Tacos, tacos, tacos – everyone loves taco night. It’s our favorite night of the week around here. Taco night brings a bit of fun to the table. We just seem to be more relaxed and smile more when we have a big old taco in our hands. And best of all, no one complains about the menu on taco night.
A while back I saw a photo of baked tacos like these in the Whole Foods newsletter. Suddenly I had one of those ah-ha moments Oprah always talks about, you know? I was struck by the brilliance of the simplicity of the solution. You see, as much as we love taco night, it is hands down the messiest meal we make. I look forward to the time around the table passing around all the fixin’s for our tacos but I absolutely dread cleaning it all up. There is always salsa smeared all over the table, lettuce on the floor, and like a million plates, bowls, and spoons to hold all the toppings.
Assembling the tacos before they ever hit the table is a huge game changer for me. Huge! Instead of making multiple trips back and forth to grab the meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, and all the other things we need to make our tacos there is only one dish and everything is ready to go. Clean up is easier than ever, mostly because my family licks the dish clean.
The seasoning mix I use for these tacos is the same I use for almost any Mexican inspired dish I make. There is no need to buy those seasoning packets at the store full of MSG and silica (sand!). Just mix together a few teaspoons of seasonings you probably already have in your kitchen for a quick and easy seasoning blend. Plus you can customize your own flavors. Add more cayenne if you like it spicy, more cumin if you like it smoky. It’s so easy to make you’ll never want to go back to those chemicals again.
With beans for fiber and plenty of lettuce and tomatoes piled on top these tacos make healthy eating fun. This recipe makes 18 tacos, which will feed a crowd or give you plenty of leftovers for later. Just reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes and the tacos will be crunchy and ready to enjoy all over again.
Gluten Free Crunchy Baked Tacos
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1½ teaspoons chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup water
- 18 crunchy corn taco shells
- 1½ cups cheddar cheese, grated
- Your favorite toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place taco shells in a baking dish so they stand upright. (see photo above)
- Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat.
- Drain and return to pan, reduce heat to medium.
- Add black beans, chili powder, paprika, cumin, garlic powder, and salt to pan along with the water.
- Stir well and continue cooking until water has evaporated, about 3-4 minutes.
- Spoon beef mixture evenly into the taco shells.
- Top evenly with cheese.
- Bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
- Remove from oven and top as desired.