Roasted carrot, portobello, quinoa and black bean vegetarian tacos are hearty, flavorful, and have lots of protein. Add cheese if you’re not vegan!
Why you’ll love it: These tacos are so delicious!
How long it takes: less than an hour
Equipment you’ll need: a couple of sheet pans, saucepan, mixing bowl
Servings: 8 (makes 16 tacos)
First things first: this recipe is not just for vegetarians. Or vegans. I’m neither, and I’m completely head-over-heels for these tacos.
Also, there is nothing that is parading as meat in this recipe. It’s just not necessary here, when the ingredients shine on their own. With spicy roasted carrots and mushrooms, filling quinoa and black beans, who even needs meat or a meat substitute with all that goodness happening?!
Okay, if I’m being honest, you could put pickled onions, avocado, and cilantro on a pile of dirt and I’d love it. That combo is the trifecta of toppings and is good on pretty much everything. But don’t worry, you won’t be putting the toppings on anything remotely resembling a pile of dirt!
About these tacos
So what’s in these vegetarian tacos? Quinoa is mixed with black beans for a healthy plant-based protein. Carrots and portobello mushrooms, seasoned with all your favorite southwestern flavors, are roasted and piled on top. Add a handful of queso fresco (a soft fresh Mexican cheese) for a filling and hearty vegetarian meal.
And then, of course, the trifecta of toppings is added. A squeeze of fresh lime juice really amps up the flavor, too. Really, though, I shouldn’t push my topping desires on you. You are free to top these tacos however you like best.
If you’re vegan, simply omit the cheese or use a vegan cheese. The tacos are 100% just as delicious without the cheese, especially if you have avocado in the mix. The creaminess of the avocado does a fantastic job of filling the shoes of the cheese.
Since corn tortillas are basically corn flour and water, this meatless meal is gluten-free, too.
A serving of two of these flavor bomb tacos is only 308 calories with 11 grams of protein. Sorry, that does not include all the toppings you’ll pile on but the toppings are pretty healthy, too, and add extra nutrition.
I’ll get you started on the recipe here and help you out with lots of extra tips. As always, the printable recipe card can be found near the end of the post. It has complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
What You’ll Need
- Quinoa and Black Beans: This savory mixture is made with sautéed onions, vegetable broth, quinoa and a can of black beans.
- Carrots: The carrots are cut into small planks so they are easily contained in the tortilla. Carrots are a nutrition powerhouse with loads of antioxidants, especially vitamin A.
- Portobello Mushrooms: Long strips of portobello mushrooms complete the filling. Did you know that mushrooms are really good for you too? They are low calorie, have antioxidants, minerals, and fiber.
- Chili Powder, Salt, Paprika, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Oregano, and Cayenne: The roasted carrots and mushrooms are seasoned with this powerful pack of seasonings. They guarantee that the tacos will be anything but boring!
- Corn Tortillas: These simple wrappings have such great corn flavor especially when they are lightly charred over an open flame. They do tend to fall apart a bit when they are loaded with all these goodies. An easy solution is to use two tortillas for each taco. Flour tortillas are perfectly acceptable too.
- Toppings: We’ve already talked about toppings!
How To Make These Tacos
Turn the oven on and get it preheating. You’ll need 2 sheet pans, one for the carrots and one for the mushrooms.
You’ll want to begin these tacos by cooking the quinoa first. It can cook while the vegetables are roasting. In a saucepan, sauté the onions in a bit of oil until they soften. Add the uncooked quinoa (rinse it first!) and sauté it a few minutes, too, until it is toasted a bit. Add the broth, bring the pan to a boil, then cover it and turn down the heat.
Let the quinoa simmer for fifteen minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. When it’s done, simply stir in the black beans, put the cover back on the pan and let it rest until everything is ready.
Next, mix all the seasonings together in a small bowl. You’ll be dividing them in half: half for the carrots and half for the mushrooms. It’s easier to divide them once they are all mixed together.
While the quinoa is cooking, prep the carrots. Peel them and and cut them into planks or strips, about 1/2 inch thick. Put them into a medium sized bowl and toss them with olive oil and half the seasoning blend. If you like, use your hands to really get the carrots coated.
Spread the carrots on a sheet pan and put them in the oven to roast. Meanwhile, prep the mushrooms. Brush them clean, remove the gills (the black stuff on the inside) and the stems. Slice them about 1/2 inch thick and put them into the same bowl that you used for the carrots. Add oil and the rest of seasoning and mix well.
Spread the mushrooms on another sheet pan. Once the carrots have roasted 10 minutes, give them a stir, and put the sheet pan of mushrooms in the oven too.
Roast both pans of vegetables another 10 minutes. Dinner’s almost ready….
