When I was a kid I loved my mom's tacos. One thing that made them so good was the way mom would get the oil very hot in her cast iron frying pan and quickly fry the corn tortillas to make shells, folding them over to be filled with spicy taco meat, lots of grated cheese, lettuce, hot sauce, and sometimes tomatoes or olives when the family budget was flush. When we ate mom's tacos, we had to hold them over a plate because so much grease would drip out!
Now flash forward quite a few years later, and I still love to make tacos, but the idea behind these Spicy Beef and Black Bean Soft Tacos with Cucumber, Tomato, and Lime Salsa is much different. These days I make tacos into a more healthful meal by using low-carb whole wheat flour tortillas instead of corn, combining ground beef with black beans for more fiber, using just a little cheese, and using a cucumber, tomato, and lime salsa to bump up the vegetables in the meal. Even though these tacos are much different than the tasty-but-greasy ones mom used to make, I promise you, they're quite delicious!
Heat oil in a heavy frying pan, add ground beef and about 2 T Kalyn's Taco Seasoning Mix (or your favorite brand) and cook until the meat is well browned.
While the meat cooks, rinse canned black beans with cold water and let them drain well. (Omit the beans and double the beef if you want a low-carb meal.)
When the meat is browned, add the black beans and one cup of water and let the mixture simmer until the water is evaporated. (Taste to see if you want more taco seasoning; I added one more tablespoon.)
While the meat-bean mixture simmers, chop cucumbers into very small pieces, and cut up one cup of diced tomatoes. Mix the diced cucumbers and tomatoes, chopped cilantro, sliced green onion, Green Tabasco Sauce, and lime juice to make the salsa.
Warm the tortillas in the microwave between two moist paper towels. (This takes barely a minute; don't leave them in there too long.) As soon as you take tortillas out of the microwave, fold them in half.
Open tortillas, cover one half with spicy taco and black bean mixture, and top with grated cheese. Then spoon a generous amount of salsa mixture over this, fold tortillas over and eat! (See suggestions in the recipe for other optional toppings.)
Spicy Beef and Black Bean Soft Tacos with Cucumber, Tomato, and Lime Salsa
(Makes 8 small tacos with six-inch tortilla shells; recipe created by Kalyn.)
1 lb. ground beef (10% fat or less)
1 tsp. olive oil (or slightly more, depending on your pan)
2-3 T Kalyn's Taco Seasoning Mix (or use your favorite packaged taco seasoning)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans
3 mini-cucumbers, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups chopped cucumber)
1 cup finely chopped fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
1 tsp. Green Tabasco Sauce
2 T fresh lime juice
3/4 - 1 cup grated lowfat cheese (I used mozzarella but this would also be good with Four Cheese Mexican Blend)
8 small whole wheat tortillas (six-inch size, or use the size you prefer)
Heat the oil in a heavy frying pan over medium heat, add the ground beef, crumbling apart with your fingers as you put it in the pan, sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning mix, and cook until the meat is well browned, about 5 minutes. (Use a metal turner to break the ground beef apart more as it cooks.)
While the meat cooks, put black beans into a colander placed in the sink, rinse with cold water until no more foam appears, and let beans drain. When beef is brown, add black beans and 1 cup of water, turn down heat to low, and let the mixture simmer until all the water has evaporated, about 10 minutes. (Taste the mixture and see if you want add more taco seasoning; I added one more tablespoon when I started simmering the meat.)
While the meat simmers, finely chop the cucumbers and tomatoes, chop cilantro (if using), and slice green onions. Put those ingredients in a medium-sized plastic bowl and stir in the Green Tabasco Sauce and lime juice to make the salsa.
When the meat is ready, get spray water bottle and two paper towels to use when heating the tortillas. Put one paper towel on a plate, spray with a little bit of water, put 4 tortillas on top of the towel, cover with second towel, and spray the top with a little more water. Put the plate in the microwave and cook 45 seconds to one minute, just until the tortillas feel hot to the touch. Remove tortillas from microwave and immediately fold each in half. (You can also wrap the tortillas in foil and heat in a toaster over for about 15 minutes if you don't have a microwave.)
Fill one side of each tortilla with the beef and black bean mixture and sprinkle on some grated cheese; then spoon on a generous amount of the salsa mixture. Fold tortillas over to eat.
Other toppings that might be good on these tacos include extra hot sauce, light sour cream or fat-free Greek yogurt, guacamole or sliced avocado, or sliced black olives.
Low-Carb Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
If you want to eat these for a low-carb meal, be sure to use low-carb tortillas and omit the beans. If made with low-carb whole wheat flour tortillas, low-fat ground beef, and low-fat cheese, these tacos would be a good choice for Phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use the Recipes by Diet Type photo index pages to find more recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to Follow Kalyn's Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I'm sharing there.
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you. Or if you're a member of Yummly, you can use the Yum button on my site to save the recipe and see the nutritional information there.
More Tasty Dinners with Mexican Flavors:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
The BEST Slow Cooker Mexican Recipes ~ Slow Cooker from Scratch
Taco Soup ~ Kalyn's Kitchen
Taco Casserole ~ Healthy. Delicious
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)