Whether you’re feeding your own brood or have a crowd to please, kid-friendly red quinoa tacos are the perfect menu option. Vegans and non-vegans alike will love this meal that’s quick, simple and easy on the budget.
This kid-friendly red quinoa taco recipe is for all you SUPER MOMS—who also happen to be vegan or vegetarian. You moms who always volunteer to host the team dinner, have the one house in the neighborhood all the kids hang out at, and who never give up trying to make healthy, meatless meals for your families.
When my son was growing up, we ate tacos just about every other week. Who doesn’t love tacos? These kid-friendly red quinoa tacos are as easy to make as any ‘regular’ taco recipe—but SO much healthier. If you can boil water (or use a rice cooker) and know what to do with a skillet, you can make this recipe! And if you have a big crowd to feed, it’s simple to double or triple this recipe to feed them all. Just serve these tacos up with shells and your favorite fixings, and you’re good to go.
Of course, kid-friendly red quinoa tacos aren’t just for kids—grown ups love them too. In fact, they’re a great suggestion when your non-vegan friends or co-workers want to throw you a casual party—but can’t figure out what vegans eat! When I take these tacos to potlucks, non-vegans always ask me for this recipe.
Besides, most taco toppings are already vegan. Just set up your taco buffet with accoutrements like salad mix or shredded cabbage, diced tomatoes, black beans, guacamole, sliced black olives, diced onions, hot & mild salsas, Pico de Gallo, diced jalapenos—the list is practically endless!—and you’ve got a delicious, satisfying party menu everyone can enjoy. Just make sure someone brings the shells! (People really seem to love Trader Joe’s yellow corn taco shells—they’re organic, gluten-free, super light and crispy.)
About the only traditional taco toppings I can think of that aren’t vegan are sour cream and cheese. Plain, vegan yogurt (soy, almond, etc.) is a good stand in for sour cream. And if you’re like me and love ‘cheese’ on your tacos, but don’t care for most store-bought vegan cheeses—try my Vegan Easy Cheezy Sauce. It takes just 5 minutes (with a high speed blender). To make queso sauce, just stir in or blend in your favorite salsa.
Planning your kid’s birthday party? Hosting the entire soccer team? No worries mom, you got this!
*If you’re planning to serve almond yogurt or cheese sauce made with cashews at an event, it would be a good idea to check to see if anyone has a tree nut allergy, since the nuts in these foods are completely disguised.
Kid-friendly Red Quinoa Tacos
- 12 yellow corn taco shells (one package)
- 1 cup uncooked red quinoa, rinsed and cooked (about 3 cups cooked)
- 1/2 med yellow onion, finely diced (see notes)
- 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced (see notes)
- 1 28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes and liquid, chopped/mashed (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon Taco Seasoning (see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- Cook 1 cup red quinoa with 2 cups of water either in a pot on the stove (bring to a boil then simmer uncovered), or I like to cook in on the white rice setting of my rice cooker. One cup will be ready in about 10-15 minutes.
- While the quinoa is cooking, prepare your toppings.
- When quinoa is cooked, heat 1 tablespoon of water in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add water a little at a time if things begin to stick. Add the tomatoes and their liquid, quinoa and taco seasoning, stir well and simmer, uncovered, about 10 or until most of liquid has been absorbed and cooked off.
- While the taco "meat" is simmering, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Heat the taco shells in the oven for 2-3 minutes.
- Assemble your tacos or build your taco bar buffet. Serve with the toppings above--or substitute whatever you and your family likes best.
- If you're serving small kids who won't tolerate bits of onion or garlic in their food, you can process them to a pulp in a food processor, sub 1/2 teaspoon each of onion and garlic powder, or simply omit them.
- You can find taco seasoning at most stores. Or to make your own, combine: 1/2 tablespoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/8 teaspoon oregano, 1/8 teaspoon onion powder, 1 pinch of cayenne, garlic powder and sea salt.
- The easiest/least messy way I've found to "chop" canned whole tomatoes is to empty the tomatoes and liquid into a large bowl and break them up them into small pieces with a potato masher. I prefer whole canned tomatoes because the diced ones contain a chemical (to keep them from dissolving), which alters the flavor. Also, I find there's no match for the flavor of San Marzano tomatoes, so I always use them.