Quinoa Tacos

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These flavor-packed, meatless Quinoa Tacos couldn’t be easier; we dump everything into the slow cooker (no chopping or sautéing beforehand) and let the appliance work its magic! Once the quinoa is cooked, load the delicious filling on warmed tortillas and add your favorite taco toppings. It doesn’t get much easier than this recipe! 

We’re obsessed with good tacos, even if they don’t have any meat! Try some of our other favorite meatless tacos like these black bean and corn Healthy Tacos, these Pinto Bean Tacos, or these sweet potato Vegetarian Tacos.

Overhead image of Quinoa Tacos.

Quinoa Tacos

This recipe aims to have a ridiculously quick and easy prep time while still delivering a flavor-packed nutritious meal. That’s a challenging combination!

Nutritious and vegetarian (or vegan) meals made in the slow cooker are hard to come by, and that makes me just that much more excited about sharing this recipe. It is quite literally one of the quickest prep recipes — simply open cans or bags and throw everything in — no prepping ingredients, no chopping — just dump it all in, stir it up, and forget about it until dinnertime. Game changer!

Quinoa Tacos are certainly unique, but totally delicious, nonetheless. They’ve got so much flavor and plant-based protein (thank you beans and quinoa) that you won’t miss the meat.

Process shots-- images of all the ingredients being added to the slow cooker.

Quinoa Tacos Ingredients

  • Uncooked quinoa. That’s right! The quinoa doesn’t need to be cooked prior to putting it in the slow cooker. Quinoa has a natural saponin coating that needs to be rinsed before eating to avoid bitter-tasting quinoa. A lot of brands advertise they have already rinsed the quinoa so if you’d like to save a minute or two, grab pre-rinsed!
  • Chicken or vegetable stock. I highly recommend Swanson’s® vegetable or chicken stock (not sponsored) which I’ve found to have the most robust flavor for a store-bought stock.
  • Black beans. Thoroughly rinse and drain the beans before adding. If you’d like, you can also use leftover from-scratch black beans in this recipe.
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes. The tomatoes make a big difference flavor-wise in these Quinoa Tacos, so I recommend good-quality fire-roasted tomatoes. This type of tomato is charred over a flame before being crushed and canned. Contact with that flame brings out the tomato’s sweetness and gives a distinct smoky flavor; essentially, you’re getting more flavor without any extra work. Muir Glen® is my personal favorite brand (not sponsored).
  • Enchilada sauce. Enchilada sauce varies greatly in heat from brand to brand. I personally love and recommend Old El Paso’s® red enchilada sauce (not sponsored). I would say this particular brand keeps these Quinoa Tacos much milder. If you aren’t able to find this specific brand, I’d recommend tasting the enchilada sauce first and making sure it isn’t too spicy. 
  • Frozen corn. If you opt for canned corn instead, be sure to drain it first.
  • Taco seasoning. Again, taco seasoning packets can vary in the spice level and even in overall flavor. I’ve generally found the cheaper the taco seasoning packet, the less flavor it has. Our personal favorite is McCormick’s® Mild Taco Seasoning (not sponsored). If you don’t mind spending a couple of extra minutes of prep time, you can always make your own. Check out my “quick tip” box below!

Ingredient shots-- images of the enchilada sauce and taco seasonings.

QUICK TIP

If you’d prefer to make your own taco seasoning blend instead of using a store-bought mix, here’s my go-to taco seasoning blend (this mix perfectly replaces the store-bought mix in this Quinoa Tacos recipe):

  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder (McCormick for mild chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, fine sea salt, and pepper

 

Image of the toppings being added to Quinoa Tacos.

Quinoa Taco Topping Ideas

This quinoa-based taco filling is pretty stellar straight out of the slow cooker, but, as with most taco recipes, the toppings really seal the deal. Our “must-have” toppings include lime juice, avocado, and a sprinkle of cotija cheese. Below are some other ideas:

  1. Grated sharp (or extra-sharp) Cheddar cheese (pretty much any cheese you enjoy on tacos will work well with these!)
  2. Chopped cherry tomatoes or pico de gallo
  3. Fresh chopped cilantro or thinly sliced green onions
  4. Fresh lime wedges
  5. Thinly sliced jalapeños 
  6. A large scoop of sour cream (we use fat-free to keep these on the light side); you can also use Greek yogurt.
  7. Sliced avocado or a scoop of guacamole
  8. Pickled red onions (I share a quick pickled red onion recipe on these chicken tinga tacos)
  9. Add a sauce! The cilantro-lime sauce on these shrimp tacos would be delicious. A quick lime crema would also be great.

