Tri-color Quinoa Taco Filling


This recipe is one of my favorites because it has a ton of leeway. No red peppers? Use green peppers or toss in the leftover cooked veggies from last night. No quinoa? Leftover millet or even brown rice would do the job just fine. Just imagine cleaning out the fridge one a week on taco night!

This is so simple and uses ingredients you probably already have on hand. It’s perfect for a weeknight dinner you didn’t have time to plan ahead for.


One of the things I love about Roland’s tricolor quinoa is that it’s pre-rinsed.  It’s true, they have already pre-washed the bitter coating off for you. That makes it even easier to cook up a batch of this protein powerhouse even on a weeknight. I hate trying to get the tiny pieces of stuck quinoa out of my strainer. I know, it doesn’t take much time to get it out, but the procrastination that happens first could take hours, so pre-rinsed really is a time saver for me!

(For full disclosure I was paid to develop this recipe and given free Roland Foods products. But I was not paid to do this post on my blog.)


Tri-color Quinoa and Greens Taco Filling
Serves 4 to 6

  • 1 cup water or vegetable broth
  • ½ cup Roland® Pre-washed Tricolor Quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ small onion (about ½ cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ medium red bell pepper (about ½ cup)
  • 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons cumin powder, to taste
  • 1 ½ to 2 teaspoons chili powder, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ cup chopped greens (collards, kale, spinach, etc.)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • salt, to taste

Add the water or broth to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until you see the tiny white tails unfurl on the quinoa. Set aside.

Add the olive oil to a non-stick large sauté pan and heat over medium heat. (Use water or broth instead of olive oil to make this dish oil-free.) Add onion and sauté until translucent. Then add the garlic and red pepper. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes more or until the peppers become tender.

Stir in the cooked quinoa, 1 ½ teaspoons cumin powder, 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder and all the paprika. (If the pan is dry add a few tablespoons of water or broth so the mixture will not stick to the pan.)

Cook and stir until the mixture just starts to get rid of the excess liquid. Then stir in the collards and the nutritional yeast. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more or until the collards become tender. Mix in some salt, taste and add more spices if needed.

Serve in taco or burrito shells and pile on your favorite toppings. If you are avoiding taco or burrito shells this also makes a tasty and nutritious salad or baked sweet potato topping!


Be sure to let me know if you have any questions about my second book, The Great Vegan Bean Book, that releases June 1 or my third book which comes out this September, Vegan Slow Cooking for Two or Just You.

Each one is available for pre-order on Amazon today for only $10.31 today. If you pre-order now you will get the lowest price between now and when the book releases!


  1. This looks amazing.
    All of my favorite things!

  2. your new cookbooks look great and I can’t wait for the either of them but the bean one especially . . . only thing is I won’t use amazon, why don’t you go with a socially responsible company? support human right AND animal rights!

  3. Great recipe! I just found it on Google+ :) I love using quinoa in tacos and this looks scrumptious!

    I’d love for you to come share this recipe over on Thanks Goodness It’s Quinoa, a bi-weekly link party celebrating all things quinoa. I know my readers would enjoy this just as much as I have.

    Hope to see you there!

    Happy Friday!


  4. Chemese says:

    Did you make the taco shell?

    • Kathy Hester says:

      Nope – they are organic and bought at Whole Foods. I always have a box in the pantry fro a quick dinner.

  5. Ariel Keeley says:

    Love this recipe. I have made it 3 times now. My boys like it and my boyfriend who doesn’t usually like vegetarian stuff enjoys it.

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