Spicy Quinoa Taco Bowl

At first, I was planning on making this recipe as a quinoa taco filling, which would be added to corn tortillas. But that seemed way too difficult. I mean, you would have to actually spoon the ingredients into the tortilla, fold in half, and then eat. Ugh. What a bother. 🙂 My solution to this dilemma? Put the tortillas right INSIDE the bowl.

So that’s what we’re doing here: making a fresh quinoa salad tossed with spicy taco seasoning and then we’ll add some diced corn tortilla strips right into the bowl along with all the other ingredients. This is actually one of my favorite things to eat. It’s a perfectly balanced meal with fresh veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats. It’s a great combo of delicious flavors and like so many “one ingredient” recipes, you could pretty much eat this at every meal and only get healthier.


Makes 4 servings


  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked white quinoa
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 2 cups corn
  • 1/3 cup cilantro
  • 3 green onions
  • 4 small corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Step One

Cook the quinoa. In a large pot, combine 1 part quinoa with 2 parts water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and then allow to simmer until all the water is absorbed (about 20 minutes). Note: it’s important to first rinse quinoa under warm water to remove the bitter coating. This is best done in a fine mesh kitchen strainer.

Step Two

Meanwhile, prepare the tortilla strips. You *can* just throw chopped corn tortillas into the bowl, but I find them much better after being toasted. To do this, cut 3-4 corn tortillas into small pieces, and toss in a 375º oven for 8-10 minutes until they just turn slightly crispy.

Step Three

While those things are cooking along nicely, prepare all the fresh ingredients. Dice the avocado. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Slice the green onions. Chop the cilantro. Prepare the corn (frozen works well). Drain the can of beans.

Step Four

Prepare the lime taco seasoning. Basically, this simple taco sauce will coat the quinoa and boost the flavors of this bowl off the charts. To make, combine the juice of about 2 limes (if you run out of limes, feel free to top off with water) along with the listed spices in small bowl and whisk until incorporated.

Step Five

Toss everything together. When the quinoa is perfectly fluffy, remove from the heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl, and gently drizzle in this lime taco seasoning. Then add all other ingredients (including those tortilla pieces) and toss until evenly mixed.

Optional: Cashew Lime Sour Cream

If you’ve read my recipes for any length of time, you should have expected to see cashews here. I use them all the time, especially for a vegan sour cream. To make this, add to a blender: the juice of 1 lime, 1/4 cup soaked (and drained) cashews, a pinch of salt, and just enough water to make a smooth sauce. Blend until completely smooth. Drizzle over the top of each serving bowl to take this recipe to the next level.



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  1. Looks delicious Andrew. I am eating a breakfast burrito that includes your Setas Tacos filling right now. Absolutely yummy, even the cow meat eaters in the household liked the Setas enough to substitute.

    Keep up the great work, you are an inspiration.

    • Hey Noa, that’s awesome! I never thought of using the setas for breakfast… I might have to try something along those lines soon! 🙂

  2. I’m so glad you seem to have a Mexican food obsession, like me. I’ve made everything Mexican on your site. This one will be next, for sure. I seriously could eat it every day and never tire of it.

  3. Oh yes!! I think I could Liv on this dish. We make something similar, but I’m new to the lime cream. So excited to try!!

    • Maybe we should do an experiment and see how many months (years?) it would take to get tired of eating nothing but quinoa bowls 🙂

  4. Yum! I immediately bookmarked this! Thank you! I love avocados so much & beans almost as much :0)! I’m wondering do the cashews for the cream have to be raw, or could we use roasted cashews? And if roasted cashews are workable, would we still have to soak them, or would the roasting have softened them enough?

    • Thanks, Abbi! Hmm, I’ve never tried roasted cashews because I always imagined the roasted flavor would be a bit different here. I don’t know for sure, but I would say go for it. Give them a shot and see what happens. Although I would still recommend soaking them. Good luck! 🙂

      • Thank you for your thoughts! Is it a must to get rid of the soaking liquid? – I’ve heard some nuts release toxins when soaked! Though that may not be the case with cashews or by them being roasted. I ask because if can keep & blend with the soaking liquid then I won’t lose the seasoning & can simply include the lime juice in the soak.

        • That’s a good question… you may be able to use the soaking liquid, the only issue is that it might be too much liquid and you’ll need to pour some out.

  5. Absolutely delicious! I made this dish for dinner this evening along with some gazpacho soup. Nice and fresh for summer!

  6. Great recipe! My husband who is usually pretty critical of my vegan recipes loved it too. Next time I’ll try the lime sour cream and make the quinoa just a bit spicier.

  7. I was just wondering how spicy you’d say this taco salad is just because I am still getting used to spiciness! If it is very spicy, how would you suggest making it more mild-medium spiced? Thanks!

    • Hi Brandi! It’s hard to say… my recommendation would be to make as normal but only drizzle in half of the taco seasoning mixture at first and give it a taste, then add more if it’s not spicy enough.

