Who are my Taco Tuesday readers?? I will admit, tacos are not a weekly item for us, but I know many families love their Taco Tuesdays. This Healthy Taco Meat Recipe should become a regular addition to your Taco Tuesday (or any other day you make tacos), because it’s healthier than typical taco meat and doesn’t take a lot of extra effort to make. Sound good?
Early in our marriage, my husband commented that I made “tortilla stuff” a lot. By “a lot”, I think he meant about once a week, and it was probably enchiladas, tacos, or quesadillas, if I remember correctly. It was definitely before the kids arrived, when there was more time to think and analyze these types of things, because I’m pretty sure he would hardly even notice if I made a “tortilla meal” every day for a week (or maybe even month!) now. Ha! How times have changed.
Anyway, I realized I’ve never shared my quick and easy healthy taco meat recipe, and I think it’s about time! If you find yourself browning some plain ground beef or turkey and throwing in a packet of taco seasoning mix, this recipe is for you. It’s nothing crazy or hard, but has a few easy additions that boost the nutrition by quite a lot.
As you can maybe guess, since I seem to add veggies to EVERYTHING, a couple of the additions are vegetables, and while my kids won’t knowingly eat onions and peppers, they eat them here because they aren’t so obvious. It’s not that I’m trying to deceive them into eat these veggies, because they are still very visible. It just helps to mask them a bit in this Healthy Taco Meat Recipe.
I also add canned black beans to boost the fiber. My kids don’t even notice them (well, okay, maybe they notice them, but they sure don’t complain or say anything about them), and I know it’s much less likely for them to add seasoned black beans to their tacos if I were to cook the beans separately. So, it’s a win-win. I’m not hiding the beans, but rather putting them with a more familiar food (in this case, meat) so they are more likely to eat them.
Compared to typical taco meat (which has no beans and very few, if any, added veggies), the health benefits of this Healthy Taco Meat Recipe are simple:
- There’s more fiber – the black beans are to thank for this, but the added onion and red pepper add some fiber too.
- You’ll cover 20% of your daily Vitamin C needs by eating a serving of this taco meat. What?!? Yes, thanks to the red sweet pepper and strained tomatoes, you get a good dose of Vitamin C.
- “More is Less” – yes, you read that correctly…by adding low calorie, low saturated fat ingredients like the veggies and black beans, you get fewer calories and less saturated fat per serving compared to a similar size serving of more typical taco meat. That’s heart healthy!
So, no matter what your favorite taco toppings are (I’m an avocado, lettuce, salsa, and plain yogurt girl), keep this Healthy Taco Meat Recipe handy for your next taco meal.
Healthy Taco Meat Recipe How-To Photos:
Cook ground beef (ground turkey or pork work well too!), onion and red sweet pepper in a skillet; drain off fat.
This is the brand of tomato products I love.
Add the strained tomatoes (or tomato sauce if you can’t find the strained tomato product), black beans, garlic, spices, and water. Simmer to blend the flavors.
That’s all there is to it.
Use the meat mixture for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas or any other favorite Mexican dish you like!
Get all your toppings ready and let everyone build their own taco!
I often use plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream because I find the yogurt to be more versatile. Not only does it taste very similar to sour cream for savory Mexican dishes, I can also use it in smoothies, or mixed with a little honey and topped with fruit.
My Favorite Flour Tortilla
While I don’t always eat my taco fillings in a tortilla (I try to make lettuce wraps instead!), I am in love with these tortillas. They have just 5 ingredients (one of which is water – and the rest are whole food ingredients you will recognize), which is much different than most tortillas that have a very long ingredient list with words I don’t understand. I know these are not whole grain, but I sacrifice that to get the whole food ingredient list. Also, they are “uncooked”, which means they need to be warmed/browned on a griddle or in a dry skillet. This is super easy to do, and makes them taste so delicious and fresh! (p.s. you will find them by the other tortillas, in the REFRIGERATED area of your grocery story)
Here’s what the tortilla looks like going onto the griddle. Cook until the bottom is browned.
Flip it over and cook until the second side is browned (don’t over cook or they will turn out crisp and not pliable for folding/rolling). The tortillas puff up and big air bubbles will form – simply prick them with a sharp knife to deflate.
Here’s a finished tortilla ready to fill.
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium red sweet pepper, chopped
- 1 15-ounce can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup no-salt-added strained tomatoes (such as Pomi® brand)or no-salt-added tomato sauce
- ½ cup water
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a large skillet cook ground beef, onion, and sweet pepper until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender, using a potato masher or wooden spoon to break up meat and stir mixture as it cooks. Drain off fat.
- Add beans, strained tomatoes, water, garlic, chili powder, salt, oregano, cumin, and cayenne pepper (if using) to meat mixture in skillet. Cook and stir until just boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes to blend flavors, stirring occasionally. Use for tacos, enchiladas, burritos, etc.
- 10 servings (about 2/3 cup per serving)
- 209 cals, 21 g pro, 12 g carb, 8 g fat, 58 mg cholesterol, 3 g sat fat, 4 g fiber, 353 mg sodium