I’m an absolute and all-around fan of tacos. From soft to hard shell, traditional to creative, meat-filled to meatless, I’ve tried just about every type of taco there is. In my home, we have “taco night” once or twice a month during which time I lay out a variety of festive fillings to enhance the overall experience.
Since weight management and disease prevention are top priorities on my end, I take special care in preparing my taco blends for these occasional nights. This holds especially true when it comes to the taco seasonings I use, as those store-bought packets tend to be very high in sodium.
I also choose my toppings wisely in order to ensure that each has the highest nutritional value possible. While this might sound a bit boring, I guarantee you’ll love my healthy spin on taco night. So, if you’re open to trying something new, here’s my deliciously wholesome recipe for “Protein-Rich Tacos with a Homemade Seasoning Mix.”
What You Need
Taco Seasoning and Meat Preparation
- 1 pound of extra lean ground turkey, chicken, beef or bison
- 1 medium to large white onion, chopped
- 3/4 to 1 cup of water
- 4 teaspoons of hot chili powder
- 3 teaspoons of paprika
- 2 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1-2 pinches of cayenne pepper, or to taste (optional)
- 1-2 pinches of red pepper flakes, or to taste (optional)
Shells and Toppings
- 1 box of Ortega Whole Grain Taco Shells (10-count), warmed
- 1 avocado, chopped in chunks
- 1 cup of FAGE Greek yogurt, non-fat, plain
- 1-2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 3-4 cups of baby spinach
- 1 cup of mild cheddar cheese, shredded
- 3/4 to 1 cup of Pico de Gallo (no salt added) or no-salt-added salsa
How To Prepare
For the taco seasoning, simply mix the chili powder, paprika, onion powder, sea salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes in a bowl. This particular mix yields about 4 tablespoons of seasoning. Once you’ve prepared your taco seasoning, it’s time to add it to your meat filling.
If you’re generally adhering to a low-calorie diet, extra lean ground turkey or chicken (98-99% fat-free) are great alternatives to beef and equally as tasty. But, if you prefer beef tacos choose leaner cuts like top sirloin, ground chuck (95% lean) or even bison, as these are among the lowest in calories and unhealthy fats.
The meat preparation itself is incredibly simple.
Start by browning and draining your meat in a medium skillet. Next, stir in the seasoning mix with the water and then bring everything to a boil (Note: I recommend using about 3 tablespoons of seasoning mix and then storing the rest for later use). Reduce the heat to low and cook the mixture for 3-4 minutes with occasional stirring. After 4-5 minutes, add the onion and continue to cook the mixture until it has fully thickened.
For the final preparation, place your seasoned meat filling in the warmed taco shells and then top them off with evenly distributed portions of tomato, cheese, avocado, and Greek yogurt. Believe it or not, plain Greek yogurt tastes almost exactly like sour cream and it’s incredibly high in protein (over 20 grams per serving), calcium and probiotics.
Once your shells are all stuffed, top them with Pico de Gallo (or your favorite salsa) and you’re all done. Each taco houses about 250 calories with a whopping 20 grams of protein and 7-8 grams of fiber.
And there you have it: My Protein-Rich Tacos with a Homemade Seasoning Mix!
Now, personally, I love taco salad just as much as traditional tacos themselves. So much so that my taco night is almost always followed by a taco salad the next day.
To make a salad from the very same preparation I’ve detailed here, simply arrange your meat and all the toppings in their own sections on a serving plate or even in a to-go container for a quick and convenient meal. Include crushed taco shells or plain tortilla chips if you wish.
While tacos aren’t generally classified as “healthy”, when prepared the right way they can actually be included in a healthy-balanced diet. If you’re a fan of tacos but don’t want to ruin your diet, this recipe is an absolute must try.