Quinoa + Walnut Taco Meat
This recipe came about because I was just feeling kind of bored of lentils. I guess I should back up…one of my go-to meat/beef replacements is my “Lentil and Walnut Ground Beef” …It’s SO good and SO versatile. But I had been eating a lot of lentils and just wanted a change! I decided to try quinoa and walnuts instead of lentils. This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite food blogs, Pinch of Yum. Lindsay has a recipe for Cauliflower and Walnut Taco Meat that I’ve made many times and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Her spices are on point and it is a perfect mixture to add to bowls, tacos, or even salads! So the common denominator here is Walnuts…which I had plenty of. But I didn’t have a cauliflower (CRAZY, I KNOW)…so I tried out quinoa and I am so freaking glad I did because this rivals as my new favorite “faux ground beef” substitute”. The texture is freaky close to actual ground beef and the flavor is on point!
I used a very similar concoction of spices as Lindsay over at Pinch of Yum, because why reinvent the wheel, am I right? The chipotle peppers add a smokiness that is perfection…BUT you could totally omit them if you’re not into that whole smoky-spicy thing. I do think that the peppers and the addition of the lime juice add a very essential moisture to the mixture so if you do leave out the peppers I would maybe add a couple splashes of water and maybe a tablespoon more or so of chili powder.
*PRO TIP: You know when you buy one of those jars of chipotle peppers and your recipe only calls for 2 of them? Like this recipe right here? And then you just have a can leftover of like 6 more chipotle peppers and all that heavenly smoky sauce? Instead of throwing it out, or storing it in a little tupperware dish and moving it to the back of your fridge to get moldy…place it in a plastic baggy, flatten the bag out, and store it in the freezer! That way the next time you have a recipe that calls for chipotle peppers (in like 4 weeks), you can take it out and just break off a couple more peppers and you’re good to go! My good friend and fellow foodie told me this trick and it’s saved so many cans of peppers I can’t even tell ya!
Anyway, this recipe is E-A-S-Y, guys! Cooking the quinoa is maybe the hardest part? And we know that’s not hard sooooo what are you waiting for!? While your quinoa is cooking, you literally just throw everything else into your food processor and pulse until the perfect consistency has been reached! Mix it together with your fluffy quinoa and stick it in the oven for a nice bake. While it’s cooking you can prepare whatever else it is you’re making with it. Tacos? Toast up those tortillas! Salad? Chop that romaine, baby! OR you can do like I did and throw it over some sweet potatoes and you got yourself a little Mexican Stuffed Sweet Potato situation and that my friends, is happiness summed up on my dinner plate!
Quinoa + Walnut Taco Meat
Alix | August 2019
- prep time: 15 Minutes
- cook time: 30 Minutes
- total time: 45 Minutes
- 1 Cup Quinoa
- 2 Cups Raw Walnuts
- 2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- Juice of 1/2 Lime
- Preheat your oven to 400 degress.
- Cook your quinoa according to package instructions. 1 cup of dry quinoa should make just short of 3 cups cooked. You will need 2 cups of the cooked quinoa.
- While your quinoa is cooking, pulse the rest of your ingredients in your food processor until well combined. It will be moist but should still be a little crumbly as well.
- Add your quinoa and walnut mixture to a mixing bowl and stir together to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour mixture on the sheet. Separate and evently distribute the mixture so there are no large chunks remaining.
- Bake for 30 minutes, turning and stirring once halfway through. At around 20 minutes, check the mixture to make sure it is not burning.
- Once the mixture is cooled take a taste test! The texture should be similar to ground beef. Crumbly with some firmness but still kind of soft-does that make sense?! :)
*Recipe Adapted from Pinch of Yum