Growing up, our family was always on the go. While we almost always made time to eat dinner together, meals were sometimes a bit rushed. A quick and tasty meal that was in our regular rotation was tacos. It was almost always the same: hard corn shells, ground beef seasoned with packaged taco spices, shredded lettuce, salsa or tomatoes, and always some shredded cheese for the top. Changing my diet a few months ago meant dropping meals like this, until now. I wanted to reinvent this meal for myself, as tacos were a favorite meal of mine growing up.
The first thing to go from the “traditional” recipe is the corn tortilla shell. Corn is not allowed in Primal / Paleo diets because it is a grain (not a vegetable) that spikes your blood sugar. (Mark Sisson writes a good article about corn on his website – check it out for a deeper read on the matter.) Also omitted from my childhood version of tacos is the cheese topping. Cheese is a rarity in our meals and is often a garnish. While you could put a bit of cheese on these tacos I decided that it could stand on its own without it. And finally, I opted to leave out the salsa since we didn’t have any non-processed stuff on hand. If you can find salsa with minimal ingredients, you could use it here.
To begin, I wanted to make my own seasoning. These days, I like seeing and knowing whats going into my meals, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make my own taco spices. I did a little research online and came to the final ingredient mix outlined below. It tastes great, and is relatively simple to make! To make the seasoning, just mix all the dry ingredients together until uniform. This makes 3-4 meals-worth of seasoning – do not use this all in one shot, unless you are making 3-4 lbs of ground meat. The rule of thumb is 1 tbsp per pound of meat.
- 2 T chili powder
- 1-1/2 T cumin
- 1-1/2 T paprika
- 1 T onion powder
- 1 T garlic powder
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- Cook ground turkey on medium until all pink is gone. Drain off most of the juices, and mix in 1 tbsp of the taco seasoning.
- Continue to mix seasoning in until uniformly distributed.
- Place 1/2 cup of ground turkey on a lettuce leaf, then put on the toppings of your choice. I typically do all the toppings shown at right (onion, avocado, tomato & black olives).
- Wrap the lettuce leaf around the meat and eat it!
For the taco meat, we went with lean ground turkey. As we’ve said before, you could go with lean ground beef in a dish like this too – its just our personal preference to do turkey. For toppings we went with avocados (a great source of healthy fat), sliced black olives, chopped red onion, and diced tomatoes. Let your taste buds be your guide here – if you can think of something else you’d like to have on top, go for it. Perhaps you could top your taco with some of the guacamole we posted last week! To wrap up the taco itself, we used large leaves of green leaf lettuce, though bibb lettuce would have been great too. This ended up being a great alternative version of the tacos I grew up with, and is sure to please just about anyone. Enjoy!