Up-close overhead image of Quinoa Tacos

Recipe Tips

  • Use a large 6-quart slow cooker so the quinoa has plenty of room to properly cook.
  • Cook on high. Unfortunately, this recipe doesn’t cook well on low. The quinoa needs higher heat to “pop” and cook through. 
  • Generously grease the slow cooker or use a liner. The quinoa has a tendency to stick to the edges.
  • Additional add-ons. If you aren’t optimizing for quick prep, feel free to get creative with add-ins like sautéing some onion and garlic before adding it to the slow cooker along with everything else.  Try a diced jalapeño for some heat. You can also add some meat if desired. Add some raw boneless skinless breasts or thighs (cut into smaller pieces and submerged below all the liquid). Once everything is cooked, shred meat with 2 forks, and gently stir it back into the mix.

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Quinoa Tacos

4.96 from 41 votes
These flavor-packed, meatless Quinoa Tacos couldn't be easier; we dump everything into the slow cooker (no chopping or sautéing beforehand) and let the appliance work its magic! Once the quinoa is cooked, load the delicious filling on warmed tortillas and add your favorite taco toppings. It doesn't get much easier than this recipe! 
Print Recipe

Quinoa Tacos

4.96 from 41 votes
These flavor-packed, meatless Quinoa Tacos couldn't be easier; we dump everything into the slow cooker (no chopping or sautéing beforehand) and let the appliance work its magic! Once the quinoa is cooked, load the delicious filling on warmed tortillas and add your favorite taco toppings. It doesn't get much easier than this recipe! 
Course Dinner, Main Course, Vegetarian
Cuisine American, Healthy, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword quinoa tacos
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6 -8
Calories 272kcal
Cost $6.72

Equipment

  • 6-quart slow cooker/crockpot
  • Olive oil or canola/vegetable oil cooking spray

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (190g) uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup (245g) chicken stock or vegetable stock (we love Swanson's stock best)
  • 2 cans (15.25 oz.; 432g EACH) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.; 411g) fire-roasted diced tomatoes (we love Muir Glen)
  • 1 can (10 oz.; 283g) enchilada sauce Note 1
  • 1-1/2 cups (205g) frozen corn (or 1 can corn, drained)
  • 3 tablespoons taco seasoning or 1 packet (1.25 ounces) Note 2
  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Top with your favorite taco toppings: cheese, avocado, diced cherry tomatoes, cilantro, fresh lime, etc.

Instructions

  • PREP: If the quinoa isn't pre-rinsed (the bag will usually specify if it is), rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve under cool water for about 30 seconds.
  • SLOW COOKER: Generously spray a large slow cooker (6 quarts) with nonstick cooking spray. Add in the rinsed quinoa, chicken or vegetable stock, drained and rinsed black beans, undrained tomatoes, enchilada sauce, corn, and taco seasoning. Stir everything well. Cover and cook on high for 2.5 hours to 4 hours, depending on the heat of your slow cooker (Note 3). Once cooked, stir through gently and taste for seasonings, adding additional salt/pepper if needed.
  • TORTILLAS: See Note 4 for preparing the tortillas. I typically char them over a gas flame on my stovetop, but any method works.
  • ASSEMBLE: Fill warmed tortillas with the quinoa filling. Drizzle on fresh lime juice, add fresh cilantro and avocado if desired. Add in cheese and any other favorite taco toppings. (Cheese, lime juice, and diced cherry tomatoes are "must-haves" for us)

