6 Healthy Vegetarian Tacos and Tostadas
The taco is a home cook’s best friend if ever there was one. Warm tortillas, whether soft or crispy, can be the starting point for meals from breakfast through supper. And the possibilities for what gets tucked in there are endless. On any given week, I find myself fixing quick taco meals using whatever I have on hand. Most often, they go in the direction of healthy vegetarian tacos filled with everything from fermented cabbage to black beans to eggs scrambled with leafy greens. It occurred to me recently that I have amassed a small collection of these meatless taco recipes and they are well worth sharing. Below you’ll find 6 Healthy Vegetarian Tacos (technically 5, since one of the recipes is a tostada).
Essentials for Healthy Vegetarian Tacos
Before we get to the recipes, I figured I’d share a few pointers for how to create your own vegetarian tacos. The basic formula is tortilla plus any vegetarian filling, but a truly exceptional taco needs to check a few additional boxes. It should have…
Something Creamy — Avocado, sour cream, crema, crème fraîche, melted cheese, and guacamole all qualify
Something Spicy — A hit of heat is a taco “must”, but it’s up to you how fiery you want to go. Some of my favorite ways to spice up tacos include taco sauce (Cholula and Tapatia are refrigerator staples), salsa (roasted, fresh, and salsa verde are all terrific), pickled jalapeños, thinly sliced fresh jalapeños, chipotle chiles en adobo (usually mashed and stirred into sour cream or crema), and cayenne pepper.
Something Crunchy — I love to get my corn tortillas crispy in a lightly oiled, piping hot skillet before I add my fillings. Other crunchy additions I favor are shredded cabbage, chopped hearts of romaine, shredded carrots, and thinly sliced cucumber.
Something Tangy — This typically comes in the form of a big squeeze of lime juice, but I also like pickled onions as well as the tangy funk of fermented vegetables (such as this one by Wild Brine).
6 Healthy Vegetarian Tacos
This is about as simple as it gets when it comes to tacos. I’ve been making these for two decades and the recipe remains one that I return to time and again.
These were inspired by scrumptious tostadas I ate at Rancho La Puerta, a wellness retreat in Mexico where I’ve taught cooking a few times. Feel free to turn them into tacos instead of tostadas using either corn or flour tortillas.
This is a go-to breakfast taco I make on the regular, but there’s no reason it can’t qualify for lunch or dinner. Feel free to layer in other goodies, such as avocado, cooked vegetables, or shredded cabbage.
Arguably my favorite of this vegetarian line-up, I love how the sweetness of the squash plays against the heat of salsa. The quick pickled onions are a must!
The flavor profile of these nourishing tacos depart wildly from your typical Mexican seasonings. They’re filled with lentils instead of beans, seasoned like an Indian daal, and finished with a swirl of yogurt instead of sour cream or crema. Delish!
It’s all about the tangy, delicious homemade salsa in these gloriously green tacos. Double the salsa recipe to spoon over scrambled eggs or turn into healthyish homemade nachos later in the week.