Few food holidays get me more excited than National Taco Day, which is today! Tacos are perhaps the one meal my little family can all agree on, and one that my kids will eat without (too much) complaint. That’s because tacos are the ultimate finger food, are endlessly customizable, and can be served up in a variety of ways. Follow these basics to make taco night new and interesting each time you serve it up!
- Figure out the Foundation. There are several choices to make when it comes to the foundation of a taco, beyond just soft or hard shell. There are flour or corn tortillas (and then white, yellow corn or even blue corn?). Or, go carb-free and wrap in a piece of butter lettuce or place your taco fillings atop a salad.
- Pick your Protein. The protein component of a taco is usually its defining feature: are you having steak, chicken or fish tacos? Don’t limit yourself to the standard ground beef: there are so many protein options. Even mix and match, with ground meat and beans.
- Add Volume with Veggies. Tacos are a good way to pack in at least a couple servings of vegetables, either within the taco itself (hint: beans are a protein AND a veggie!) or as a topping. A family favorite is to make homemade salsa fresca with just tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, some salt and lime juice. In-season veggies are often fresh and abundant, but you can also throw in anything that’s starting to show its age and would otherwise be destined soon for the trash heap (waste not!!). Broccolini, sautéed spinach, baby bella mushrooms and roasted sweet potatoes are all yummy options.
- Top it Off with a Light Touch. A well-built taco needs just a few enhancements to top it off – no need to go overboard. Salsa, fresh avocado or guacamole are great veggie toppers that supply a lot of nutrients. Cheese can give a salty-savory dimension, but just a little can go a long way. Strong flavors such as sharp cheddar or queso blanco require just a few bits without overpowering each bite. I’m not a fan of sour cream, but if that’s your jam then go for it. Just a little dab’ll do ya, though!
The fillings, toppings, and combinations are endless with this extremely versatile food! There’s no right or wrong way to build a taco. And for your little ones, you can make them as kid-friendly as you’d like! Here’s one of my new favorites from my friend and fellow dietitian, Sara Haas. I use a combo of ground turkey and pinto beans for my recipe.
Adiós amigos and enjoy your tacos!
P.S. I just found out about a great contest from Uncle Ben’s. The Uncle Ben’s® Ben’s Beginners™ Cooking Contest inspires families to cook together. Enter online before midnight Monday, October 9, 2017 for a chance to win $15,000 for your family and $30,000 for a school cafeteria makeover. I have no affiliation with this contest nor am I being paid to promote it, but how could I not let you know about this amazing chance to win some serious cash not just for you, but for your school??? Five winners will be chosen.