I am not sure when or why the sprouts started talking about ‘Taco Tuesdays’ but it is no surprise that it has stuck around here, considering how much they all enjoy this meal. Ground beef is something I almost always have in the freezer so it’s a meal that doesn’t require a lot of thinking ahead. And while I used to rely on a packaged mix to season the meat, I’ve learned that it is really easy to create a delicious, tex-mex flavor with an onion, garlic, and a few spices. The kids love any meal where they have the option of combining the flavors (or keeping them separate!) to their liking.
I have made a vegetarian version too, when my sister-in-law and brother-in-law have joined us for supper. I use the same seasonings, and substitute cooked quinoa and black beans for the meat. While we are all carnivores in this house, this meatless version is really satisfying. This is also a great way to stretch the ground beef if you are serving a crowd, or have growing boys in the house that seem to inhale immeasurable amounts of calories each day. (We aren’t quite there yet, but I know it’s only a year or two away!)
While corn tortillas could be used to make tacos, our family usually eats this meal as a salad. Layers of veggies, meat and condiments are piled high on the plate, with the option of using GMO-free corn chips in place of utensils. (OK, maybe that is the reason the sprouts love this meal!) And while sour cream and cheese are classic condiments, I find that the richness of the meat and the creaminess of the avocado curb any cravings I might have for the dairy.
Whether healthy eating is standard in your house, or it is a goal you are working hard to achieve, this meal is a great way to eat a plate full of veggies, while not feeling like your taste buds are being deprived!
(Local, organic lettuce and spring onions from One Love Farm)
Taco Tuesdays on a Plate
(A Grow. Cook. Eat. Share. original recipe)
For the Taco Meat (or Meatless Version)
1 lb. ground beef (grass-fed if possible),
Or, 1 cup quinoa plus 1 14 oz (398 ml) can (or 1/2 cup dried) black beans
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic or 4 stalks spring garlic (white and light green part only), diced
1/2-1 jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
1 tablespoon ground cumin (adds an earthy, pungent flavor)
1 tablespoon ground coriander (adds a floral note)
1 tablespoon ground turmeric (adds a savory flavor, and creates a creamier texture)
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (regular paprika will work too, but it won’t have a smoky flavor)
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper (I find it’s about 20 twists on the pepper mill)
For the Taco Salad
1 head leaf, romaine, or bib lettuce
1 red, orange or yellow pepper (capsicum), diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, cubed
2 carrots, grated
1/4 head red cabbage, finely sliced
1 avocado, cubed
1/2 cup packed cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
Any other veggies you can think of 🙂
GMO-free corn tortillas or chips
Cheddar cheese, grated
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and beef and simmer. Break it apart with a wooden spoon until the meat has been thoroughly cooked, adding water as necessary.
2. If making the vegetarian version, rinse quinoa and add it to 1 can beans, onion, garlic and jalapeno in a dutch oven. Add 3 cups water, cover and bring to a boil before simmering for 10 minutes. Turn the heat to low.
3. To either the meat or the quinoa and bean mixture, add the cumin, coriander, turmeric, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Stir thoroughly to combine. Add several tablespoons water and continue to cook for several minutes, stirring regularly. Taste, and adjust the salt as necessary.
4. Wash and prepare all veggies, and grate cheese, if using.
5. Place each ingredient into a separate bowl (I know, its a lot of bowls!)
6. Warm the tortillas if using.
Serve (or rather, let everyone serve themselves) and enjoy!