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20 Taco Recipes That’ll Turn Your Kitchen Into a Fiesta

If you love Mexican food but hate struggling with all the high-calorie and high-sodium dishes, these 20 taco recipes are for you!

When most of us think of Mexican food, we think of the American version of it: mountains of refried beans, sour cream, cheese and guacamole.

But the real flavors of Mexico are varied and fresh, and they’re showcased for your culinary enjoyment in the following 20 taco recipes.

From blackened fish tacos with chipotle cream to curried chicken tacos with avocado crema, there are plenty of new takes on tacos here that’ll make your taste buds sing.

Salud!  

Santa Monica Street Tacos

Serves 3

Nothing can satisfy a craving for tacos like carne asada, the famous Mexican skirt steak. Even if you don’t know the name, you know the meat.

Carne aside is usually cut into small pieces or strips of juicy steak. The recipe includes recommending toppings, including cilantro-lime dressing to use instead of salsa, but these steak tacos are tasty enough to eat plain. If you do make the vinaigrette, though, you’ll have plenty left over for salads.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

541

Calories

45 g

Protein

34 g

Carbs

25 g

Fat

Ingredients

Steak Tacos:

6 small corn tortillas

1 lb. skirt steak, trimmed and sliced into thin strips

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

1 tsp. oil

1 cup diced onion

1/2 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:

3/4 cup fresh cilantro

Juice of 2 limes

1/3 cup oil

4 tsp. minced ginger

1/4 cup white vinegar

4 tsp. sugar

1/4 cup low-fat milk

1/2 cup low-fat sour cream

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Taco French Bread Pizza

Serves 6

Not in the mood to prepare the dough for homemade pizza? Take it easy, and make a taco pizza with a loaf of bread instead.

All you have to do is split it in half and load it up with toppings. Start with a spread of refried beans as the sauce, and then add whatever strikes your fancy. For example, swap out the cheddar cheese with Oaxaca cheese, or use jalapeno slices instead of black olives. And if you have chorizo sausage, it’ll add heat if used in place of the ground beef.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

619

Calories

46 g

Protein

59 g

Carbs

22 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 loaf French bread

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 packet taco seasoning

1 can (16 oz.) refried beans

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese

1 small tomato, diced

1 small can (4.25 oz.) sliced black olives

4 green onions, thinly sliced

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Chipotle Shrimp Tacos

Serves 4

When you’re craving seafood, it doesn’t take much effort to whip up shrimp tacos.

These have a homemade broccoli slaw, but you can use other toppings as well. Since the suggested sauce is a mix of Korean chili sauce (gochujang paste) and mayonnaise, you can run with that inspiration, making Korean tacos with ingredients like kimchi, green onions, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

466

Calories

30 g

Protein

39 g

Carbs

23 g

Fat

Ingredients

Shrimp Tacos:

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 lb. medium shrimp, cleaned

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1/2 tsp. curry powder

1/4 tsp. chipotle powder

8 small flour tortillas

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup diced green onions

Slaw:

4 cups broccoli slaw

3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Sauce:

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 tsp. gochujang paste (red chili paste)

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Fresh Fruit Pancake Tacos

Serves 1

This isn’t just a fun way to eat pancakes. Since these are thinner like tortillas, the pancake batter only uses a little bit of flour.

And, you can use almond flour or whatever kind is available in your pantry. Mix with eggs, a banana, and baking powder, and then make them on the griddle just like any other pancakes. After they cool for a couple minutes, fill with fruit of choice, and devour.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

404

Calories

17 g

Protein

49 g

Carbs

17 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 large eggs

1 large banana

2 Tbsp. finely ground almond meal (or other flour)

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup mixed berries

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Mini Taco Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serves 8 / Makes 32

Those tiny bell peppers always look enticing at the store, but what’s the point of getting them in miniature form? To make mini stuffed peppers, of course!

