"Anyone that doesn't agree with leggings as pants can physically fight me.
And I'm going to win because I have a full range of motion due to the fact that I am wearing leggings as pants."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mexico City Style Tacos

Let me first start by saying that my kids love these tacos. One day Miranda, when she noticed that I was making them for dinner, said, "Sweet, I was thinking about those today at school and was hoping you'd make them tonight."


Secondly, this is one of my less meat recipes (as opposed to meatless), though I'll give options for all versions- from full meat to vegetarian.

For health, moral and environmental reasons I try to reduce the amount of meat we consume, cooking at least one meal a week that is completely vegetarian and the rest of the time making most meals around the concept of less meat, where the meat takes up less than a third of the meal.

Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wa") is awesome for doing this. And if you've never used quinoa this recipe is a great place to start. Also quinoa is really good for you. And tastes great.

My brother in law figured out the original, full meat recipe for these, using ground pork. They are great either way.

So let's get started, shall we?



-1 T vegetable oil
-half an onion (minced)
-1/3 pound of pork (you can buy it already ground or do what I do and just use one pork chop and grind it in the food processor)
-4 to 6 jalapenos, deseeded and chopped
-3 limes
-1 cup chopped cilantro
-1 and 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa (you'll most likely want to soak in cool water and drain before using... it has a coating that isn't always washed off in processing)
-3 cups water
-1 or 2 avocados
-optional- 1 t. bouillon or stock (I use beef Better Than Bouillon)

Note- The full meat version would use about a pound of ground pork and no quinoa, water or bouillon. The full vegetarian version would use about 2 cups quinoa, 4 cups water and no bouillon.

-If using the pork chop, cut it into 1 inch pieces and toss them in the food processor. Pulse 5 to 10 times, for one second intervals, until it looks like ground pork (cause um, yah, it is ground pork now).


-Add some oil to a pan, followed by the onion.  Cook until translucent.
-Add the pork, 1/2 cup of cilantro and 1/2 cup of the jalapeno to the pan. (Save the rest of the chopped cilantro and jalapenos for serving.)
-Cook, breaking up the clumps with your spoon, until the pork is no longer pink.


-Add the juice of one of the limes. (For the full meat version, you're done. Well, except for a bit of salt to taste, which you won't need if you're adding the bouillon with the quinoa in a moment.)
-Now add the quinoa...


-the water and the bouillon. (Or for the vegetarian version, start here, adding the cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, quinoa and water.)


-Cook at a low simmer for about 15 minutes, until the quinoa has absorbed all the water and become tender. You can tell it's done if the little curlicue part of the seeds have opened up. It will look like this.


-While it's cooking, I usually cut up the rest of the limes and the avocado and put all the toppings in individual bowls. I roll the warmed tortillas up in a damp dishtowel. Then everyone gets to make their own.


I just noticed the time stamp from this picture, where Joey's eating her first taco...


is exactly 3 minutes prior to this picture, where she's already making her second one.


Whether these are all pork, all quinoa, or somewhere in between, they go fast.


Kim, Rambling Family Manager said...

Wow, this looks good! I've been making quinoa quesadillas for some time now but I didn't flavor up the quinoa like you have, I just used plain cooked quinoa and added the fixins' on top. I am inspired! I'm so glad you included the veg option, too.

Dot said...

Tasty! I've used quinoa (the red kind) in beef picadillo before, and that worked really well also.

PS tweeted this from @foodwhirl :)

Fun Mama - Deanna said...

I love tacos. We've even learned to make our own shells (corn for me!). I use quinoa for stirfry sometimes, but had not thought to use it in tacos. We usually use ground beef or sauteed beef. I fell in love with carne asada tacos a few years ago. Yum.

FinnyKnits said...

Ooh! I've been keeping a look out for a good recipe to break Bubba into quinoa. I love that shit, but he's been sorta "Meh" on the idea.

I'm about this - thanks, doll!

Anonymous said...

I've been meaning to try quinoa, so I think this sounds like a delicious start! This is Melody. As usual, I can't remember my google password.

Candace said...

I have absolutely got to make these. They look delicious and are absolutely perfect to slow down our meat consumption around here. Thank you for sharing your recipe!