Taco Night+
July 5, 2012 11:34 AM   Subscribe

What are some good fixin's ("fixins'"?) for taco night on a low-carb/quasi-paleo diet?

My girlfriend and I are on a pretty strict diet, the details of which are in this previous question. Added to that, I am lactose intolerant and can't do spicy. She's not big on fish or organ meats. However, it's taco night, so she can throw hot peppers in hers and I can load mine up with offal just fine.

Now, generally, taco night involves:

Romaine hearts (instead of taco shells)
Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream)
Salsa (sometimes home-made, sometimes store-bought)
Ground beef browned in adobo, cumin, black pepper and MSG.
Diced onion, tomato, avocado.
Shredded cheddar.

So, what else can I put in there? I have Chinese, East European, Middle Eastern, and Hispanic supermarkets nearby, so I can pretty easily get ingredients from any of those cuisines. Although I will require photos of any particularly obscure Chinese foodstuffs as there's rarely English labeling in the stores.
posted by griphus to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Paleo al Pastor tacos sound great, although the meat prep is pretty much the meal for the night before. Also, chicken breast would be a good option (I generally roast a whole chicken and then use the breast meat in various dishes - tacos are just about right.)

If you have access to duck, these are absolutely divine. You could also google for lettuce wrap recipes in general to get more ideas that are a little more diverse than just tex-mex style tacos.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:43 AM on July 5, 2012

I don't see cilantro on the list. Are either of you cilantro adverse?
Ground Chorizo is always a nice addition to the ground beef.
I love to put a Mexican slaw on (or around) my tacos.
Also many Mexican restaurants where I live serve radish slices with their tacos, so maybe some radishes on the side?
posted by ephemerista at 11:48 AM on July 5, 2012

I have a terrible and monstrous urge to suggest gefilte fish tacos wrapped in cabbage topped with diced chicken livers fried in schmaltz. I feel evil.
posted by elizardbits at 11:53 AM on July 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Black olives, avacado, tomato, fresh mushrooms, sautéed or fresh onions.
posted by HMSSM at 11:53 AM on July 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Can you eat fruit? Grilled pineapple is great on tacos.
posted by something something at 11:53 AM on July 5, 2012

Bon Appetit just ran a feature about throwing a taco party*, focusing on great additions to the standard ingredients. You might get some good ideas from that; on my list are the pickled red onions, pickled radishes, and definitely tons of cilantro.

You have to click the image of the dish in the link above to get the recipe. It took me a minute or two to figure that out!
posted by stellaluna at 12:00 PM on July 5, 2012

Nothing substantial, but I love squeezing lime juice on my tacos.
posted by backwards guitar at 12:01 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

i love pickled red onions on tacos. also caramelized onions. also i like putting hoisin sauce on pork tacos. and sriracha. and cilantro. and cabbage. and roasted garlic. and charred jalapeno. and guacamole.

man i really want tacos right now.
posted by kerning at 12:22 PM on July 5, 2012

Pickled onions! (Slice red onion thinly; cover with salt and leave in colander for 10-60 minutes. Rinse very thoroughly, then dress with lime juice. Or with lime juice, or even better, equal parts lime juice and orange juice.)

Radishes! (Slice thin and eat, or cut into quarters and quick-pickle in very salty brine.)

These (along with avocado, which you've mentioned) are the backbones of our all-too-frequent taco nights.
posted by willbaude at 12:22 PM on July 5, 2012

love this whole blog.

raw taco fiesta at my new roots
posted by c at 12:25 PM on July 5, 2012

Paleo taco salad night at our house always includes kim chi!
posted by vespabelle at 12:34 PM on July 5, 2012

Apparently there's some controversy whether jicama is paleo or not, but if you're in the "is" camp, then some matchstick-cut jicama adds a nice crunch.
posted by Runes at 12:39 PM on July 5, 2012

Roasted mushrooms and squash are fantastic in (or next to) tacos -- you could sub other vegetables if the zucchini is too carby. I'd definitely have some chicken, too... chicken thighs chopped small and sauteed with cumin, cayenne, and some lime juice make for fantastic taco filling. I also really like to have feta and/or chevre available along with the cheddar -- not authentic, but very delicious.
posted by vorfeed at 12:49 PM on July 5, 2012

Is shrimp okay? Because shrimp tacos good!
posted by neushoorn at 1:01 PM on July 5, 2012

its zucchini and corn season right now and they are bomb on tacos
posted by couchdive at 2:08 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sriracha + plain peanuts toasted with soy sauce + pickled radish in lettuce wraps are so good on their own they need nothing extra.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 3:02 PM on July 5, 2012

Pico de gallo. That 's tomato, onion, cilantro and serrano or jalapeño peppers all diced (picados) and marinating in lime juice and a little salt. Just looking at pictures of it on Google Images makes me salivate.

Also, avocado goes well with almost any type of taco. Cheddar is almost a sin in my opinion, but to each their own.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 3:05 PM on July 5, 2012

Can you get any cactus? Nopalitos are not everyone's taste, but they're also good. Here we get them fresh in the supermarket but in the US I've seen them bottled like pickles in the mexican/ethnic aisle.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 3:08 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

For the shredded cabbage, it's even better if you toss it with salt and let it sit in a colander for maybe ten or twenty minutes, and then sprinkle on lime juice. But maybe if you're doing lettuce wraps already, shredded cabbage is overkill?

The Yucatec-style pickled onion thing is fantastic and definitely worth making a ton of. They taste great on everything.

For doing quick-and-stupid chicken or pork for tacos what I like to do is get some boneless meat (ideally thighs if you're doing chicken), chop it up small, brown the pieces in oil, and then simmer it in some Goya mojo (comes in a big bottle, unrefrigerated, in the Hispanic food aisle) until it's done. As long as you've chopped the meat small enough, it has really basically the same flavor effect as a longer homemade marinade, and it's just about effortless.

Also, maybe sometimes do queso cotija instead of the shredded cheddar?
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:39 PM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Pickled red onions make the world a better place, and your tacos more delicious.
posted by weaponsgradecarp at 6:38 AM on July 6, 2012

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