Tacos and taco salads are a go-to meal in our house. We love them for a variety of reasons. You can make them as healthy as you want by using lean meat, mixing in or topping with lots of vegetables, and replacing sour cream for greek yogurt. Or rather you can eat them as a nice treat meal by smothering them with lots of gooey cheese, sour cream, and/or other toppings of your choice. I think they’re one of the most versatile dishes out there!
Tacos can also be extremely filling depending on what you put on them. I love whipping up large batches of taco meat and then freezing it so that I can use in the future for a quick, easy meal on nights when meal prep time is cut short.
Before I started reading labels and really paying attention to what I was eating, I honestly didn’t even realize or think to make tacos without a pre-made store bought taco seasoning packet. I’ll never forget the first time I read the ingredients list on the back of the package. I was literally shocked to see what was in there. It was filled with corn flour, sugar, carmel coloring, “natural flavoring” (whatever that means), modified cornstarch, etc. It didn’t mention any of the spices I assumed one would use to make tacos! Therefore, I set the package aside and decided to do some experimenting on my own.
My first batch of homemade tacos came out surprisingly well. I was surprisingly impressed. Honestly, I just began pouring a bunch of spices such as chili powder, cumin, garlic, onion powder, paprika, sea salt, and cayenne pepper into the pan with my ground turkey, stirred it all up, added some water, and continued to let the meat simmer for a little while. The flavors tasted just as good, if not better, than the packaged junk I had been using for years.
Recently, after many requests for homemade taco seasoning, I decided to actually measure out the ingredients in order to share my recipe with you guys. Remember, that when it comes to spices and new cooks, it’s best to try out the exact recipe first and then modify the recipe after that to fit your personal taste and preference.
A nice way to add some nutrients to your taco salad is to combine iceberg lettuce with a darker leafy green such as spinach or romaine for the base. You still get that crisp crunch from the iceberg while adding in some extra nutritional value from the darker greens.
Another healthy swap for your tacos or taco salads to up your veggie intake is to use cauliflower rice, instead of actual rice. It’s a great filler that provides a strong nutritional value without adding in extra carbs. If you’re not a huge fan of plain cauliflower, eating it as a rice substitute in a taco salad is a perfect option because it takes on the flavor of the tacos.
Another nice perk is that making your own taco seasoning saves you money in the long run! Especially if you already have the spices on hand. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- sea salt, to taste (I prefer my food salty so I use a lot of salt - average person would use about 1/4 teaspoon)
- 1 lb ground turkey (other ground meat works as well)
- 1 cup water
- Mix together the taco seasoning ingredients in a small bowl.
- Brown the ground turkey in a pan. Once browned, pour taco seasoning mix over the meat and stir until evenly distributed. Add water to the pan and continue to stir. Reduce heat and let meat simmer in the seasoning for about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and serve over salad.
- *While the meat is simmering in the taco sauce, begin to chop up veggies for the salad.
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