These end up with an awesome meat-to-pepper ratio, and like tacos, they’re finger food. No knife and fork required. The macros for the original recipe have slightly higher fat, which can be reduced by using lean ground beef and low-fat sour cream.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

195

Calories

22 g

Protein

8 g

Carbs

8 g

Fat

Ingredients

Taco Stuffed Peppers:

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 package (3 Tbsp.) taco seasoning

3/4 cup water

1 1/2 lb. mini bell peppers

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar

Cilantro Cream Sauce:

1/2 cup low-fat sour cream

1/2 cup fresh cilantro

1/2 tsp. minced garlic

Juice of 1 lime

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Shredded Lamb Taco Filling

Serves 8

One of the easiest ways to prepare meat is to cook and shred it. And once you do that, it’s ready to season to your taste and serve in any dish that satisfies your cravings – even if they involve global fusion.

Tacos are Mexican, but the concept can be made to plate up any kind of cuisine. This recipe includes serving suggestions that are inspired by Middle Eastern flavors, including harissa yogurt, orange salsa, and pomegranate seeds to serve.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

494

Calories

65 g

Protein

5 g

Carbs

23 g

Fat

Ingredients

4 lb. boneless lamb shoulder

4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. sweet paprika

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried)

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

1 dried chipotle pepper

2 medium onions, sliced into thin wedges

1/2 cup water

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Navajo Tacos

Serves 8

Fried bread tacos are awesome when you want to go all out for a meal. This recipe is for the fried bread itself, made with shortening to ensure they’re light and crisp.

From there, you can create Navajo tacos with anything you like, from fruit and veggies to meat and cheese. They’re usually served open-face like tostadas, but you could fold them to eat if you prefer. Either way, make sure to prepare a couple extra fry breads for dessert. They’re great with just a drizzle of honey.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

170

Calories

3 g

Protein

24 g

Carbs

7 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 cups self-rising flour

1 cup water

Shortening for frying

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Blackened Fish Tacos with Chipotle Cream

Serves 4

Fish tacos don’t have to be fried to taste amazing. Tilapia is seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices – plus a touch of brown sugar – and then quickly pan-fried. Be sure to preheat the pan well and keep it at a high heat so that the outside sears.

The fish is so flavorful, it hardly needs anything but tortillas and your favorite salsa to feel like a complete meal. But if you want to go all out, make the accompanying chipotle cream, and serve with a dollop of guacamole.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

420

Calories

36 g

Protein

24 g

Carbs

22 g

Fat

Ingredients

Tilapia Tacos:

4 tilapia fillets (6 oz. each)

2 tsp. ground paprika

2 tsp. onion powder

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper

1 tsp. dried oregano

3/4 tsp. ground cumin

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

4 medium whole-wheat tortillas

Chipotle Cream:

1 cup low-fat sour cream

2 chipotle peppers

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

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Red Lentil Taco Soup

Serves 6

Technically tacos are served in a tortilla, of course, but the flavor can be infused into other meals like this lentil soup.

The seasoning of ground cumin, ancho chili, and lime juice hit all the right notes. And corn tortillas are baked to a crisp, like croutons, to top this vegetarian Mexican soup. But it’s not to be confused with tortilla soup, in which wheat tortillas cook down to help thicken the liquid.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

610

Calories

35 g

Protein

83 g

Carbs

15 g

Fat

Ingredients

Taco Soup:

2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 red onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

6 cups vegetable broth

1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes

2 cups dried red lentils

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ancho chili powder

2 Tbsp. lime juice

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Tortilla Strips:

6 soft corn tortillas

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

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Curried Chicken Tacos with Avocado Crema

Curried Chicken Tacos with Avocado Crema

Make a batch of slow cooker taco filling ahead of time, and you’ll be eating for days. You can even freeze the slow-cooked chicken to have during a busy week.

