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Quinoa Taco Salad

Quinoa taco salad with avocado and lime- perfect for a gluten-free diet.
Quinoa taco salad with avocado and lime- perfect for a gluten-free diet.

Quinoa Taco Salad Days


Looking for a fresh idea for a summer picnic or backyard get-together? This cool and breezy quinoa taco salad might be just what you're craving. Laced with lime juice and sea salt, the combo of fluffy quinoa and ripe avocado, spiked with red onion and sunny sweet pepper, served on a crisp bed of romaine lettuce, is a light and healthy twist on the salsa drenched bean and cheese heavy taco salads so ubiquitous years ago. It's a total win for gluten-free vegans and vegetarians. And let's face it.

QuinoaLime quinoa salad with taco seasonings and corn chips is much more hip than canned re-fried beans.

The inspiration for a quinoa taco salad was sparked over on the Gluten-Free Goddess Facebook page. Reader (and long distance friend) Patsy commented on a thread about Memorial Day picnic salads, mentioning her current fave, quinoa taco salad. We all perked up. 

Quinoa? As a taco salad? Brilliant. 

Patsy generously shared her recipe with me. It called for diced tomatoes, black beans and cheese, so I revamped the flavors to create a lighter, legume-free vegan version. Quinoa is a complete vegetarian protein, so you really don't need the black beans (as a complementary protein), unless, of course, you're fond of those fiber rich little beauties in your quinoa salad.






Quinoa Taco Salad


I kept the seasoning simple, relying on my favorite New Mexican inspired pairing of lime juice and sea salt.

I'm a few weeks away from being able to eat quinoa (I'm on a soft foods diet till the middle of June) so I made this for Steve- who added a crumbled, hard boiled huevo to his plate and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

He deemed it blogworthy.


Quinoa taco salad with avocado and lime
A light and fresh take on taco salad- vegan and gluten-free.

Quinoa Taco Salad Recipe

Recipe posted May 2010.

My vegan quinoa taco salad is sans tomatoes. And bean-free. But if you love black beans with a white hot passion, add 'em in. You can also add crumbled goat cheese on top, if you desire.

You'll need:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed, then cooked in two cups water (I use a rice cooker to do this; here's how.)

Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork. Scoop into a bowl.

Ingredients:

Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Juice from 2 medium, juicy limes
Sea salt, to taste
2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro or parsley
1 half small red or purple onion, diced fine
1 small yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced fine
1 cup roasted corn kernels (I used frozen, roasted on a cookie sheet for 6-7 minutes, then cooled)
1 large head of crisp romaine lettuce, washed, dried, sliced crosswise
Gluten-free tortilla chips
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, diced

Instructions:

Drizzle the cooked quinoa with extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat. Squeeze on fresh lime juice and toss again. Season with sea salt, to taste.

Add in the fresh chopped cilantro, diced red onion, diced yellow pepper, and roasted corn kernels. Stir lightly to distribute. Taste test for seasoning adjustments.

Line four salad bowls or plates with the fresh romaine. Spoon the quinoa salad on the center of the lettuce. Add the diced avocado to each plate. Tuck in a few tortilla chips around the edges.

Serve with an extra lime wedge.

Serves 4.

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Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com

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More Options:


Add a cup of chilled, drained black beans, if you like your taco salad super hearty.

Add sliced red or yellow cherry or grape tomatoes, if you desire.

Sprinkle with the cheese of your choice.

Serve with your favorite salsa on the side.

Reader Michelle suggests adding diced mango. Sounds yum.


Gluten free quinoa taco salad
Vegan taco salad freshness.

xox Karina