To Char The Tortillas: The tortillas can be warmed using your preferred method but if you want to char the corn tortillas, you can do it directly on the gas burners of your stove. Turn the flame on low, set the tortilla on the burner for 45 seconds (watch closely), flip with tongs and do the other side, and wrap in a clean towel, repeating the process for the desired amount of tortillas, You can have all your burners going at once if you keep on your toes.
Assemble the tacos, with the quinoa mixture on the bottom, followed by the roasted vegetables, and any toppings you like. A squeeze of fresh lime juice is pretty essential, I’d say.
Really, the sky is the limit here. Fresh vegetables like onions, tomatoes, avocado, peppers, and lettuce are always popular choices. Sautéed onions and bell peppers make a fajita-like taco. Try roasted vegetables, too.
I found some great ideas on this Eat This, Not That site. They suggest putting the cheese on the tortilla first so that it melts when covered by the hot fillings. Not only does the melted cheese taste great, it also absorbs some of the juiciness and holds things together a bit.
Another tip is to put the sour cream on first so you don’t get all the sour cream with the first bite. This would apply to guacamole, too.
More Ideas: Once a taco is loaded and folded, you can pan fry it much like a quesadilla. Or use two tortillas: one soft and one crisp. Spread a layer of refried beans on the soft tortilla, fold it around a crisp shell and load it up.
There seem to be a lot of opinions on this topic and I certainly don’t claim to be an expert. From what I’ve read, it seems like authentic Mexican tacos are soft corn tortillas filled with meat that has been marinated and grilled, and topped with fresh chopped onions and cilantro.
Tex-Mex tacos are crisp corn tortillas stuffed with seasoned ground beef, cheese, shredded lettuce and tomatoes. There are a million variations on these two versions, one of which is the vegetarian taco recipe I’m bringing you today.
More Vegetarian (could be vegan) Tacos and Nachos
Delicata squash plays a starring role in these vegetarian tacos, making them perfect for fall. Another favorite is a cauliflower taco that features flavorful roasted cauliflower and roasted chickpeas, along with roasted bell peppers and onions for good measure.
If you’re more of a nacho kind of girl or guy, I have you covered too, with these irresistible vegetarian nachos or cauliflower nachos (these have shredded chicken in the recipe but just omit it if you want). If you’re craving even more, these vegan enchiladas from This Savory Vegan look fantastic!
Storage & Reheating Tips
If you have leftover taco fillings, store them separately (quinoa/bean mixture and vegetable mixture) in covered containers in the refrigerator. They’ll keep up to four days. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge for best results.
Reheat individual portions in the microwave until heated through. Make tacos with fresh warm corn tortillas and desired toppings.
Leftover quinoa and roasted vegetables make fantastic grain bowls or burrito bowls. Forgo the corn tortillas and add whatever toppings you like. Perfect for lunch!
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ cup diced yellow onion
- 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne, more to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced into ½ inch strips
- 4 portobello mushrooms, black gills and stems removed, cut into ½ inch strips
- 16 corn tortillas, warmed or charred (6 inch)
- pickled onions (optional for topping)
- fresh chopped cilantro (optional for topping)
- avocado or guacamole (optional for topping)
- crumbled queso fresco (optional for topping)
- lime wedges (optional for topping)
- In a medium saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes or until onions are translucent.
- Add quinoa and continue to cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes to toast quinoa slightly. Add vegetable broth, stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook, covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in beans.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425ºF.
- In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, salt, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, and cayenne.
- In a medium-large bowl, toss carrots with 1 tablespoon olive oil and half of spice mixture. Place in a single, even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in preheated oven for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, use the same bowl to toss mushrooms with 2 teaspoons olive oil and remaining spices.
- Place mushrooms in a single, even layer on another rimmed baking sheet and when carrots have been in the oven for 10 minutes, add mushrooms to oven. Take carrots out, stir, and return to oven.
- Continue to roast both vegetables for an additional 10 minutes or until carrots are tender and mushrooms are cooked and starting to brown.
- Fill corn tortillas with quinoa mixture, roasted vegetables, and desired toppings. Enjoy immediately.
- Servings depend on how much you stuff into a tortilla. Nutrition information is for 2 tacos and includes filling and tortillas, but not optional toppings.
- This makes a lot! It keeps well and is great for meal prepping. Who doesn’t love taco leftovers?
- To make vegan, omit cheese or use a vegan substitute.
- Toppings are suggestions but I highly recommend avocado or guacamole, pickled onions, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime. Other good choices are sour cream, salsa, salsa verde, chopped tomatoes, Mexican blend cheese, sliced black olives, etc.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.