If you go to any restaurant that serves tacos, you’ll have a good chance of seeing a “Taco Tuesday” promotion. This weeknight in particular has become taco’s best friend (or have tacos become its best friend? The world may never know.) Since 1982, thanks to the texmex fast food restaurant Taco John’s (at least according to our research), Tuesday has been the designated day to eat tacos in America. But, what you probably won’t find very often is a “Healthy Taco Tuesday” promotion.
Now, I’m not claiming you should eat tacos every Tuesday, or that you can’t eat tacos if it’s, like Thursday. But Taco Tuesday is a fun concept, and let’s face it, there really isn’t a bad day to eat tacos….well, except maybe the day before an endurance race. Healthy Taco Tuesday recipes, like the ones below, make it even easier to partake in the Taco Tuesday tradition without the guilt.
Also, if you’re like me, remembering what day it is and remembering what dish I’m supposed to eat on that day is just too much to remember. So forgive me if I have spaghetti on Tuesdays and tacos on Fridays. These recipes work either way, even if we call them Healthy Taco Tuesday recipes.
Where Did Tacos Even Come From?
Did you know that the word taco is actually an acronym for Toppings And Cheese Only? No? Did you know that I actually just made that up? Totally did.
Interestingly, the origin of the taco is largely unknown, but there is not one cheese-shred of evidence that it was ever an acronym. Tacos were, of course, a well-known food before they came to the United States. It is theorized that they were mainly eaten by silver miners. Once they came to the US, in the early 1900s, they evolved from the miners’ version to pretty much what we think of as a traditional taco, with beef, cheese, lettuce, and tomato in some sort of tortilla, based almost solely on what ingredients were available here.
The Versatile Taco
It’s pertinent to note that the story of the taco is much like what we do in 9010 Nutrition. We take something we love and adapt it based on not what ingredients are available as much as what ingredients are good. And when your ingredients are good, your tacos will be too.
Since their arrival in the US, tacos have been wildly popular, and with good reason. Simple ingredients that are readily available and relatively inexpensive no matter the region nor the time of year come together to deliver a flavor explosion to the weeknight meal. They can be hot or mild or somewhere in between. They can be simply or complexly topped. They can be customized for each member of the family without making a whole new meal.
Healthy Taco Tuesday Without The Rules
And, since we’re tossing the rules out the window anyway, let’s get creative with what we put IN our tacos, too. Let’s do beef, yes, but let’s also do fish. And we’ve got some pretty outstanding chicken tacos for the slow cooker too. And if you’re vegetarian, let’s offer you some tacos of your own for this healthy taco Tuesday!
Tortillas Are Important
Before we get to the recipes, we need to talk about tortillas. You see, while tacos are amazing enough that you can mess up the tortillas and still have a good meal, there are some ways to take your Healthy Taco Tuesday to the next level with the right tortilla technique.
Soft Flour Tortillas
You know when you get tortillas from a restaurant and they come all soft and steamy in their own little container? Amazing, right? Well, there is a simple way to get that same softness at home. Just wet several paper towels under the kitchen sink and squeeze them out so they are damp but not dripping. Place one paper towel in the microwave and begin stacking tortillas. Some of us put a damp paper towel between each tortilla. Others just put one on the bottom and one on top of the stack and keep the stack fairly small. Then, simply microwave on high for 45-60 seconds.
Remember to use 100% whole grain soft flour tortillas to keep your meal in the green tier!
Soft Corn Tortillas
To use corn tortillas for soft tacos, there’s a simple step you can take to really make your tacos incredible. Simply heat a pan or griddle to medium-high, add a tiny bit of olive oil, and lightly brown both sides of your corn tortillas. It will give just a bit of crunch to the tortillas while still leaving them flexible. You seriously have to try this method!
Hard Corn Tortillas
There’s no need to buy deep fried hard taco shells in a box. Just lightly brush or spray soft corn tortillas with olive oil and then bake them over 1 or 2 tines of the rack in your oven. 425 deg for 5-10 minutes or until desired crispiness seems to work really well.
Healthy Taco Tuesday Recipes
Check out our incredible selection of Healthy Taco Tuesday ideas! Use the search box to narrow down the selection.