Things you may not know about me: I’ve had the same car since I was 16.
So, in that old school Mercedes, there are some awesome artifacts that pop up every once in a while. Things I’ve found most recently include a Hello Kitty mechanical pencil, a 90s-era scrunchie, that Bob Marley album I had on repeat in high school, lots of change, an old Tortilla chip (eeeew, I know!) that I swear is completely my brother’s fault. I have no problem blaming my brother because he’s had a habit of eating in my car ever since high school.
We’d go car cushion scavenging and have just enough change to hit up the El Pollo Loco Dollar Menu, where we’d religiously order BRC (beans, rice, cheese) burritos.
We don’t hit up EPL anymore, but I wanted to give my brother a recipe that was just as simple and healthier. So this is my twist on the BRC, aka the BQC (beans, quinoa, cheese) taco.
Toasted Quinoa Feta Black Bean Tacos Recipe
- 3 tablespoons canola and grapeseed oil
- 6 medium garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 2 red onions sliced into 1/2-inch rings
- kosher salt
- 1 pinch cumin seeds or 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cups cooked black beans
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth , chicken broth, or water
- 16 corn tortillas
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- Your favorite salsa for serving
- firm-ripe avocado for serving
- Caramelize The Onions: Heat half of the oil in a large nonstick frying pan or cast iron pan in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onion, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden brown, about 10 minutes. If you have time, go ahead and continue to cook the onions on medium-low heat for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, in order to caramelize them and get even more flavor in the final tacos. TIP: The onions can be cooked up to four days ahead. Store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use. Warm before using.
- Warm The Bean Mixture: Stir in cumin, beans, and stock or water and scrape the bottom of the pan to incorporate any browned bits. Cook until the mixture is simmering and the liquid is reduced so it's just coating the bottom of the pan. Taste and add more salt or cumin, as desired. Set aside.TIP: The beans can be cooked up to four days ahead. Store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use. Warm before using.
- Make Toasted Quinoa: Use the quinoa as is or make it crunchy by doing the following: place a large nonstick or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the quinoa and spread it out so that it evenly covers the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally until it’s golden brown (about 15 minutes). Pull the quinoa off the burner or out of the oven just as it’s golden brown then let it cool in the pan. TIP: The quinoa can be cooked up to four days ahead. Store refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use. Warm before using.
- Warm The Tortillas: Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil on one side of each tortilla and arrange the tortillas in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (it's okay if they overlap slightly). Transfer the tortillas to the oven and bake just until the oil is heated, the tortillas puff slightly, they're warmed through, and they're still pliable – don't let them get crispy – then remove them from the oven.
- Serve The Tacos: Heat up tortillas, double them so you use two tortillas for each taco, then top with onion-bean mixture, a few spoonfuls of quinoa, and a crumble of cheese, some salsa and avocado and serve.