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Creative Taco Recipes

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

taco recipesContributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman

I have to confess. Until I moved to Austin, Texas a couple of years ago, I thought tacos were limited to crunchy shells filled with lettuce, tomato, cheese and either meat or beans. Oh my, was I ever mistaken!

Deep in the heart of Texas, tacos are the food of choice for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a late night snack. Sure you can get the plain-Jane tacos I was used to. But why would you when there are so many creative taco recipes out there?

If you’re still stuck with the basics, here are ten amazing ways chefs in Texas bring a whole new life to tacos.

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10. Fried avocado tacos

Torchys fried avocado tacos

I’m starting this with one of my very favorite taco recipes. This is better as a soft taco, because the avocado almost always breaks the crunchy shells (trust me, I have tried!). The mix of hot, fried avocado, crunchy lettuce and creamy poblano sauce makes a mouthwatering delicious taco you’ll want to make again and again. The recipe published in Bon Appetit comes from Torchy’s, my favorite Austin taco spot, too, so I know it’s good.

9. Breakfast tacos

breakfast taco platter

Forget the fast food item being promoted by a certain national fast food chain. I’m talking real, Texas-style breakfast tacos.

So what’s the difference? First of all, they’re not big. And they don’t have a whole bunch of different ingredients. They’re small (usually a 6″ or 8″ tortilla), with eggs, cheese, and maybe some sausage or chorizo. Or maybe potatoes, black beans or avocado. But only two or three of those things. And they’re fresh. As in made when you order them. You just add the hot sauce and start eating. For a recipes and more background, check out The Homesick Texan’s blog.

8. Ahi tuna tacos

ahi tuna tacos

Nothing fast food about these babies. Just sushi grade tuna, lightly seared, shredded greens (usually cabbage, although I sometimes use kale), diced tomatoes and a tangy, spicy sauce. Put it all on a small, warm flour tortilla and you’re set for some delicious taco eating. You can also make these with fresh salmon if you prefer.

7. Texas Thai tacos

cilantro

Ah, the wonders of fusion cooking. Sometimes it backfires (Chinese grilled sushi? I kid you not, I saw that on a restaurant sign in Pennsylvania!). But other times it works perfectly. That’s the case with these tacos featured on Flavor Mosaic. The chicken, veggies, a generous addition of fresh cilantro and their very own Texas Thai bar-b-que sauce makes it all come together.

6. Warm lobster tacos

Maine lobsters

This recipe comes from the Texas Monthly, and features fresh lobster and traditional Texas tastes all in one amazing taco. Dallas chef Dean Fearing came up with this creative combination for the Mansion on Turtle Creek, but thanks to this recipe, you can try it at home.

5. Grilled Bar-B-Que chicken and pineapple tacos

grilled chicken

I’ve seen this taco combination more than once around Austin but I had to head to a Salt Lake City blog for a recipe to share. Since SLC is my old stomping ground, and this same creative taco has been showing up around Austin, I’m going to declare it a Texas taco and include it. Bloggers Maria and Josh from Two Peas and Their Pod make this recipe super easy to whip up at home, so head on over and check it out.

4. Beef fajitas taco

fajitas tacos

No need for a recipe link for this one. This is small town Texas roadside taqueria fare.

Yes, it uses beef, but that’s where the similarity to fast food tacos ends. So here it goes. Cook up a batch of beef fajitas (beef strips, onions, peppers, lime juice and fajita seasonings, all cooked together fast and hot.) Chop them up fine, veggie and all. Put that onto a corn tortilla, then top it with some slow-grilled onions, lots of fresh cilantro, cojita cheese and a really nice, spicy salsa.

Now tell me that doesn’t beat the pants off a chain store drive-through taco.

3. Southern style fish tacos with Hoisin mayonnaise sauce

Catfish tacos

Another fusion taco that just simply works. This one comes from the blog Pinay in Texas, and was her suggestion for a Cinco de Mayo meal (it’s a big holiday in Texas, so no one takes the food choices lightly.) This is a catfish taco (thus the Southern bit of it), but make no mistake…the spices and seasonings make it pure taco and pure Texas.

2. Texas style Navajo tacos

Navajo taco

Not all tacos come to the table on flat tortillas or curved, crunchy shells. Some arrive on that melt-in-your-mouth treat known as “fry bread.” This puffy hot bread is the perfect base for layering with well-seasoned beans (vegetarian churro beans are my first choice), lettuce, avocado, tomato, onions and the hottest, chunkiest salasa you can find this side of the Rio Grande. Oh, and don’t forget a small mountain of the grated or crumbled soft cheese of your choice. Make your own or head to the Texas State Fair where a good dozen stands will be dishing them out.

1. Ice cream tacos

ice cream dessert taco

Who says tacos aren’t for dessert? Certainly not the people of Texas. They love filling up a sweet version of a taco shell with a scoop of Blue Bell ice cream, then decking it out with fruit, nuts and a good drizzle of chocolate sauce.

If you’re too far from the Lone Star state to find Blue Bell ice cream, you can use your favorite local brands. Or order up a custom flavor online to use as your signature dessert taco filling.

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This list of creative taco recipes is only the beginning. Get out your taco shells or tortillas and start creating.

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