Recipe Notes

Note 1: We personally like medium enchilada sauce in this recipe, but use mild if you're worried about the heat. Enchilada sauce can vary greatly in heat from brand to brand. I personally love and recommend Old El Paso's red enchilada sauce. I would say this particular brand keeps Quinoa Tacos quite mild. If you aren't able to find this specific brand, I'd recommend tasting the enchilada sauce first to make sure it isn't too spicy. 
Note 2: Taco seasoning packets vary in spice level and even in overall flavor. I've generally found the cheaper the taco seasoning packet, the less flavor it has. Our personal favorite is McCormick's Mild Taco Seasoning. If you don't mind spending a couple of extra minutes of prep time, you can always make your own:
  • 1 tablespoon ground chili powder (McCormick for mild chili powder)
  • 1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, fine sea salt, and pepper
Note 3: Slow Cooker: Slow cookers cook at different temperatures! You'll want to watch this carefully if you have a slow cooker that runs hot, so the quinoa doesn't get mushy. This recipe doesn't work on low because quinoa gets mushy when cooked on low for long time periods. You'll know it's done when the quinoa has popped and absorbed most of the liquid. 
Note 4: Instant pot: I prepared this recipe in the Instant Pot and unfortunately wasn't successful. It kept getting the burn warning and with more liquid added it ended up overly mushy.
Note 5: To warm tortillas: Spray both sides of the tortillas with olive oil cooking spray and char the tortillas directly over the gas flames for a few seconds. Use tongs to flip until tortillas are lightly charred and soft. Immediately fold the tortilla in half (so it will fold into a taco nicely later) and place it under a towel to keep warm. Alternatively, warm tortillas in a large skillet over medium heat (in batches so the skillet isn't over-filled). Flip to warm each side, remove from heat, fold in half, and place under a towel to keep warm.
Special diets: If you're gluten-intolerant, make sure to buy a gluten-free taco seasoning packet. If vegan is a concern, make without cheese!
 

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 49.6g | Protein: 12.3g | Fat: 3.2g | Cholesterol: 0.9mg | Sodium: 729mg | Fiber: 11.4g | Sugar: 3.5g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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143 Comments

    1. Hey Janice! I’m not quite sure what the question is, I used BOTH diced tomatoes and enchilada sauce in this recipe! 🙂 And neither are drained. I hope that helps!

      1. Thanks for the fast response! Predictive texting changed “put” to “out,” sorry for the confusion. Adding the enchilada sauce riiiight now. ?

        1. You are welcome! Glad I could get to it 🙂 Haha no worries, dang autocorrect!! I hope you love these 🙂

  1. These looks so good, I’m making this weekend! Question…would the cooking time change if adding chicken? Has anyone tried that?

    1. If you cut the chicken into smaller pieces and make it pretty covered with liquid it should be done in about 2 and 1/2 – 3 and 1/2 hours depending on the heat of your slow cooker.

  2. This was amazing! I did make some changes though bc who follows recipes exactly 😉 I added some green chiles, pinto beans and ground turkey. I’m not a fan of quinoa usually but this was so good. Definitely will make this again!

    1. Haha! 🙂 I am so thrilled to hear about your changes and that you enjoyed this recipe!! Thanks so much for the comment 🙂

  3. 4 stars
    These worked out really well for taco night for me – everyone else eats meat. Although the quinoa was done, there was still a lot of liquid in it, so I just used a slotted spoon and it was perfect. So tasty, especially with some lime juice on top. Thanks for a wonderful ,healthy recipe!

    1. You are so welcome! I’m so thrilled to hear how much you enjoyed it! Thanks for the comment!

  4. 5 stars
    Hi Chelsea! I recently discovered this recipe and it’s out of this world! The very first time I made it I forgot to buy the taco shells so I ate everything in a bowl and it was still amazing! My favourite part is the fresh avocado on top.

    Keep up the awesome recipes Chelsea!

    1. Awe thank you so, so much Kate! Your excerpt in the post made my day! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    These are delicious! I’ve started adding ground turkey to them which is also yummy! I was wondering if you had the nutrition information on them? Trying to plug into my fitness pal…

    1. So glad you like these Nadia! The ground turkey sounds fantastic! 🙂 I’m sorry I don’t have nutritional information on these, but if you plug the ingredients into My Fitness Pal it should give you a pretty accurate nutrition label!

    2. I entered into my fitness pal already and with 99% lean ground turkey green chilies and pinto beans in place of a can of black beans it is:
      337 calories
      4.6 g fat
      30.2 G protein
      45.1 carbs1204.2 mg sodium
      10.8 g fiber
      7.4 g sugar

  6. 5 stars
    This is sooo good! This is the 2nd time I’ve made this and I love it. It makes a lot for 2 people so I just put half of it in a Tupperware and freeze it for another time. I do make a few changes; instead of red enchilada sauce I use green, 1 can black beans 1 can of pinto, 1lb ground turkey and a can of green chills.
    I figured out the calories and it’s only about 340/ serving if you say this make 6 servings.
    AMAZING, easy dinner!

