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tacos

Building a Healthy Taco Using Local Produce

Tacos are a traditional Mexican dish with a mixture of various fillings on a flat bread tortilla. Having recently visited the Yucatan Peninsula and consumed tacos on a daily basis, it became evident that even in Mexico, different regions make their tacos with local available produce, meats, beans and rice. The American version can consist of anything from local produce like zucchini, squash and corn as well as the traditional tomatoes, cheese and lettuce.

Try this taco recipe for a slant on local flavor and taste. My goal is to build a taco that is tasty, local and provides creativity in the ingredients. We will use some of the traditional elements but stick with me as we explore various toppings to make your taco healthy and fresh.

Select your Tortilla

Building a Healthy Taco Using Local Produce. Photo Credit: Pamela Allen

Tortillas are varied in size, color and grain. For a healthy option select the smaller size that are made from whole grains. My favorite is a corn blended tortilla in the six inch circle.

Start with a Protein

The filling can be made from ground turkey, chicken, pork, fish or hamburger. For a vegetarian option try tofu crumbles, black beans or refried vegetarian beans. Brown the meat using your favorite Mexican spice like chili powder, garlic, cumin, white pepper and onion powder.

Pick your Filling

Local vegetables this time of year that will add flavor and color can be used as a filling. Try spiral cut squash using yellow squash or zucchini. Cook in a small amount of olive oil to tenderize. You will want to keep them crunchy so don’t overcook them. Also, shave off fresh corn and add it to your filling or mix it in with your protein.

Pick your toppings

Diced tomatoes make a great topping and add color and flavor. A squeeze of fresh lime juice is also a favorite. Other toppings could include diced avocado or sliced hot peppers like jalapeno, bell or other peppers that grow well in our area. Traditional toppings include various types of shredded cheese and sour cream.

Don’t forget the Fresh Herbs

Cilantro grows very well in this area as well as chives, onions and parsley. Fresh herbs add a splash of color and flavor.

Finishing touches

Try the homemade salsa recipe for a side dish with chips or for a topping to pep up the flavor or your healthy taco.

 

Fresh Salsa

2-3 medium sized fresh tomatoes (diced into small pieces)

1/2 red onion diced

Peppers of your choice – jalapeno (hot) or bell pepper (milder)

Juice of one lime

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

May add some spices like chili powder or cumin for flavor.

Prepare all the ingredients and mix in a bowl. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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