On my recent holidays I was able to go to the physical stores of two of my favourite online places to buy food. Living in a smallish, rural town means that for a lot of recipes I want to make I either have to substitute or buy ingredients online. When it comes to perishable items substitution is, really, the only why to go but for non-perishables I have found a large number of Australian online stores from which to get my various
needs wants. Two of my favourites are Essential Ingredients Online, which has physical stores in Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie, and Kombu Wholefoods, whose physical store is in Bellingen. After trawling these websites on countless numbers of occasions and having placed a number of orders I was pleased to be able to spend time in the actual stores. I wasn't disappointed with either of them and will make a point to head to both of them again any time I am in the area.
Amongst the numerous items that I bought from the above stores were red quinoa and turtle beans (or black beans depending on where you live). I had a few ideas on what I wanted to do with them but also googled and food blog searched to see what I could make with them. I came up with a number of recipes for each separately but I decided to make something using both of them. I had a bit of a hankering for some tacos and remembering that when I was a kid mum used to make tacos with lentils and kidney beans I decided to see if I could make a taco filling using red quinoa and turtle beans. To add a bit of bulk to it I threw in some carrot, capsicum and as I had some mushrooms slowly dying a slow death in the crisper I chopped them and and threw them in too. I used some of my homemade taco seasoning, although you could use one of those packets from the supermarket, and canned tomatoes. It made an amazing filling. I felt so satisfied after eating the tacos. They really hit the spot so I think I will be making these regularly. The first night I used some warmed tortillas and just had soft tacos. For lunch the next day I draped a tortilla over a mould and put it in the oven and formed a bowl. I really enjoyed it that way, kind of a combinations between a taco and nachos. I have also had some with some rice with a bit tomato juice added in when re-heating for a kind of faux chilli.
Red Quinoa, Turtle Bean & Carrot Tacos
- 1/2 c dried black turtle beans (soaked for at least 6 hours)
- 1/2 c red quinoa (soaked for 30 minutes and drained thoroughly)
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil (any neutral oil will be fine)
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 1 capsicum, finely diced
- 250 g mushrooms, finely diced
- 1 packet taco seasoning, or homemade mix to taste (see recipe below)
- 400 g can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 can water
- salt & pepper to taste
- Drain beans and place in a saucepan with clean water. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 - 30 minutes or until they still have a bit of bite. Try not to cook until too soft as they will be cooking further later on. Drain and set aside.
- Heat oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened but not browned. Add garlic and cook for a further minute.
- Add carrot, capsicum and mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes then add quinoa and beans.
- Add taco seasoning and stir to coat everything.
- Add tomatoes & water, bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook until liquid has been absorbed and quinoa and beans are cooked adding more water if necessary.
- Taste, adjust seasonings and serve with warmed tortillas, shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, grated cheese, guacamole and sour cream (or yoghurt).
- 6 tsp Chilli Powder
- 5 tsp Paprika
- 4 ½ tsp Cumin
- 3 tsp Onion Powder
- 2 ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
In storage container with tight-fitting lid, combine all ingredients and mix well. Seal tightly. Store in cool, dry place for up to 6 months.
Seven teaspoons of mix equal a pkg of purchased taco seasoning mix. (This will vary depending on the heat rating of you chilli powder so I suggest starting out with less and adding more if needed)