Ground turkey tacos are a healthy alternative to ones made with ground beef, but with the report released this week about contaminated turkey, I decided to go vegetarian for this Cinco De Mayo! I have a plant-based vegetarian diet most of the time that includes eggs but tend to eat organic free range turkey or chicken on occasion a couple of times a month. In addition to the ground turkey news, I just covered food safety and technology in my classes at Bucks (talking about all the nasty bacteria, hormones, etc in animals and showing videos about their treatment), which means I will have no desire to consume any sort of meat for a while!
So here we go with some healthy, delicious, spicy-but-not-too-much, black bean and veggie tacos! My husband even made a mistake when having them for dinner and said “the seasoning on the meat is really flavorful”.
Black Bean Veggie Tacos (GF, V, DF)
Ingredients (see below for beneficial properties of these ingredients):
Forgot the Kale in the picture!
1 cup organic dried black beans* (comes out to the 2 cups for this recipe + extra)
1 Tablespoon avocado oil
3 cloves garlic, minced**
1-2 jalapeno, diced(depending on size)
2 green onions, diced fine (can omit, but I had a few extra in the fridge)
1 medium-large onion, diced**
2 large whole carrots, shredded**
1 15 ounce can organic diced tomatoes (I used the trader joe’s ones w/ green chiles)
–or 15 oz can diced tomatoes + 2 oz canned green chili’s
1 Cup packed fresh chopped kale or 1 Cup frozen spinach
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
*Prepare with water & a dash of salt as indicated on package. They definitely come out the most tender if you cook a full 1 1/2 hours but I recommend at least 45 min simmer and let sit an hour covered. 1 Cup dried gave me about 3 1/2 cups cooked. I only needed 2 cups for this recipe so I froze the rest for next time I need them. You can use canned beans but 1 can only gives about 1 1/2 cups actual beans and usually has lots of sodium. A risk of using canned foods is that the cans are lined with the chemical BPA. click here for brands that are BPA free.
**Purchasing Tips: bagged organic onions are very economical from Trader Joe’s as are bagged organic carrots. Both can also be found for a good deal at BJ’s Wholesale, along with organic garlic.
-Wash the peppers and carrots and prep all of your ingredients as listed above.
-Make your taco seasoning by mixing all the spices together. It’s super easy, doesn’t have the processed preservatives and additives, and will cost you less in the long run.
-Place a large saucepan or stockpot over low-medium heat and add the oil. Spread w/ rubber spatula so that it coats the bottom of the pan.
-Add the garlic and hot peppers and stir for 1-2 minutes (do not let garlic turn brown).
-Add the onions and shredded carrots, stir and cover for 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally.
-Next add the beans and tomatoes and stir. Add all of the taco seasoning and stir well. Cover and let simmer about 5 minutes.
-Add the kale and stir until wilted or thawed. Turn off the heat and you’re done!
Finished Product should look like this picture:
Because I was having some of the jalapeno cornbread I had just made, I opted for lettuce wraps instead of tortillas. Tim had them in my homemade garlic chili tortillas which added even more amazing flavor. You can also make a taco salad with some baked chips and top the salad, lettuce wrap, classic taco (or however you eat this!) with some guacamole for healthy fat and even more flavor. If you consume dairy, try greek yogurt in place of your sour cream. If you love Mexican food all year and not just on Cinco De Mayo like me, head to my Pinterest page for recipes that build a “Healthier Fiesta” including homemade tortillas, salsa and margaritas!
Do you love Mexican food too? Please comment and share your favorite recipes – I love trying new things!
Real Ingredients with Real Health Benefits:
Black Beans are a great source of mono-unsaturated fat, potassium, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, iron, copper, magnesium & manganese. Black beans and kidney beans also provide calcium. Phytochemicals include lutein, epicatechin, quercetin and proanthocyanidin.
Onions & garlic are part of the same family, providing the phytochemicals allicin and sulfides which are linked to improved immunity and respiratory health. Onions also provide Vitamins C, B6 and folate.
Carrots are most known for the role in eye health. This is because carrots have a high content of Vitamin A and other phytochemical carotenoids which not only support your eyes but also skin, hair and antioxidant systems. Carrots are also high in Vitamins C & K and the mineral potassium. Antioxidants work to keep your heart healthy and potassium is important for fluid balance and plays a role in maintaining normal blood pressure. Celery contains many of the same nutrients.
Even though “superfood” has no definition, I refer to kale one. One serving gives you more than your daily need of Vitamins A, C and K. It is also a known vegetarian source of calcium and iron as well as magnesium and copper. In terms of phytochemicals, kale provides about 40 flavonoids which are great antioxidants.
Tomatoes pack in lots of Vitamins A, C, and the important fluid balance mineral Potassium. They are well known in terms of phytochemical content for their lycopene which is known for reducing risk of prostate cancer. This was one of the first phytochemicals that really made a name for itself. It is often forgetten that tomatoes also provide other carotenoids and flavonoids such as quercitin.
Jalapeno peppers and green chiles contain capsaicin which has long been used for decreasing joint pain and inflammation topically but in the body may aid in appetite control, metabolism and intestinal inflammation. Oh and you aren’t the only one who gets a runny nose from spicy food – these peppers can all help clear your sinuses!
Canola Oil is my go to when I am cooking. While olive oil has great flavor and a good fat profile, canola oil actually has much more omega-3 than olive oil and even less saturated fat. I don’t eat animal products on a daily basis and my fish consumption is low, so using canola oil in cooking helps me meet my daily needs of omega 3. Since most canola oil in stores is genetically modified, choose an organic brand – it will still be cheaper than conventional olive oil.
Cayenne & chili powder all contain capsaicin. Capsaicin has long been used for decreasing joint pain and inflammation topically but in the body may aid in appetite control, metabolism and intestinal inflammation. Oh and you aren’t the only one who gets a runny nose from spicy food – these peppers can all help clear your sinuses!
Paprika is one of my favorite tasting spices and it actually contains a decent amount of Vitamins A, E, K, B6 ans riboflavin as well as some potassium. While there are many varieties of Paprika, they all have similar nutrition benefits and the generic one you see at the store is just fine! It’s phytochemical benefits are similar to cayenne and chili powder due to the capsicum.
Oregano actually contains manganese, iron and Vitamins A & K. It can also benefit your immune system as its phytochemicals like thymol are anti-bacterial.
While cumin does contain manganese, magnesium, calcium and especially iron, you generally do not get high amounts of those minerals since it is used in such small amounts in recipes. We do know however that cumin is a potent antioxidant containing phenolic acids and carotenoids.