Quinoa Avocado Tacos











I’ve written here before about how different Ray and I are, from our approaches to life to the foods we like to our senses of humor. We’ve always maintained, however, that these differences are what makes our life together so great. This summer we will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary, which, in scheme of things, isn’t very long, but I still think 5 years is significant. Even more meaningful to me right now is the way that we worked together over the past year to take care of our baby, maintain our household and support each other. This was certainly not the easiest year of our relationship, but we worked together, made necessary changes and not only survived but possibly even thrived.

Next week we are headed out on a big road trip which will be a chance to relive all of the challenges and thrills of this first year of Amos’ life over the span of 10 days, five states, and camping with a not-quite-toddler. I’m a little nervous about how the trip will go, but I know we will enjoy the opportunity to see so many new places and we will make the best of whatever comes our way.

The strength that comes from our differences is also one of the things I love most about food. I am in awe of the possible combinations and the way that disparate flavors so often compliment each other perfectly. Ray had these avocado and quinoa tacos when he went to Las Vegas for work in April. He came home eager to recreate the meal which was a huge treat for me. My taste buds were thrilled by the way that the creamy avocado, nutty quinoa, spicy creme fraiche, salty cheese and tangy pickled onions (and sweet corn, too) made for perfect bites that I really could not get enough of.

These tacos are ideal for summer. I’m dreaming of eating them alongside grilled sweet corn when it is in season.  There are several elements to the tacos, but each one contributes something that I think is essential. Fortunately the ingredients don’t require a lot of prep and each bite is a little celebration of the amazing way that differences can come together.

avocado taco

Avocado and Quinoa Tacos
Inspired by the Avocado Tacos at the Border Grill Las Vegas
This recipe can be very quick and simple or you can make it a little more complicated by making your own creme fraiche or a more complex corn relish. Almost everything can be done a day ahead of time (just cup up and prep the avocados at the last minute) or prepared shortly before you are ready to assemble the tacos. All of the ingredients in these tacos can be used with other taco fillings or as accompaniments to beans and rice or anything else you wish.

Quinoa Avocados
1/2 cup quinoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ripe avocados
1 tablespoon lime juice
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Pour in the quinoa and add the salt. Turn down to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain the excess water from the quinoa and set aside to cool. When you are ready to make the tacos, cut the avocados into 1/2 inch cubes. Toss with the lime juice and roll in the quinoa so that each piece of avocado is covered with quinoa.

Pickled Onions
1 medium red onion
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 cup water 
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Cut the onion in to thin slices and place in a bowl. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar and salt and pour over the sliced onions. Let stand for 20 minutes or until you are ready to make the tacos. The onions will keep in the fridge for several weeks.

Corn Relish
1 cup sweet corn, off the cob (fresh or frozen)
1/3 cup of your favorite mild salsa (I used this) 
Steam to corn for 3-5 minutes until it is cooked. Stir in the salsa. Let cool before using.

Chipotle Creme Fraiche
1 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon lime juice 
1/4 teaspoon salt
Stir all ingredients together, adjust flavors to your taste.

You will also need:
8 corn tortillas
Queso fresco, crumbled
Cilantro, optional

To assemble the tacos:
Warm up a tortilla in the oven or toaster oven. Each taco gets about 1/4 cup of the quinoa avocados, 2 tablespoons of corn relish, 1 tablespoon of pickled onions, 1 tablespoon chipotle creme fraiche, 1 tablespoon queso fresco, and a sprinkle of cilantro. The tacos are best with all of the ingredients in them but you can adjust the amounts to your liking, just don’t fill them too full or they will be hard to eat.

Makes about 8 tacos, serves 2-3 people