Vegetarian Quinoa Taco Meat Tostadas

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This Vegetarian Quinoa Taco Meat Tostadas recipe is a quick and simple meat-free weeknight main entree. The quinoa taco meat is a healthy substitute for crumbled beef and a must-try for any vegetarian!

Vegetarian Quinoa Taco Meat

I so wish I could take credit for inventing the amazing thing that is quinoa taco meat. It’s smokey, slightly spicy, a complete protein, and even looks like taco meat from afar! But alas, I came across it on Pinterest way back when and it seems to have become most popular through Minimalist Baker. I’ve toyed with even adding it to VV since it’s already done so well in places but this is one of those recipes that I make weekly for dinner (and use the leftovers in quesadillas for lunch) so it seemed so silly to hide this recipe from you. Also, after making it so many times on the regular, I’ve tweaked the recipe here and there and have come up with what I consider the best version. My secret ingredient is smoked paprika for a smoky (almost meat-y) flavor.

Make sure you use white quinoa for this recipe as I find tri-colored quinoa to be a bit temperamental because, for me, it doesn’t always seem to cook evenly. I’ve kept the topping servings general below as the amount needed is all going to depend on how many of the toppings you serve and how much toppings people like to use. I’d recommend planning for about 1 cup of toppings per person (per every 2 tostadas).

I do think the quinoa taco meat is even better the next day. To store, place in a sealed container and keep in the fridge. When ready to enjoy, either warm in the oven or in a skillet on the stove-top – either work great!

Vegetarian Quinoa Taco Meat Tostadas recipe below:

Vegetarian Quinoa Taco MeatVegetarian Quinoa Taco Meat

Vegetarian Quinoa Taco Meat Tostadas
This Vegetarian Quinoa Taco Meat Tostadas recipe is a quick and simple meat-free weeknight main entree. The quinoa taco meat is must-try for any vegetarian! / Quinoa Taco Meat adapted from Minimalist Baker.
Course: Main
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 201 kcal
Author: Shelly Westerhausen
  • 1/2 package of Tostadas (about 10)
For the quinoa meat:
  • 2 cups salted water
  • 1 cup white quinoa , rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup chunky tomato-based salsa
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast , optional (I've made it with when I have it on hand and without when I don't and it always turns out delicious)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • Dash of salt and pepper
For the sauteed veggies:
  • 1 yellow bell pepper , sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper , sliced into strips
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 1 red onion , cut into large chunks
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Dash of salt / pepper
Other topping ideas:
  • Lettuce
  • Sour cream (omit if wanting to keep vegan)
  • Sliced avocado
  • Sliced tomatoes
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro
  • Pickled jalapenos
  • Lime juice
  • Hot sauce
  1. Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once boiling, add quinoa and reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered for an additional 10 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup salsa, nutritional yeast (if using), olive oil, cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, and a dash of salt and pepper.
  3. Once the quinoa has sat, fluff with a fork and transfer to mixing bowl. Fold until the quinoa is completed coated with the salsa mixture and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Spread out into an level layer on the baking sheet to ensure even baking.
  4. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes (time varies so much because different salsas will have different amounts of water content), stirring halfway through, or until most of the quinoa has browned.
  5. Remove from heat and serve warm.
  6. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add in bell pepper, onion strips, corn, and a dash of salt and saute until slightly softened, about 7 to 10 minutes (I like mine still slightly crunchy but saute for longer if you prefer them softer).
  7. To serve: Top tostadas with quinoa taco meat, sauteed vegetables, and any toppings from the list above you'd prefer.
Nutrition Facts
Vegetarian Quinoa Taco Meat Tostadas
Amount Per Serving
Calories 201 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 186mg8%
Potassium 434mg12%
Carbohydrates 29g10%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 1205IU24%
Vitamin C 64.5mg78%
Calcium 38mg4%
Iron 2.5mg14%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Vegetarian Quinoa Taco Meat



  • Sophie
    January 10, 2017

    This looks amazing.

  • Sarah | Well and Full
    January 10, 2017

    These tostadas look amazing, Shelly! I love making vegetarian/vegan taco “meats”… I like to add walnuts to mine!!

  • MP
    January 10, 2017

    What role does the nutritional yeast play in this recipe?

    • Shellywest
      January 10, 2017

      It’s just an additional nutrition boost. I honestly have never noticed a difference in texture or taste when making with or without. Hope that helps!

  • Michelle || Hummingbird High
    January 11, 2017

    quinoa “taco meat” is one of my favorite weeknight dinners. i’m always cooking up a bowl of quinoa and eating it with a scoop of salsa and guac. never occurred to me to put it on tostadas though! looks delish. xo

  • Heartbeet Kitchen (@amanda_paa)
    January 11, 2017

    i’ve never tried quinoa taco “meat”! and great tip about using the all white – i have trouble with the tri color as well, even though it’s so pretty. xo

  • Aysegul at
    January 11, 2017

    What a genius idea to create “meat” using quinoa, spices, and nutritional yeast. This looks so healthy and delicious.
    I am trying this over the weekend. 🙂
    Gorgeous photography as usual.

  • WillCookForFriends
    January 12, 2017

    Oh man, that quinoa taco meat is genius! I can totally relate to finding a recipe you wish you had created because it’s just so good. Your version of this sounds incredible, and has me craving tacos!

  • Valentina @Hortus
    January 12, 2017

    Love the idea of using quinoa! I have done something similar before but with lentils. I totally see this working really well as a bowl as well!

  • Sherrie
    January 15, 2017

    I’ve been making sorghum taco meat for a while now, but I really like the way the texture of this quinoa ‘meat’ looks. I need to switch it up and make this instead one time.

  • Katrina
    January 15, 2017

    These look so tasty!! Taco-fy anything and I’m all over it!

  • Traci | Vanilla And Bean
    January 16, 2017

    I’m happy you shared it here, Shelly, else I wouldn’t have known this delicious recipe! Although, I make a similar taco meat with quinoa, yours is different in spices and nutritional yeast! I’ve gotta give it a go! I’m totally craving Mexican food now! Delicious work my dear!

  • Kate Minor
    January 20, 2017

    This is SUCH a great idea! I have just been looking for some new inspiration for different veg taco recipe inspiration. I will totally try this. Thank you! 🙂

  • Molly
    February 12, 2017

    I like mixing roasted eggplant with quinoa for taco filling 🙂

  • Bethany
    February 28, 2017

    I love how colorful and pretty these tacos are! And they look super good, too!

  • Helen at the Lazy Gastronome
    March 1, 2017

    This looks so good – I would be honored if you shared it at our Taco Tuesday link up!

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  • Cindy
    September 15, 2017

    Do you think I could use Italian spices instead and use it in spaghetti sauce or will it lose texture in a sauce? I’d love to mimic crumbled Italian sausage.

    • Shellywest
      September 19, 2017

      Love that idea! I would maybe just sprinkle them over your spaghetti and sauce right before you eat to make sure they don’t get soggy. Let me know how it comes out!

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