Home Heart Health Recipes Yes, Zucchini Taco Shells Are Now A Thing

Yes, Zucchini Taco Shells Are Now A Thing

10 min read

Why stop at Taco Tuesday? This fun-to-eat finger food isn’t just delicious, it’s also balanced and healthy—lean protein, tons of veggies, and carb-controlled tortillas. Make it your own with this easy mix-and-match primer.

Step one: Pick your shell

corn and flour tortillas

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Whether you prefer hard or soft, corn (loaded with fiber and magnesium) or flour (calcium and iron), the shell pulls it together. And you can create your own. Try this vitamin-rich homemade version.

Zucchini or Carrot Taco Shells

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups coarsely grated zucchini or carrots (2 medium zucchini or 1 lb carrots)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin

    Directions:

    1. Heat oven to 450°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
    2. Wrap zucchini or carrots with a clean kitchen towel and wring out as much excess moisture as possible. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with remaining ingredients.
    3. Evenly spread 1/4 cup portions of the mixture into thin circles on the prepared baking sheets, about 5 inches in diameter. Bake until brown around edges, about 15 minutes.
    4. Gently peel the rounds off the parchment paper and drape over the long handles of wooden spoons or kitchen utensils resting on the edge of a kitchen counter to cool completely for a soft taco shell. For a crisp shell, drape over the bar of an oven rack and bake 7 minutes more. Remove from oven and lay over long handles to cool.

      MAKES 6 SHELLS Per serving: 70 cal, 3 g fat (1.5 g sat), 6 g carbs, 2 g sugar, 232 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 6 g protein


      Step two: Pick your base

      cooked black beans, rice and corn

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      The heart of the taco, protein like chicken, turkey, or fish, can be packed in, but don’t forget about filling veggies. Here, ways to sneak more produce onto your plate.

      Red Cauliflower "Rice"

      In a food processor, pulse 1 medium head of cauliflower until it resembles grains of rice. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook 1/2 finely chopped red onion and 1/2 diced red bell pepper until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in 1 minced clove garlic and 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and kosher salt. Add 1/4 cup water, 1 packet Sazón Goya seasoning (4 g), and cauliflower. Cook, stirring frequently, until cauliflower is tender, 5 minutes.

      Black Beans with Peppers and Onions

      In a pot over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1/2 cup each chopped onion and red bell pepper, 1 minced clove garlic, and a pinch of kosher salt; cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup dry white wine and boil until almost dry, about 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup canned tomato sauce and 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and simmer. Add 1 can drained black beans (15 oz) and 1 cup water, bring to a boil, and cook until beans and water are the same level, about 5 minutes.

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      DIY Spice Mix: Combine 1 T chili powder; 2 tsp. cumin; 1 tsp each kosher salt, black pepper, and paprika; and 1/2 tsp. each onion powder, garlic powder, ground coriander, and dried oregano. Each batch is enough to season 1 pound of meat.

      Potato, Chickpea, and Onion Hash

      Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet. Add 1/2 diced yellow onion, 1 peeled and diced russet potato, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring, until onion softens, 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, cover, and cook until potato is soft, 10 minutes. Uncover, add 1 can drained chickpeas (15 oz) and, if you want, taco seasoning. Cook until onion and potato are browned.


      Step three: Drizzle on the sauce

      salsa pico de gallo guacamole

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      Opt for a classic salsa (pro tip: Check the refrigerated deli case for fresh ones) or whip up a flavorful creation.

      Pico de Gallo

      In a medium bowl, coarsely chop and combine 1 large tomato, 1/2 medium red onion, and 1/2 cup cilantro. Add 1 seeded and finely chopped jalapeño, 1 minced clove garlic, juice of 1 lime, and salt and black pepper to taste. Refrigerate to meld flavors, 20 minutes.

      No shame in going the hot sauce route (<3 you, Tabasco!). Plus, most sauces get their heat from capsaicin, an anti-inflammatory compound.

      Tomatillo Salsa

      Broil 1/2 pound husked and chopped tomatillos and 2 cloves garlic on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet until lightly charred and tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree with 1/2 cup chopped white onion, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/2 seeded jalapeño, juice of 1/2 lime, and salt and black pepper to taste.

      Creamy Chipotle Sauce

      Combine 1/2 cup plain 2% yogurt, 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (seeded for less heat), 1 clove garlic, and juice of 1/2 lime in a blender. Puree until smooth; season to taste with salt and more lime juice.


      Step four: Top it off

      hard tacos

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      A dollop of Greek yogurt here, a pinch of shredded cheese there…but what about some crunch? Slaw is a satisfying way to add texture. Two superstars to make:

      Red Cabbage Slaw

      Toss 2 cups shredded red cabbage with 1/4 cup shredded carrots, juice of 1 lime, a large pinch of kosher salt, and a few grinds black pepper. Let sit until cabbage has softened, about 30 minutes.

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      Green Cabbage Slaw

      Toss 2 cups shredded green cabbage with 1/2 cup pico de gallo and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper and let sit until cabbage has softened, about 30 minutes.


      This article originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of Women's Health. For more great advice, pick up a copy on newsstands now!

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