Taco Quinoa Salad

Recipe Courtesy of Chef Anne Thornton
Photo: @wearsovegan.com

So many of my clients come to me hoping to reduce their red meat intake but are turned off by the idea of eating tofu for every meal. Well, if this idea resonates with you too, then let me ease your fears! There are endless nutrient-dense alternatives to red meat, like this Walnut Taco Meat! This recipe is loaded with vitamins and minerals and tastes so good you won’t even miss traditional taco meat. I included this Walnut Taco Meat in my summer S.O.U.P. Cleanse menu, and people are eating it up (literally!).


3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not in oil)
3 cups raw walnuts
1 1/2 T cloves of grated garlic
2/3 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
1 T smoked paprika
2 T Mexican Fiesta Seasoning by Frontier CO-OP
1 T chipotle powder
2 tsp coconut sugar
1 T nutritional yeast

1/4 cup water as needed, plus more 


1 cup tricolored quinoa 
2 cups water
1/4 tsp sea salt


Rehydrate the sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl by pouring warm water over them. Set it aside and allow to soak for 5-10 minutes. Rinse the quinoa, and it to a stock pot, then add to two cups of water and 1/4 tsp salt bring to a boil over medium-high heat for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Set aside until you finish making the walnut meat.

While the quinoa cooks, add walnuts to the bowl of the food processor and pulse into a chunky meal. Make sure you don’t turn it into walnut butter, you want it to look like ground meat. Transfer walnuts to a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Strain the water out of the sun-dried tomatoes, save the water in bowl to add back to the sauce later, and add to the bowl of the food processor. Add garlic, smoked paprika, cumin, sea salt, chili powder, chipotle powder, coconut sugar and blend until a smooth paste is formed. Add 1.5 Tbsp of reserved water at a time until a nice thick smooth sauce is made.

Mix the walnuts and quinoa together until well distributing, next pour the sauce over the combination. Now you should taste it and adjust the flavors; you can add more salt, more spice, or more garlic—whatever your palate desires.

One of the best parts of this recipes is the leftovers can be stored up to 7 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 month in the freezer.

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