Mexican taco beef with hidden vegetables . . .sshhh

Are you on a real food journey, but tacos are such a big hit with your family that the odd commercial taco kit, complete with additive-laden taco seasoning sachet inside, somehow finds it's way into your supermarket trolley? ;) Well here's your chance to kick that box out of your pantry for good, and I promise that you won't look back! 

It really is easier than you think to skip the chemicals and instead provide your family with a delicious and nutritious alternative! Plus, the 'hidden' vegetables will not only provide a nutritional boost that will go undetected, but also do a fabulous job at bulking up the recipe, making it go further, so you don't need to buy two kits and double up on the mince to keep your hungry family satisfied. My tribe much prefers my homemade taco beef to the supermarket version, and I'm certain your family will too! So do give it a try!

What you'll need:

500-600g beef or lamb, finely diced or minced
1 sml red onion finely diced
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, deseeded, minced
3 tsp of cumin seeds, freshly ground (or 1.5 tsp ready ground)
2 tsp dried coriander (cilantro) leaves (not seeds)
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 tsp paprika
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1/2 punnet (125g) mushrooms, finely chopped
1/2 green capsicum, finely chopped
1 tbsp EVOO or coconut oil
6 medium tomatoes, diced (or 400g can chopped tomatoes)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1-2 tsp Himalayan or sea salt, to taste
400g can red kidney beans, drained (optional)
handful fresh chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves

romaine lettuce 'taco' shell    

romaine lettuce 'taco' shell 


taco shell options:

Purchasing ready-made tacos or tortillas, while very convenient is more often than not just an extra source of chemical additives and unhealthy oils for your family. Here are some healthier alternatives:

romaine lettuce cups
grain-free tostadas
spelt tostada (toasted tortillas)

fresh tomato salsa:

2 large vine ripened tomatoes
1/4 sml red tomato, finely chopped
1/2 lime, juiced (zest first for the guacamole)
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander leaves
Himalayan salt & freshly ground black pepper, to tasted
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (or cold-pressed avocado oil)

fresh guacamole topping:

zest of 1 lime
2 large ripe avocadoes
freshly squeezed lemon juice or lime, to taste
Himalayan salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

How to make it:

Finely chop the carrot, mushrooms, and capsicum or zucchini in a food processor and set aside. Finely dice the onion separately. Heat the extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil in a fry pan or large saucepan on medium heat, add the diced onion and cook for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent, then add the minced chili, garlic and dried spices and cook, stirring frequently until fragrant. Increase heat to high and add the minced meat, cook for 5 minutes or until lightly browned.

Next add the finely chopped fresh vegetables, canned tomato, tomato paste, red kidney beans (if using), salt and pepper, and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has reduced.

Meanwhile make the fresh tomato salsa and guacamole topping. Fresh is always best! I always get my children involved in preparing the toppings. If yours are too young to wield a knife, get them involved in mashing an avocado or grating some cheese if you eat dairy.

To serve, fill your choice of 'taco' shell with the taco beef mixture, and top with your favourite toppings! Enjoy your delicious, made-from-scratch Mexican themed feast knowing that it is supplying lots of flavour and nutrition for your loved ones.

Paula X