Quinoa Taco Bowls - The perfect go to meal

 

By Shelby Spears
spears@spearsstrong.com

Cilantro. Lettuce greens. Peppers. Tomatoes.

Local, fresh and mouth watering ingredients make up this multi-faceted meal. 

I am excited to share this recipe with you for a few reasons. 

  1. A fellow Spears Stronger requested a quinoa recipe for the blog. A request I'm more than happy to oblige. 
  2. The majority of the ingredients came from our CSA box that we pick up weekly at the Camas Farmers Market from Yacolt Mountain Farm
  3. It's easy, delicious and incredibly versatile, meaning you can throw just about anything in there and it's still amazing. It's a regular go to in our house.

Let's talk about quinoa first and how it packs a massive nutritional punch. Quinoa is filled with minerals and vitamins your body needs and it is a complete protein. It's relatively easy to prepare. I use a 2-1 ratio (water to quinoa). Boil the quinoa with the water (you can also use vegetable or other broth for added calories and nutrients). Once it boils, simmer it and leave it be. Don't touch it until all the liquid is absorbed. Turn the heat off and fluff it with a fork. Cover and let stand for five minutes. You can also prepare this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for when you're ready to make your taco bowl. 

 Quinoa comes in a variety of colors from black to red and white. I like the tri-color quinoa because you get a variety. They all taste pretty similar with some variation in the texture. Pick some up in the bulk section of your local grocer. 

Quinoa comes in a variety of colors from black to red and white. I like the tri-color quinoa because you get a variety. They all taste pretty similar with some variation in the texture. Pick some up in the bulk section of your local grocer. 

When it comes to grains and other carbs, we try to think of them as fillers instead of the main star of our meals. You can use quinoa, sprouted rice, potatoes, lentils, etc... as great fillers for meals. We build our meals around seasonal produce, some protein and then fill in with one of the above to round it out. 

The quinoa bowls are great for this because you can throw just about anything in there and the chipotle lime dressing is crazy good. 

Quinoa Taco Bowls (as adapted by me)
Original Recipe: Love & Lemons
Ingredients:
1 c. cooked quinoa
1 c. or more greens (lettuce or arugula works well)
Handful of cilantro (or more)
2-3 scallions chopped
Handful of grape or cherry tomatoes sliced
1/2 c. corn (I used frozen but fresh is great too)
Choice of pepper (I used a delicious -and adorable- little green pepper from Yacolt Mountain Farm
Tofu (sauteed in the iron skillet or you can use black beans or meat of choice)

Chipotle Lime Dressing:
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder (I used chili powder and cayenne)
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 tablespoon agave syrup (or honey)
salt, pepper, to taste

As mentioned above, this recipe has many options. I included the original recipe above as it is a great starting point but the following is what I do now after adapting for our needs. Feel free to make it your own. Cook your tofu or meat first and set aside. If using tofu, be sure to dry it with paper towel first and buy the extra firm variety. I saute it in the iron skillet with a generous amount of avocado oil but you can also bake it. 

Prepare your fix-ins. In a small bowl, add chopped scallions, tomatoes, lime juice, salt and pepper. (I have a hard time not eating this fun little salsa before the salad is actually made) Prepare and set aside the rest of the condiments. Whisk the dressing ingredients together. Put the quinoa in a large mixing bowl. Add the greens, cilantro and salsa mixture to the quinoa. Pour the dressing over and mix. Divide the salad into bowls and top with corn, peppers, avocado, tofu, more lime juice or whatever else sounds good to you!