Friday, June 29, 2012

Get Creative (and Healthy) for #TacoTuesday!


Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro Crema


"Taco Tuesday" is by far my favorite weekly cooking tradition and opportunity to get creative in the kitchen!  Like many people, my concept of tacos was limited to ground beef or shredded chicken with lettuce, cheese and salsa.  Discovering fish tacos, fairly recently I'm sad to say, damn near blew my mind. I've since experimented with everything from barbecue chicken to curried lobster and even calamari. After getting on board with the #TacoTuesday trend, I've realized the possibilities are endless. Tacos can be an extremely healthy meal if you choose the right ingredients, but you don't have to compromise on taste or creativity. Here's a few tips:

  • Choose lean cuts of meat. Skinless chicken breast or a lean cut of steak will be better choices than chicken thighs or ground beef, respectively.
  • Try grilling or searing fresh marinated seafood instead of frying battered fish.
  • Beans, sweet potatoes, tofu or veggies make great fillings for vegan/vegetarian tacos.
  • Instead of white flour tortillas, try whole-wheat, flax-seed or corn blends. Making your own tortillas is also a great way of avoiding preservatives found in store-bought tortillas.
  • Warm tortillas in an ungreased pan, or heat them on your grill or oven rack, instead of frying. 
  • Fresh salsa is easy to make at home, without all the extra sugar and preservatives. Experiment with interesting combinations of veggies, fruit and herbs that compliment your taco filling.
  • Cheese really isn't a necessary component to all taco recipes - but if you must, try crumbling fresh Mexican cheese, feta or even goat cheese as alternatives to processed cheeses.
  • Say no to sour cream! Try Greek yogurt instead, seasoned with fresh herbs, sea salt & lime juice. 
  • Instead of plain old Iceberg lettuce consider using spinach, dark romaine or even kale.
  • If you like to top your tacos with slaw, get some extra veggies in by adding shredded carrots, broccoli, zucchini or even fennel. Vinaigrette can be used instead of mayo, or use the above tip and substitute Greek yogurt.
If you haven't already, check out my previous posts for #TacoTuesday recipes, and take a look at some of my favorite creations below. I challenge you to say goodbye to your Old El Paso days and hello to fresh, innovative and exciting ways to put a spin on traditional tacos recipes!  

Smoked Paprika & Lemon Chicken Tacos w/ Herbed Goat Cheese
Grilled Salmon Tacos & Cucumber Avocado Salsa (recipe)
Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Tacos
Seared Marinated Tuna Tacos & Cilantro Slaw
Moroccan Chicken Tacos with Fennel & Carrot Slaw (recipe)
Lobster Curry Tacos with Coconut-Lime Arugula
Thai Flank Steak & Spicy Mango Tacos (recipe)
Grilled Chipotle Chicken with Roasted Corn & Poblano Salsa
Grilled Mango Shrimp Tacos with Cucumber-Jicama Slaw
Black Bean & Egg Breakfast Tacos with Cilantro Yogurt