These street-style turkey tacos are quick, spicy, and paleo-friendly too!
Growing up, the only connection I had with tacos was the Old El Paso taco kit that mom sometimes bought for Sunday night dinners. Inside the cardboard box we’d find a dozen pre-cooked and U-shaped crunchy taco shells, a packet of taco seasoning for the ground beef, and a packet of salsa. If we were lucky, all 12 shells were intact and we’d each get 3 tacos. I loved the crunch, but never did figure out how to eat those after they fell apart after the first bite. That was the extent of my Mexican food experience growing up in Connecticut.
Once I moved to Chicago in 1982, I was exposed to Mexican food in all its wonder. I learned how to make proper guacamole. I fell in love with quesadillas, enchiladas, and tamales. I had posole soup at Christmas. I drank atole and ponche and horchata. I even learned how to prepare cactus leaves (nopales).
But I still didn’t know what street tacos were until I moved to San Diego and truly experienced life in a border city. We have great street taco trucks and fish taco stands, where the base is a double layer of small, fresh corn tortillas, lightly grilled, then topped with a meat mixture, guacamole, cheese, and lettuce or cabbage and salsa. They’ve become a popular choice for catered parties.
For this recipe I took our old standby of ground turkey, added some simple seasonings, threw some shredded garden greens into the mix, and topped with pre-shredded cabbage mix for a quick dinner. That way you get two types of greens in your meal, so you can enjoy your tacos and know they’re packed with nutrition too. I only use one tortilla per taco to reduce the carbs. Look for organic corn tortillas to reduce your GMO corn intake. Corn tortillas are always low in sodium.
For the sauce I whisked Trader Joe’s chile pepper sauce into mayo (you can sub hot sauce or salsa). You can thin that with lime juice if you like it tart. Paleo peeps can roll their tacos in Savoy cabbage leaves instead of corn tortillas. Migraine peeps, skip the lime juice (and cheese), onion powder, and make sure your salsa doesn’t include onions.
paleo, low-sodium, migraine, gluten-free, celiac diets
Not recommended for:
vegan, vegetarian diets
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Spicy turkey street tacos
- 1 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
- 1 pound turkey (ground)
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cumin (dried)
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp onion powder (omit for migraine diet)
- 2 cups greens finely shredded
- 8 corn tortillas (sub Savoy cabbage leaves for paleo version)
- 1 package cabbage shredded
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Swirl to coat the pan.
- Add the turkey and brown, breaking it up with a spoon.
- Sprinkle the spices over the turkey evenly as it cooks. When the turkey is mostly cooked but still a little pink in spots, add the greens and continue to cook until the greens are wilted and the turkey is cooked through.
- Heat a flat griddle, grill pan, or burner to medium. Heat the tortillas for a couple of minutes on each side until golden and pliable.
- Assemble the tacos in this order: warm tortilla, generous scoop of turkey filling, small handful of shredded cabbage, drizzle of sauce. (Sauce described above the recipe.)