    1. Yay! I’m so thrilled to hear you’ve enjoyed this dinner!! Thank you so much for the comment Camille 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    This was incredible and full of flavor, now to share with some of the ladies at work , thanks for the recipe , sprayed Pam on the corn tortillas and fried til toasted !

    1. Hmm the enchilada sauce is pretty integral to the overall flavor. I supposed you could use tomato sauce or petite diced tomatoes (un-drained) but you’d probably want to add some extra spices since enchilada sauce does have quite a few spices. Wish I could be of more help!

  8. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness, this recipe is so good. I’m not a big fan of quinoa, but I had some in the pantry so I thought I would give this a try. I wasn’t expecting much. We have had it two nights in a row now. Leftovers were just as good as the first day. This will definitely become one of our go so dinners. Thank You!

    1. I’m so thrilled to hear these have been enjoyed — and 2 nights in a row!! Thank you so much Shannon 🙂

  9. How are these as leftovers?! I’m already afraid I may have overcooked and made it mushy. If I refrigerate and reheat the next day, how will this taste?!

    1. They are a *bit* mushier as leftovers, but we love them throughout the week for lunches. If they are already mushier from being overcooked, they might not hold up all week, but they should be fine for a couple days!

    1. When I make this we have it for leftovers and love it! It’s definitely mushier the longer it is stored in the fridge though

  10. How long does this last in the freezer? I’d like to stock up on freezer meals for when baby arrives. 🙂

    1. I wouldn’t leave it in the freezer for longer than 2-3 months. Good luck with your baby! 🙂

  11. 5 stars
    I just about have everything in but I don’t have enchilada sauce! I have all of the spices to make it but I don’t know if the lack of “sauce” will mess up the cooking! I’m going to try tomato sauce and add the spices to that :/ I’ll see if it works!

  12. 5 stars
    Chelsea, I love you and all your recipes. My whole family knows you by name. Lol

    Thank you for what you do!

    I like adding some diced sweet potatoes to this recipe 🙂

    1. Awe you made my day!! 🙂 Thank you so much for the comment! And sweet potatoes sound like an amazing addition!

  13. 5 stars
    I made these tonight and my family loved them! Every recipe of yours is fantastic! Your recipes are quick abd easy! Thank you so much!

  14. 5 stars
    Oh my goodness, made these for the first time tonight and they were spectacular! And so incredibly easy. This is gonna be a keeper. Thank you!

  15. 5 stars
    I don’t know why I waited so long to make these! They are absolutely DELICIOUS!!! Will definitely be making them again ♡

    1. I’m sure you can! I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t give the recommendation, but please let me know if you try it out!

  16. If I want to make a double batch can I just double the recipe and then put it all in a crockpot on bight for the same timeframe for the single batch?

    1. Yes; it should be around the same time (maybe an additional 30 mins or hour) but make sure you have a really large crockpot, because one batch really fills it up!

  17. Can I make a double batch by doubling the recipe and put all in crockpot for the original cooking time or double cooking time?

    1. I’ve never tried doubling this recipe, so I’m not sure how it will go as far as cooking evenly. It should be around the original cooking time though 🙂

  18. 5 stars
    This recipe was INCREDIBLE! My husband and I have only recently started eating a plant-based diet and this was so heaty and delicious. My husband has already requested this dish again – it’s a definite winner!

    1. Tara, i’m so glad to hear this. This is definitely a big hit at my house, and it’s so nice to have a meal that is healthy, and everyone likes! 🙂

  19. I loved these! I Want to make them again for a party tomorrow , but just realized I’m out of black beans 🙁 will any other beans work?

    1. It’s all about taste! If you like other beans and think they go well with those flavors than you for sure can use different beans. I’d recommend pinto beans!

  20. Do you think this would work with rice instead of quinoa? Maybe trying it stovetop would be easier if I did rice though

    1. I’ve never had much luck with rice cooking evenly in the crockpot, so I would recommend stovetop for rice!

  21. Love it! So easy to make, pretty much all ingredients I always have at home, and to just dump it in the crockpot for a few hours? What could anyone possibly complain about? I haven’t found many crockpot recipes I enjoy that are vegetarian but not loaded with cheese. This is definitely on my list though!

  22. 5 stars
    My family eats Vegetarian Mon-Friday. I found this recipe and made it tonight! It was super easy. I cooked the quinoa and just dumped everything together in a pot to warm up! No crockpot needed! This was a HUGE hit! Definitely will be making this again!
    Thank you!

