7 Veggie Taco Recipes for a Healthier Way to Eat Mexican Food
Everyone loves tacos, but when they’re stuffed with meat and creamy dressing, the calories in the tortilla-wrapped sandwiches can add up. A taco shell alone can set you back close to 200 calories, and that’s why it’s important to stay smart about what you’re loading into your tortilla. Now that tacos are especially popular, more and more recipes are cropping up that go light on the meat and heavy on the toppings. If you want to have your tacos but eat healthy, too, check out these 7 recipes for meat-free varieties that are cool, creative, and taste great. They’re healthier than their meaty counterparts and can be served to herbivores and carnivores, alike.
1. Avocado and Black Bean Tacos
First up are avocado and black bean tacos from Martha Stewart. These tacos are undeniably healthy, packed with fiber and healthy fats, and they taste great, too. The saltiness of the black beans cut into the creaminess of the avocado, and kale and sunflower seeds make an appearance as well, adding extra crunch and texture to the dish. This recipe serves one.
- ½ avocado
- ½ minced clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- Dash cumin
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Two corn tortillas
- ½ cup thinly sliced kale
- ¼ cup cooked black beans
- 2 tablespoons toasted sunflower seeds
Directions: In a medium bowl, mash avocado with garlic, lime juice, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper.
Toast tortillas over a gas burner, turning, until lightly charred. Divide avocado mixture between tortillas, and top with kale, beans, and sunflower seeds. Season with salt.
2. Chickpea Tacos with Avocado Cream
This next taco formula from Amuse Your Bouche also yields a healthy dish that comes loaded with fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Chickpeas are a good source of nutrients, dietary fiber, and protein, and when they’re combined with the right seasoning, they’re positively delicious. Give these chickpea tacos with avocado cream a try, and surprise yourself with how satiating a meat-free taco can be. These tacos will fill you up but won’t overstuff you, and they’re a fun creative twist on the traditional tortilla.
- 2 cans chickpeas, drained
- 2 medium/large tomatoes, diced
- 3 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Black pepper
- 2 ripe avocados
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 mini flour tortillas
Directions: To make the taco filling, place the chickpeas in a large bowl and coarsely mash with a fork. Add the tomatoes, chopped coriander, and smoked paprika, and season to taste.
For the avocado cream, blitz the avocados, garlic, and lemon juice together in a food processor until smooth, then add the yogurt and olive oil, and blitz again to combine. Season to taste. Serve the taco filling inside the mini tortillas, dolloped with the avocado cream.
3. Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Tacos
Our next recipe on the list takes chickpea tacos up a notch and adds roasted cauliflower. Enter: roasted cauliflower and chickpea tacos from Two Peas and Their Pod. These tacos are even more satiating thanks to the addition of more fibrous veggies that are seasoned and roasted alongside chickpeas on a baking sheet for 35 minutes. That hot combo is then dressed with a lime crema that you’ll be making, too, and red cabbage, cilantro, jalapeno, and red onions are also added to the mix. These sophisticated veggie tacos will inspire even the biggest of meat eaters.
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 small head cauliflower, washed and cut into bite-size florets
- Corn tortillas
- 1 cup finely chopped red cabbage
- 1 jalapeño, sliced and seeds removed
- 1 large avocado, seed removed and diced
- Chopped cilantro
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- ⅛ cup fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, whisk together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, lime juice, olive oil, and water. Stir in chickpeas and cauliflower florets. Place seasoned chickpeas and cauliflower on a greased baking sheet. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally during cooking, until chickpeas are slightly crispy and cauliflower is tender. Remove from oven, and set aside.
To make the lime crema, place the Greek yogurt or sour cream in a small bowl. Add fresh lime juice and cilantro. Stir well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Take a corn tortilla, and place roasted cauliflower and chickpeas on top. Top with red cabbage, jalapeño slices, avocado, and cilantro. Drizzle lime crema over the tacos, and serve.
4. Breakfast Tacos
Breakfast tacos, anyone? Enjoy this recipe from Minimalist Baker for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The tacos are vegan, and what they lack in meat and eggs, they make up for in black beans, avocado, and tofu. Dare to be different, and try these tacos that are healthy without being heavy — and filling without leaving you stuffed. Minimalist Baker’s recipe serves 3 or 4, and it also provides a formula for homemade taco tofu seasoning.
- 8 ounces firm tofu
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- ¼ red onion, diced
- 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 ripe avocado, sliced (or sub guacamole)
- ½ cup salsa for serving (hot sauce also optional)
- 1 lime sliced, for serving
- ¼ cup pomegranate arils
- Corn tortillas (2 per person)
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon salsa
- 1 tablespoon water
Directions: Wrap tofu in a clean, absorbent towel, and place something heavy on top, such as a cast iron skillet, while prepping toppings.
Cook black beans in a small saucepan over medium heat until bubbly, then reduce heat to simmer and set aside. If unsalted/unseasoned, add a pinch of salt, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder. Add dry tofu spices and salsa to a small bowl, and add enough water to make a pourable sauce. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and unwrap tofu. Use a fork to crumble. Once the pan is hot, add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil of choice and the tofu. Stir fry for 4 to 5 minutes to brown. Then add seasoning, and toss to coat. Continue cooking until browned and fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Set aside.
To serve, warm tortillas in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel or in a 250-degree oven. Top tortillas with tofu scramble, black beans, onion, avocado, cilantro, salsa, fresh lime juice, and pomegranate arils.
5. Soft Vegetable Tacos
For a simpler fuss- and meat-free taco recipe, try these soft vegetable tacos from Taste of Home. They’re easy and traditional, and thanks to the veggie-packed filling, they’re delicious and nutritious. Loaded with black beans, corn, zucchini, and cheese, the tacos will appease both vegetarians and meat eaters, and they’re easy to make, requiring only 25 minutes.
- 1⅔ cups fresh or frozen corn, thawed
- 1 small zucchini, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup salsa
- 8 flour tortillas, warmed
- ½ cup sour cream
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Directions: In a large skillet, saute the corn, zucchini, and onion in oil until tender. Stir in beans and salsa. Cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
Spoon a heaping ⅓ cup onto half of each tortilla; top with sour cream and cheese. Fold tortilla over filling.
6. Egg and Swiss Chard Tacos
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 10 tablespoons minced white onion
- 2 seeded serrano chiles, minced
- Kosher salt
- 1¼ pounds rainbow Swiss chard, leaves and stems thinly sliced
- 6 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 seeded plum tomatoes, chopped
- 3 tablespoons minced cilantro
- Freshly ground pepper
- Warmed corn tortillas, for serving
Directions: In a large skillet, heat the oil until simmering. Add ½ cup onion, the chiles, and a generous pinch of salt, and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion is just starting to brown, 8 minutes. Add the Swiss chard and cook, stirring, until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in the eggs and tomatoes, and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until the eggs are just cooked, 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of onion and the cilantro, and season with salt and pepper. Serve the eggs in warm tortillas.
7. Poblano and Mushroom Tacos
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 fresh poblano chile, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced into long strips
- ½ small red onion, sliced
- 3 ounces crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 corn tortillas
- 4 thin slices Monterey Jack cheese
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Crumbled feta or Cotija cheese
- Assorted toppings (such as shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and hot sauce or salsa)
Directions: Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add poblano chile, red onion, and mushrooms; sauté mixture until brown, about 5 minutes. Mix in ground cumin. Season to taste with salt. Transfer mixture to medium bowl.