Thug Kitchen 101: Quinoa Taco Mix and Tex-Mex Queso–Awesome Combo! Oh, and Black-Bean-Quinoa Burgers too!

So the new Thug cookbook (Thug 101) dropped a few days ago and arrived on my doorstep a few days later (I love the Thug cookbooks, so I pre-ordered that sucker back in September!). The premise of this one is food that came be prepared in under thirty minutes, but, to be honest, very few of their recipes in the other two Thug books take longer than that. In any event, I spent a good part of Saturday poring over the recipes and made two rather delicious ones for Saturday evening dinner. The first was the Quinoa Taco Mix and the second was the Tex-Mex Queso–both were so delicious in tacos (James had his in a tortilla) that I used them the next evening to make a tortilla pie.

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We both thought the taco mix could do with more heat, however, so I added a tablespoon of chili peppers, a healthy dose of Frank’s hot sauce, and another jalepeno pepper. Though the recipe recommends de-seeding the jalepeno, I left in the seeds for both to add more heat.

So after the success of the tacos, the next evening, I used the two recipes to make a tortilla pie, that was DELICIOUS (basically, the two recipes layered with tortillas in between and topped with the queso mix, sliced black olives, and sliced jalapeno peppers, which I then baked in a spring form pan at 350 for thirty minutes):


I also noticed that the texture of the quinoa-and-bean mixture had the feel of ground beef, so on Monday evening, I decided to try a veggie burger recipe based on the taco mix (though I made several adjustments).

Black-Bean Quinoa Burgers

Step One:

To make your flax eggs, mix and refrigerate for fifteen minutes:

  • 2 TBS ground flaxseed
  • 6 TBS cold water

Step Two:

Saute in a pan sprayed with oil:

  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalepenos, chopped

After the onions have softened, add the spices, so they can toast for a bit:

  • 1 TBS chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Step Three:

Mix together in a large bowl:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 and 1/2 cups cooked black beans (pulsed a few times in a food processor)
  • 1/2 cup panko crumbs
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • the ingredients from step one and step two


Mix together and form into patties, fry on a grill sprayed with vegetable oil, and serve up on a focaccia bun! The patties take about three or four minutes per side to cook to perfect crispiness!



Okay, so I made four patties, but I had a ton of this mixture left, so the next evening, I made the leftovers into twelve big faux meatballs, rolled them in panko crumbs (makes them very crispy), baked them at 400 for twenty minutes, and served them with an amazingly fresh marinara on brown rice pasta. The recipe for the marinara sauce can be found here: Marinara Sauce. The only thing I changed was that I just sprayed the pan with oil, rather than adding 6 tablespoons (600 hundred calories!!!).

We STILL had six huge faux meatballs the next day, so we had the pasta for lunch as well. This quinoa/black bean mixture is the bomb-diggity–very versatile and a little goes a looooong way!


8 thoughts on “Thug Kitchen 101: Quinoa Taco Mix and Tex-Mex Queso–Awesome Combo! Oh, and Black-Bean-Quinoa Burgers too!

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