  8. This website speaks volumes for clean, healthy eating which is wonderful but there are also Old El Paso ads all over this page. Your advice is vegan and health focused but it’s hard to take it seriously when a large beef taco is happily blinking at me to the left.

    • Ashley, thank you for bringing that up. First, I want to make it clear that I do not choose each of the advertisements, they are automatically selected. However, I have the ability to block ones that do not fit my message. The Old El Paso ads have been blocked now. I work hard to find the right balance with advertising and block the ones that don’t fit. This one slipped through the cracks, and I apologize about that.

  9. I love quinoa and I love tacos. This looks like a great combination! While my fiancé loves spicy food, I’m not a huge fan, so I might have to tone it down a bit. 😉

  10. So happy to have found this beautiful vegan recipe site without using vegan as a search term. (was searching for tomato curry)

  11. Um, will you marry me? This is delicious. Im taste testing while NY cashews soak. This recipe is amazing and soooo easy!!! Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes!

  12. I LOVED this!! Delicious! Thank you for a wonderful recipe. This is going in my regular rotation for sure. I now want to try to grow some of the fresh ingredients in this recipe just so I can always have them on hand to make this. I also loved that I ate and ate until I felt full. I ate a lot, but instead of feeling awful I felt refreshed and light. That is just how food should be.

    • PERFECT! This comment made me smile. I’m always preaching about how, when you eat real food, you can eat until you’re completely full and you’ll feel great. I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed this meal and that it made you feel good. 🙂

  13. Wow. This is so yummy! All of the flavors come together wonderfully! The lime, the hint of spice, the fresh veggies, and the crunchy tortilla strip are a great combination. I will definitely be making this again, soon. Thank you for the recipe.

  14. HI! I just made this for dinner and I am so excited!!!! I pre-tasted and its soon yummy!!!! I am checking out your different websites and I am very excited to try these new recipes!!!! This was very easy to make!!! Yay!!! Thank you!!!

  15. Another amazing recipe! My husband LOVES this and requests that I make it for dinner at least once per week. The lime cream is a must! I like to make extra lime taco seasoning for the quinoa (about 1.5 times what the recipe calls for) because I like the extra kick! Thanks Andrew!

  16. This is the BEST homemade taco seasoning I’ve come across! I will be referring to the recipe for the seasoning mix from here on out. Also, I love that this taco salad recipe can be manipulated in so many ways! Love a versatile recipe 🙂 thank you

    • Thanks, Sunny! I really did put a lot of experimenting into getting this seasoning right and I’m glad you noticed! 😉

  17. I made this tonight for my husband and it was totally bursting with flavor. He was so skeptical about the lime sour cream (as he was a sour cream connoisseur before he became vegan) but not after tonight.
    I am so excited we have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. There is not a single recipe that we have tried that we haven’t liked. Thank you!!!!

    • Oh, that’s awesome Devorah! I’m glad you guys have been enjoying my recipes – thanks for the comment! 🙂

  18. I recently became a vegan and am till trying to figure out great go-to recipes. I came across this recipe in a buzzfeed article about healthy dinners you can make in 30 minutes or less. I tried the recipe for the first time today and it was delicious! It was easy to prepare (my kind of meal) and the flavor was incredible. I will definitely make this dish again. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Just made this dish for the first time after seeing it on buzzfeed. Unfortunately no tortillas in the house but it is still incredible without and a great excuse to make again really soon. Looking forward to leftovers for lunch tomorrow! Thank you.

  20. Hi! I was wondering how long you have to soak the cashews for the sour cream sauce? Awesome recipe by the way, will try it super soon!

    • That’s always a tough question, actually. In my super-powerful Vitamix I can get by without soaking at all, but sometimes 30 minutes is enough, sometimes 2-4 hours is better. If you have the time, give them a few hours. If not, you can probably get by with less.

  21. This was so good! Not all quinoa salads are created equally, the lime taco seasoning is what really brought this dish together for me. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  22. Wow, this is absolutely delicious!! I’m pretty sure I’m going to coat every food item in my kitchen with that lime taco seasoning! 🙂

    I skipped the tortilla strips & cashew sour cream because I’m currently avoiding corn & cashews. However, next time I may sub macadamias for the cashews and kick up the flavor even more. Thank you so much!!

    • Nice! I’m glad you liked it, Kei! …I really can’t think of anything that wouldn’t benefit from being coated with lime taco seasoning. 🙂

  23. So good! I went easy on the onion and corn and added a second avocado. I also only did 1 cup quinoa with the same amount of seasoning. I topped it off with hot sauce for added heat. Very satisfying non-meat recipe!

  24. I just made this and it was very good, though it took me about an hour to make because there were so many components and I’m slow! I had to more than double the lime sour cream because the amount is too small for the vitamix and it won’t mix properly. I’m surprised you were able to do such a small batch in your vitamix. Thanks for the recipe!

    • You can never be late to the quinoa bowl party 🙂 I’m glad you liked it! Thanks for taking a minute to let me know!

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