TriathlEats: Quinoa-Walnut Tacos

San Diego chef Leslie Myers shares a flavorful vegan and gluten-free dish.

San Diego chef Leslie Myers shares a flavorful vegan and gluten-free dish.

Quinoa-Walnut Tacos with Late-summer Salsa

1.5 cups walnuts, soaked in water for 1–4 hours and drained
2 T cumin
2½ tsp chili powder
Pinch chili flakes (or 1 tsp chipotle powder)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 T lime juice
Sea salt (Celtic or Himalayan is best)
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
Kernels from 1 ear of corn, grilled for 10 minutes (or until there’s char on the ear)
1 small red onion, cut into 1/3-inch rings, grilled for 5 minutes and diced
1 cup heirloom tomatoes (diced) or cherry tomatoes (cut into halves)
½ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste


Place walnuts, 2 tsp cumin, chili powder, chili flakes, garlic, 1 T lime juice and sea salt in food processor. Pulse on and off for 10-second intervals until nut mixture resembles cooked taco “meat.” Fold in quinoa and set aside. To make the salsa, combine corn, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, remaining ½ tsp cumin, remaining 1 T lime juice, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Some options for wrapping up your taco: use gluten-free corn tortillas, brown rice tortillas, flour tortillas, Swiss chard leaves, collard leaves, green or red leaf lettuce leaves or Ezekiel wraps. Fill with taco “meat,” salsa, and your favorite taco accompaniments such as vegan cheese and sour cream, guacamole, avocado, cilantro, jicama and fresh lime juice. Makes 8–12 tacos, depending on size.

Meet the Triathlete-Chef

Chef Leslie Myers’ 30 years of experience in the culinary world has included owning restaurants and working as an instructor. But two years ago she went in a different direction and founded Foodsense, Now!, a company devoted to education and the promotion of whole-food eating through corporate wellness programs, cooking classes and her catering business. Although she’s a classically trained pastry chef, Myers found her passion lay more in healthy food. “I’ve learned that the food I put in my body directly affects my performance,” she says.

Myers has been racing triathlon (mainly long-course) for a decade, and her flexible schedule allows her to fit in training for Ironman. While she’s won her age group at a few Ironmans and has raced at Kona, Ironman Lake Placid still remains at the top of her list. “I like the prestige of Kona, but it’s not my favorite race, probably because biking is my weakest discipline and it’s really windy,” Myers says. “Left to my own devices, I’m more apt to throw my bike on the trainer and watch ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey.’”