño and green onions. Add to a bowl and mix with remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings if necessary.
  2. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 2 days.

Serves 4.


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