7 Steps Make to Your Perfect Taco

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Summary

Just add veggies, protein and spices to your tortillas, and any night can be taco night!

Tacos are the perfect food – they’re versatile, balanced and easy to prepare. Setting aside an afternoon to prepare ingredients makes it easy to assemble tacos on the fly after a busy day at work or other times when you’re hungry and feeling less motivated to cook.

Once you have your ingredients ready to go, you can simply heat up some tortillas (add some water to get them nice and soft), and add your veggies, protein, sauce and spices. In minutes, you have a complete protein, vegetables, high-fiber carbodhydrates and good fats!

  1. Choose a tortilla: Look for stone-ground corn tortillas. Traditional tortillas are made using a nixtamal process, the ancient Mexican process where lime is added, making niacin, calcium and protein more available. Most store-bought tortillas don’t use nixtamal and instead add back vitamins and preservatives to prevent spoilage. Read the ingredients label to make sure there are only three ingredients: corn, water and lime.
  2. Choose your veggies: Pre-chop bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, zucchini, sprouts, kale, tomatoes, carrots, avocados or any other veggie you like. You can saute, roast or grill your vegetables, or keep them raw and place them in storage bins.
  3. Choose a protein: Make a batch of beans or hummus over the weekend to use throughout the week. Keep them plain so you can season them later at each individual meal. Try chickpeas, black beans, lentils, white beans, pinto beans, tempeh or tofu. You can soak these overnight or in the morning before you head to work. Soaking beans reduces the cooking time and makes them more digestible.
  4. Sauce it up: Sauces add the zest and flavor to your taco. It doesn’t have to be the traditional Mexican salsa or pico de gallo. Experiment with different cuisines by changing up the sauce! Make two or three sauces over the weekend on your prep day to have for your daily use. Try pesto (substitute any green for basil, and any nut for pinenuts), chimichurri, cashew cream, peanut sauce, romanesco sauce, harissa, chipotle mayo, BBQ sauce, coconut curry, chutney, etc.! The sky is the limit; any cuisine can be made into a taco if you are daring enough to try it!
  5. Spice it: Fresh herbs will give your tacos another level of flavor and tang. Try fresh parsley, cilantro, basil or thyme.
  6. For an extra probiotic kick, add in some fermented vegetables, fermented chilis, kimchi or sauerkraut.
  7. Enjoy! Sit down, set your electronics aside, and take the time to savor every bite. Chewing slowly will help you cue into your hunger signals and improve digestion. You’ll also get a chance to fully taste your delicious creation!

— By Vanessa Berenstein, MS, RD, Bastyr University 2014-15 dietetic intern, www.holistanourish.com

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