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Quinoa Taco Salad

Serves 5

  • Prep15 mins
  • Cook30 mins
  • Total45 mins
  • Servings5
  • Ingredients18


Your #mealprepgoals just got easier to nail. Quinoa, black beans, and tempeh provide a triple threat of plant-based protein in this large taco-style salad that holds up remarkably well. The quinoa will absorb the vibrant, flavourful dressing and still be perfectly tender by the time your next meal rolls around. You can toss on some cubed avocado, queso fresco, and/or broken baked tortilla chips for crunch just before serving.


Raise a toast

To add a deeper flavour to quinoa, consider toasting the grains before boiling in water. Simply heat a couple teaspoons of oil in heavy-bottomed saucepan, add dry quinoa, and heat, stirring often, until the grains are a couple shades darker and emit a nutty, toasted smell; then add your water.

Plant-based redo

For a plant-based option, you can top salad with slices of grilled tempeh or navy beans instead of chicken. To infuse dressing with savoury, cheesy flavour, minus the dairy, you could use nutritional yeast.


Quinoa Taco Salad

  • Prep15 mins
  • Cook30 mins
  • Total45 mins
  • Servings5
  • Ingredients18


  • 1 lb (450 g) sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp (30 mL + 10 mL) grapeseed oil or sunflower oil, divided
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt, divided
  • 1 cup (250 mL) quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 - 7 oz (200 g) pkg plain tempeh, crumbled
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) chili powder
  • 1 cup (250 mL) packed cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) sour cream or nondairy sour cream
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) honey or agave syrup
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) cumin powder
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups (500 mL) cooked or canned (drained and rinsed) black beans
  • 1 cup (250 mL) diced red onion
  • 2 cups (500 mL) halved grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) unsalted pumpkin seeds


Per serving:

  • calories488
  • protein22g
  • fat17g
    • saturated fat3g
    • trans fat0g
  • carbohydrates66g
    • sugars8g
    • fibre12g
  • sodium374mg



Heat oven to 400 F (200 C). Toss sweet potato with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil, oregano, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt. Spread out on rimmed baking sheet and roast until tender, about 20 minutes.


In medium saucepan, place quinoa, 1 3/4 cups (435 mL) water, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 12 minutes. Set aside, covered, for 5 minutes and then fluff quinoa with fork.


In skillet over medium, heat 2 tsp (10 mL) oil. Add tempeh and chili powder; heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until browned.


In blender, combine cilantro, jalapeño, sour cream, lime juice, 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil, agave or honey, cumin, garlic, and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt. Process until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.


In large bowl, toss together sweet potato, quinoa, tempeh, black beans, red onion, tomatoes, and pumpkin seeds. Add cilantro dressing and toss together.

Make ahead:

All contents of this salad can be chilled together in airtight container for up 3 days. Any optional toppings, such as avocado, should be added just before serving.



Going Pro

Going Pro

You might think of protein as something you mainly get from a meal and, therefore, not a component of dessert. But, if you’re going to opt for dessert from time to time, why not consider working in ingredients that go big on this important macronutrient? It’s easier (and more delicious) than you may think! Protein is an essential part of every cell in your body and plays a starring role in bone, muscle, and skin health. So, certainly, you want to make sure you’re eating enough. And it’s best to spread protein intake throughout the day, since your body needs a continual supply. This is why it can be a great idea to try to include protein in your desserts. When protein is provided in sufficient amounts in a dessert, it may help you feel more satiated and help temper blood sugar swings. Plus, in many cases, that protein comes in a package of other nutritional benefits. For instance, if you’re eating a dessert made with protein-packed Greek yogurt, you’re not just getting protein; you’re getting all the yogurt’s bone-benefitting calcium and immune-boosting probiotics, too. Adding nuts to your dessert doesn’t just provide plant-based protein, but it also provides heart-healthy fats. Yes, desserts need not be just empty calories. Ready for a treat? These protein-filled desserts with a healthy twist are dietitian-approved—and delicious.