Whether you leave the chicken to cook all day, or have it prepared in the fridge or freezer, all you have to do before dinnertime is make the avocado crema – or pick up guacamole from the grocery store.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

301

Calories

35 g

Protein

8 g

Carbs

14 g

Fat

Ingredients

Curried Chicken:

2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes

1 Tbsp. ground coriander

2 tsp. ground cumin

2 tsp. fresh ginger, minced

1 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground cardamom

1/2 medium yellow onion, diced

3 chiles de arbol, roughly chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 star anise

1/2 cup chicken stock

Avocado Crema:

1 large avocado

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

5 Tbsp. low-fat yogurt

1 1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. onion powder (or more to taste)

1 1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. salt

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7-Layer Chicken Taco Salad

Serves 10 / Makes 16 cups

Instead of seven-layer dip, upgrade the concept into a delicious chicken salad. It doesn’t just look good on the table; guests will have fun digging through the various ingredients to get a little bit of everything.

The yogurt salsa dressing and chicken are mixed together to make one layer, which makes it easy to ensure there’s some dressing in every bite. Just be sure to assemble everything right before eating because it’s best fresh.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

333

Calories

25 g

Protein

45 g

Carbs

7 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (about 2 medium tomatoes)

1 jar (16 oz.) chunky salsa, divided

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

2 cups boneless skinless chicken breast, cooked and diced

1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1 1/2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. garlic powder

8 cups chopped Romaine lettuce

1 cup (4 oz.) reduced-fat cheddar cheese, cubed

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups corn kernels

1 cup lightly crushed tortilla chips

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Black Bean & Veggie Tostada

Serves 4

Sometimes you want the flavor of a whole-wheat tortilla but want something crispy. If you toast the tortillas to make a tostada, all your taco wishes can come true.

Tostadas usually have a base layer of beans, and then the toppings are piled on from there. To make a tasty vegetarian taco, this recipe uses tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado. But you could throw some shredded meat on there too.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

294

Calories

10 g

Protein

42 g

Carbs

10 g

Fat

Ingredients

4 medium whole-wheat tortillas

3 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth

2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh cilantro

4 cups finely shredded lettuce

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1/2 medium avocado, sliced

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Bacon & Eggs Breakfast Tacos

Serves 4

Why cheat on the beloved breakfast burritos for these tacos? While they may not be as portable, they’re more customizable.

So you can make one with potato hash and avocado slices, and then have another with bacon and eggs. Then again, if you portion out your ingredients just right, you can fit it all in one tortilla for an out-of-this-world breakfast taco.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

549

Calories

24 g

Protein

36 g

Carbs

34 g

Fat

Ingredients

4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped

8 oz. small red potatoes, diced

Oil, for frying tortillas

8 corn tortillas

6 large eggs

1 Tbsp. butter

1 large avocado, pitted and sliced

2 oz. cotija cheese (or feta), crumbled

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Turkey Taco Casserole

Serves 6

Whereas you can’t fool anyone by trading out turkey for red meat in a typical taco, it works really well in a taco casserole.

It’s loaded with crispy tortillas, enchilada sauce, and cheese. If you can multi-task in the kitchen to prep the enchilada sauce from scratch while the ground turkey is in the skillet – or just make it ahead of time – this is a 30-minute meal.

And since everything in this taco bake simmers together in the oven, the meat is infused with Mexican flavor.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

518

Calories

38 g

Protein

67 g

Carbs

13 g

Fat

Ingredients

Enchilada Sauce:

1 can (15 oz.) no-salt-added tomato sauce

1/3 cup water

1/2 tsp. chili powder

3 tsp. ground cumin

3 tsp. onion powder

2 tsp. white vinegar

2 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. ground cayenne

1 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)

Taco Casserole:

1 lb. lean ground turkey

1 can (15 oz.) corn kernels

1 can (15 oz.) red beans, blended in food processor

1 1/2 cups unsalted corn tortilla chips

1 1/2 cups enchilada sauce

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese blend

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Homemade Taco Sauce

Serves 16 / Makes 2 cups

Bottled taco sauces are often sweetened for no reason. Luckily it’s easy to make your own at home – and that includes the taco seasoning, which can be used to add Mexican flavor to everything from baked chicken to scrambled eggs.

