Chipotle Quinoa Sweet Potato Tacos with Roasted Cranberry Salsa

This dinner idea combines some of my all-time favorite ingredients into one fabulous dish. Quinoa, sweet potatoes, and black beans come together with a few spices, some tomatoes, and spicy chipotles. It's a super healthy dish, just look at those ingredients! All this piled onto a warm corn tortilla and topped with a tart and sweet cranberry salsa and a creamy avocado makes a fantastic meat-free dinner option that I don't know who could dislike. 

This is a great option to make ahead and eat throughout the week for a quick dinner or lunch. It's the type of meal that only gets better with time (to a point of course!). You could also throw the taco filling on top of some brown rice or hearty greens, or throw it in a pita or flour tortilla for a different take on dinner if you don't like eating the exact same thing night after night. 

There are a few different steps in this recipe, and while none of them are at all difficult, they do take just a little bit of prep-work. Cooking the quinoa, prepping the sweet potato, cooking the black beans and making the salsa can all be done ahead though which would streamline the process later on. Also, go ahead an grab a can of black beans if you don't have the time or the inclination to cook up some dried beans.

Whatever you do, don't skip the salsa! It is the perfect tart complement to the spicy tacos, something different than the traditional tomato salsa. Take a few extra minutes and whip it together. The original recipe for the salsa called for pomegranate arils to be thrown in after the cranberries are done roasting. While I am sure this is delicious, and would have liked to try it, pomegranate season must be over. There was not one to be seen at the grocery store when I was shopping. All I could find was a tiny little jar of arils for something like $5 which just isn't worth it my book! So if you can find them for a reasonable price I'd say go for it, but even without the salsa is still perfectly delicious. 

 
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Chipotle Quinoa Sweet Potato Tacos
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest
Ingredients

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 a small onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 - 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 canned chipotle chilies, minced
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from the chipotle can)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1  - 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped
  • Corn tortillas, warmed
  • Diced avocado, for topping
  • Shredded sharp cheddar cheese, for topping

Directions
Heat the olive oil over a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions and a pinch of salt and let the onions cook for 5-10 minutes, until beginning to soften. Add the sweet potatoes and toss to coat. Add a little water to the skillet and let cook until the sweet potatoes are fork tender, but not mushy, stirring once or twice, about 15 minutes, adding more water if needed.

Once the sweet potatoes are fork tender, add the garlic and saute 30 seconds. Add the spices and let cook until fragrant, making sure they don't burn. Stir everything together well and then increase the heat to medium-high (adding more oil if needed) and add the quinoa. Let the quinoa cook and get crispy for about 5 minutes, trying not to stir too much.

Next, add 3/4 cup water, tomatoes, the chili powder, chipotle chilies, adobo sauce, smoked paprika, cumin, brown sugar and cayenne, stir to thoroughly combine and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the water has evaporated and the chili is at your desired consistency. If it starts to get too dry you can add more water.

Remove from the heat and stir in the black beans, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and the lime juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper if desired. Serve with tortillas, avocado, cheddar cheese and roasted cranberry salsa (recipe follows).

Roasted Cranberry Salsa
Adapted from Half Baked Harvest
Ingredients

  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 canned chipotle chili, chopped
  • 1 lime, zested + juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced 
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped, seeds removed if desired for less spicy salsa
  • Pomegranate arils (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the cranberries, brown sugar, chipotle chili, lime zest and juice, garlic, jalapeño and a pinch of salt and pepper in a large bowl. Use your hands or a large spoon to toss everything together until evenly mixed. Transfer to baking sheet. Place in the oven and roast until the cranberries burst and release their juices, 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and and let cool. Add in the pomegranate arils if using and taste and season with more salt and pepper if desired. Set aside and keep at room temperature. Can be made in advance, store in the refrigerator until needed. 

Spicy Quinoa and Hummus Patties with Roasted Red Pepper

Last week when I was thinking about what to make for dinner my mind kept drifting towards a burger. Unfortunately I didn't have any ground meat at home, and I didn't feel like going to the store. However, as I kept thinking I realized I had all the ingredients to make a nice meatless burger; I had cooked quinoa in the fridge, some leftover roasted red pepper, and homemade hummus. I decided to just go for it and make up my own recipe with what I had on hand. The results were fantastic! A soft and tender patty filled with veggies, and given a flavor boost with some fragrant spices. Healthy, hearty and delicious. Although a veggie patty will never be able to fully replace a true burger, this recipe holds it's own as a  delicious and healthy alternative dinner. 

I wasn't sure exactly what ratios I should use for my grain vs hummus vs quinoa, but in the end I really liked the results so I was very pleased. I don't eat tons of veggie burgers, so I don't know what most people are looking for in texture and flavor, but I do know I really loved these so I guess I don't care what other people like! These were soft yet not too delicate and held together as I ate my sandwich. I was worried they might just fall apart as I know veggie burgers sometimes can, but no problem with these. This is definitely a recipe that I will make again, adjusting the flavorings and add ins to fit whatever I have on hand. 

Spicy Quinoa and Hummus Patties with Roasted Red Pepper 

I

ngredients

  • 1/4 cup hummus (approximately 60 grams of my homemade hummus)
  • 40 grams (1/2 cup) oats
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 green onion
  • 1/4 of a roasted red pepper
  • Handful cilantro
  • 100 grams cooked quinoa
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

Place hummus, oats and garlic clove in the bowl of a food processor and process until well combined and has formed a thick paste. Add the green onion, red pepper, and cilantro and pulse a few times until combined but still somewhat chunky.

Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl and add the quinoa, salt, cumin, cayenne and olive oil. Mix to combine.

Shape mixture into 2-4 patties, depending on your preference. Place in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up a bit.

Preheat grill or grill pan until nice and hot. When ready, transfer patties to grill and cook until nice and hot all the way through, flipping halfway through.

Serve on a bun with your favorite toppings, or top off a salad with this hearty patty in place of your chicken or steak.