  23. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! Could I make this in the instant pot? If so, how long do you think I should set it for?

    1. So happy to hear it! I haven’t personally tested for IP, hopefully someone else can chime in here!

  24. 5 stars
    My husband and I Absolutely loved this!! Used vegetable broth to make it plant based compliant! I will definitely make this when we have visitors!

  25. I was wondering how liquidy this turns out? Will I need to serve it with a slotted spoon of some sort or does the quinoa absorb the liquid as it cooks?

  26. Hello! I am so excited to try this recipe as all the reviews sound amazing and I LOVE crockpot recipes. I am curious to know if I should drain the can of corn? I threw it in my crockpot already with the corn juice from the can so fingers crossed you’re supposed to keep the corn juice too.

    1. Hey! The instructions say “drained corn” but it should still be okay, maybe just drain off extra liquid if needed! Hope you love it!

      1. 5 stars
        Oh crap! My Bad! I was just looking at the ingredients list and just once overed the actual recipe. Thank you for the prompt reply! My kitchen is smelling delicious and I’m sure it will still be great!

        1. No worries at all! 🙂 I should add that to the ingredient list, so thank you for that suggestion! 🙂 I hope you loved it!

  27. 5 stars
    This is so, so good!! The flavors are perfect with just the right amount of spice (used mild enchilada sauce and taco seasoning packet)! Easy and delicious crockpot recipe! Thank you!

    1. It is necessary for this dish, but if you don’t like enchilada sauce you probably won’t like this meal to be honest! It definitely has a strong enchilada flavor. Sorry Renee!

  28. Loved every recipe of yours I tried so far. Thank you! Planning this meal for tomorrow night, but wondering what 6-8 servings means – does it mean it will feed 6-8 people or it will fill 6-8 tortillas? I have 2 teenage boys that eat a lot!!

    1. Hey Pascale! So glad to hear that 🙂 I’d say this feeds 6-8 people (probably closer to 6 with 2 teenage boys :)) It makes a ton of filling and when you load it in tortillas with toppings, it’s a good amount of food! Hope that helps 🙂

  29. 5 stars
    We loved this recipe! My sister is such a fussy eater and said it was delicious!! Highly recommend ❤️❤️

  30. 5 stars
    Just made these and subbed rotel per your notes to spice it up a little. My husband is still raving about these. He used the term “restaurant quality”! Thanks for sharing this recipe. It really was so simple. I also learned to rinse quinoa. I have just started using that grain and didn’t rinse prior to making this recipe.

  31. 5 stars
    Love, love, love this recipe, as does my 15 month old! Thanks for a great one! Also, I use my own black beans and it works well to. 2×14 ounce cans is equal to 2.5 cups.

  32. 5 stars
    Came out really well; was filling and delicious.
    Had to mix the quinoa really well after the 2.5 hour mark.
    I served it with Mexican style cheese as a burrito and it was awesome!

    1. I’m sorry I haven’t personally tried this recipe in an Instant Pot, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in one though!

  33. 5 stars
    This was as easy as the author described. It really does take only 5 minutes to gather ingredients, toss in the crockpot, and walk away. The result is delicious and nutritious. Thanks for this recipe!

  34. 5 stars
    Made these last night. LOVED the filling – extremely flavorful. Could not for the life of me figure out how to make the shells as you describe – they just kept ripping. Only issue we had with the filling was how full of liquid it was. Made the tacos basically too messy to eat. Next time I will drain the tomatoes, cut tortillas in triangles, spray with cooking spray and air fry into chips and then serve filling over them. Will absolutely make again – incredibly delicious. I’ve already sent to two friends. Your taco seasoning was spot-on and I used Rick Frontera’s Red Enchilada sauce (which has only 8 oz to the recipe’s 10 but the filling was still full of liquid).

  35. Thanks for the great recipe. Quick and easy and best of all delicious! I made a slight change and charred the corn on a pan first before adding to the crock later. We loved charred corn in this house but maybe not so healthy!

  36. I made this recipe years ago and loved it. I have never forgotten it. I plan to make it again next weekend. So delicious and a great meat free option 🙂

  37. 5 stars
    We made this in the crockpot and it was Amazing! I’m NOOMing and it fit right in. I shared this with my NOOM group. I ate it as a lettuce wrap. We will have this often! Thank you!!

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