Making a seasoning mix from scratch can seem daunting if you don’t have a well-stocked spice rack. But it’s easy and cheap if you can find a natural grocery store in your area that has a bulk spice section.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

9

Calories

1 g

Protein

2 g

Carbs

1 g

Fat

Ingredients

Taco Sauce:

2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce

1 cup chicken bone broth

3 Tbsp. homemade taco seasoning

1/2 Tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup water

Taco Seasoning:

1/4 cup chili powder

4 tsp. ground cumin

2 1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

Calories: 9

Protein: 1 gram

Carbs: 2 grams

Fat: < 1 gram

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Healthy Taco Pie

Serves 4

To get the ultimate taco tips, visit the Holy Taco Church. This blog by bestselling author Kevin Hearne has what you need to make the best homemade tacos, including a guide to roasting chiles, a recipe for tequila slaw, and – for when you’re taking a taco bread – the secret to making 30-minute chicken enchiladas.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

512

Calories

57 g

Protein

18 g

Carbs

23 g

Fat

Ingredients

4 corn tortillas

1 lb. lean ground beef

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/2 tsp. cumin

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded cheddar

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Monterey jack

3 large eggs

1 cup low-fat milk

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Creamy Taco Dip

Serves 6

Made too much taco meat? With just a few more ingredients, you can turn leftover ground beef into a creamy dip.

This would be incredible with the ground beef & kale taco filling, or you can start by mixing a pound of lean ground beef with taco seasoning and then browning it in a hot pan. To make the Mexican dip, mix the meat with cream cheese, salsa, and shredded cheese. Bake until it’s bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips, or if you can hunt down a bag, try quinoa chips instead.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

248

Calories

27 g

Protein

2 g

Carbs

15 g

Fat

Ingredients

2 cups cooked taco meat

1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese

1/2 cup salsa

1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese

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Chipotle Beef & Wild Mushroom Tacos

Serves 3

With wild mushrooms, jalapeno, and onion mixed into the taco filling, it’s hard to believe these are made with ground beef.

Traditional beef tacos would use steak to make carne asada instead, but this is a faster way to get dinner on the table. Since the original recipe is for Paleo tacos, it uses homemade coconut tortillas. But if that’s not your style, feel free to serve these with soft wheat tortillas instead.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

524

Calories

53 g

Protein

33 g

Carbs

19 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup diced yellow onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

2 Tbsp. ground cumin

1/2 Tbsp. ground coriander

1 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne (or to taste)

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cups wild mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 Tbsp. dried Mexican oregano

1/2 cup bone broth (or water)

6 small whole-wheat tortillas (or coconut tortillas)

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Ground Beef & Kale Taco Filling

Serves 6

When you think of ground beef tacos, the first thing that comes to mind might be fast food. Tacos can be healthy, but beef topped with processed cheese, shredded lettuce, and sour cream will not cut it.

These homemade tacos are far from fast food with black beans and kale. You’ll get a taco filling that is good enough to be savored whether you choose to wrap it in traditional tortillas or a big leaf of lettuce.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

247

Calories

25 g

Protein

17 g

Carbs

8 g

Fat

Ingredients

1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef

1/2 medium onion, diced

3 cups chopped kale

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained

1 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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Tacos al Pastor

Serves 6

These pineapple and pork tacos are now known as Mexican street food, but the history actually traces back to the Middle East.

Instead of roasting lamb on a spit, Lebanese-Mexicans began to prepare chili-marinated pork in the same style. And this authentic Mexican fusion food is relatively new, only being created in the mid-1900s.

Despite its original inspiration, tacos al pastor is now made more often in a skillet, which is lucky for you since you can quickly cook them at home.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

387

Calories

48 g

Protein

31 g

Carbs

7 g

Fat

Ingredients

2.2 lb. boneless pork, trimmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces

3 dried chile guajillos

2 dried chiles anchos

2 dried chiles de arbol (optional)

1 medium tomato

1 tsp. whole cumin seed

3 cloves garlic

1 small white onion, halved

Pinch of black pepper

1 tsp. sea salt

1 cup fresh pineapple, finely chopped

12 corn tortillas

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