Who doesn’t love a good taco? This crave-worthy dish is so widely regarded that we look for every excuse to enjoy it—from National Taco Day on October 4th to weekly indulgences every Taco Tuesday.
Whether you like your tacos soft-shelled or crunchy, vegan or traditional, there are plenty of ways to step up your taco game. Here are 5 scary good taco hacks to take your taco night to the next level.
#1 Make Your Own Taco Seasoning
Sure, that store-bought packet of taco seasoning may get the job done, but you can do it better. Plus, fresh is always best because if you make it yourself, you get to skip fillers and preservatives, and you can control the amount of sodium in the mix.
Traditional taco seasoning uses spices you probably already have on hand, and you can change up the flavors any way you’d like! Here are two recipes to try.
Easy Homemade Taco Seasoning1
- 2 teaspoons organic chili powder
- 1 teaspoon organic paprika
- 1 teaspoon organic cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon organic garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon organic onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Cuban Taco Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon organic allspice
- 1 teaspoon organic cumin
- 1 teaspoon organic thyme leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Just mix the spices together in a small container, and you’re good to go! Season your preferred taco filling to taste. Traditional taco seasoning works great on beef, chicken, tofu, pork and more. Cuban seasoning is especially great for pork tacos.
Pro Tip: Double your recipe and save the extra in an airtight container for next time.
#2 Freshen Up Your Toppings
Tired of the usual taco toppings? Mix it up! Skip traditional add-ons like salsa, cheese, and plain, shredded lettuce and add more color, flavor and nutrition with a fresh take.
Try thinly-sliced radishes, roasted zucchini, mushrooms, romaine slaw, chard & feta, pickled red onions, lime wedges, salsa verde, even kale! Thinly sliced kale makes a great topping for beef tacos or black bean tacos.
Better yet, set up a taco bar with plenty of variety so your family or dinner guests can choose their own taco adventure.
Here’s a delicious recipe for romaine slaw using healthy apple cider vinegar.
Romaine Slaw with Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/4 cup certified organic extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 cup certified organic apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of agave nectar or organic raw wildflower honey
- 2 small radishes, thinly-sliced or slivered
- 1 large carrot, shredded
- 1/4 cup small red cabbage, shredded
- 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
- 1-2 romaine hearts, thinly sliced
- Salt to taste
Whisk together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and salt in a large bowl. Add the red cabbage, carrot, romaine, and pumpkin seeds then toss to combine.
Find more great ways to use apple cider vinegar both in and outside of the kitchen in 30 Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar.
#3 Try Greek Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream
Plain, whole-milk Greek yogurt is very close in flavor and texture to sour cream, and it contains about half the calories of sour cream and 3 1/2 times more protein.2 You can also get creative and whip up some chipotle yogurt sauce for a delicious alternative that is big on flavor but light on calories.
Chipotle Yogurt Sauce
- 5 ounces of plain Greek Yogurt
- 1/2-1 teaspoon of organic chipotle powder
- 1/4 teaspoon organic cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon organic chili powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Add the yogurt to a bowl and stir in the seasonings. You can use more or less to taste, and you can even add your own flourishes like a few drops of hot sauce if you want to spice it up a notch. Garnish with cilantro if desired.
#4 Try Cauliflower Taco Shells
Yes, you read that right! Whether you are looking for a new gluten-free taco shell option, eating paleo, or just watching your carbs, cauliflower is surprisingly versatile and makes a great taco shell alternative. Definitely try this one at home.
Cauliflower Taco Shells3
- 10 ounces cauliflower, grated
- 2 tablespoons organic coconut flour
- 2 tablespoons finely ground tapioca flour
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan crystal salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked organic black pepper
1. Use a box grater or food processor to grate the cauliflower.
2. Place grated cauliflower in a microwave-safe bowl and cover loosely. Microwave for 4 minutes on high. Let it cool for a few minutes until it isn’t too hot to handle and then squeeze to remove as much moisture as possible.
3. Toss cauliflower in a large bowl along with the other ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until well combined.
4. Melt a dollop of olive oil or coconut oil in a skillet about the same size that you want your shells to be. Pour in 1/2 cup of the mixture and spread to the edges with a spatula.
5. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the top is no longer liquid and the bottom is a golden brown, then flip and cook on the other side for a minute before transferring to a plate.
#5 Or Skip the Shell Altogether
The seasonings and endless topping options for tacos pack in tons of versatile flavor, so why limit yourself to shells? All you need for this hack are your favorite ingredients and your imagination.
Pile taco toppings sky high on a baked potato, stuff them into bell pepper halves then top with cheese and bake to melty perfection, or make an irresistible taco salad with all the same taco ingredients and flavors you love. This is also a great way to handle leftovers from taco night!
What Are Your Favorite Taco Hacks?
We love hearing your ideas! Tell us how you hack your tacos to make them more flavorful, fun and healthier in the comments below. And if you liked this article, check out our 4 Delicious, Healthy Baked Donut Recipe Hacks and 7 Healthy Ice Cream Hacks.
1 Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix. Real Mom Nutrition. https://www.realmomnutrition.com/homemade-taco-seasoning-mix/ (Accessed 10/03/2018)
2 National Nutrient Database, Standard Reference. United States Department of Agriculture. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov (Accessed 10/03/2018)
3 Paleo Tacos in Soft Cauliflower Tortillas. The Healthy Foodie.https://thehealthyfoodie.com/paleo-tacos-soft-tortillas/ (Accessed 10/03/2018)