Taco night is a typical night for many populations: families, bachelors, university students etc etc etc. Its filling, cost effective and most importantly delicious. Recently I’ve been choosing a diet with higher protein, and therefore have been looking for options to make my favourite dishes higher in protein. Here’s a recipe that I’ve been using for about a year now. Its super flexible, and makes enough for 4 servings, plus leftovers!
1lb of extra lean ground beef
1 red pepper cubed
1 medium white onion cubed
1 can of black olives (optional)
1 can of refried beans (look for the black refried beans!)
pickled jalepenos (to your taste)
3-4 tbsps of taco mix (see below for instructions)
1 can tomato paste
salsa to taste
Corn or wheat tortillas (soft or hard)
Mix together 1tbsp of the following:
Paprika (plain, not smoked or spicy)
1/2 tbsp of the following
Cayenne, or Chipotle
(This will make more than the recipe needs, but saves really well)
In a frying pan saute onions and peppers for 5 minutes, or until soft. When the veggies are soft add the ground beef. Drain liquids from the pan once the meat is fully cooked and add the taco seasoning. You want to over season your meat, onions and peppers because you will be adding other ingredients after. Once the seasonings are fully mixed in add the refried beans, olives, jalepenos, tomato paste and salsa. Heat through and serve on a tortilla.
Notes and Tips
The consistency of this taco mix is different and much more filling than your typical box mix. Don’t be alarmed if its significantly thicker, you’re making it correctly if it is thick!
Tip #1 – I hate all of the fat that is rendered from cooking ground beef. One thing I do in order to take away as much fat as possible is drain the meat in a colander in my sink. This helps get everything off, it also makes seasoning the meat a lot easier later on, because your meat will have its true flavor.
Tip #2 – If you’re not a fan of refried beans, but want to increase your protein add black beans. Before adding them to your pan, but them in a bowl and mash them up a bit. You may need to season your tacos more if you are adding black beans as they have not been previously cooked. Black beans are the best beans to have if you are increasing your protein, they’re full in protein as well as fibre. Basically they’re a super bean!
Tip #3 – If you want to be more authentic, head to the grocery store and pick up some masa to make home made corn tortillas. When I grant myself the time I do this when making tacos. Corn tortillas have fewer carbohydrates, making them healthier, but more importantly, they taste great! The process to make the corn tortillas is a bit labor intensive, it takes a while to make each tortilla, and then cook them on the stove top. Unfortunately I haven’t found a fast solution for this yet.
Tip #4 – Watching your sodium? Take out the olives, and use fresh jalepeno’s instead of pickled. Also, use no-salt salt flavoring, or sea salt, both have lower sodium rates than typical table salt. Personally I prefer the taste of sea salt when cooking.