Last Updated on April 30, 2020
While the world’s best tacos might be devoured late at night on a street corner in Mexico City, there’s really no wrong time or place to eat one. Appropriate for any meal; portable and versatile and inexpensive and delicious—tacos may actually be the perfect food.
So if Taco Tuesday hasn’t found its way into your kitchen’s weekly rotation yet, now’s the time. (Especially with Cinco de Mayo falling on a Tuesday this year.)
And we’re not just talking about seasoned ground beef in a hard corn shell—or even those filled with thin slices of marinated grilled beef (aka carne asada). Although, let’s be real, we grew up on these tacos and they have their place in the world.
The taco universe is wide and diverse—from scrambled eggs to wedges of chipotle-roasted squash or even fried chicken (really!). Almost everything tastes good when tucked inside a fresh corn or flour tortilla, spiked with heat from chiles, with fresh and pickled veg providing crunch and contrast.
Here are some of our favorites.
Though the traditional tacos al pastor found on seemingly every street corner in Mexico City are made with thin shavings of spit-roasted pork and chunks of fresh pineapple, you don’t need a spit to replicate these flavors at home.
Marinate pork tenderloin in lime juice, cumin, and brown sugar, then sear on a hot grill, and you’ll be close to the original. Cut fresh pineapple into thick rings and give them a quick turn on the grill to emphasize the smoke-tinged flavor—you could even try dicing the grilled pineapple and tossing it with minced jalapenos and plenty of lime juice to make a smoky-sweet salsa.
If you’re not ready to fire up the grill just yet, try this skillet-cooked pork tenderloin taco recipe, complete with canned pineapple for a super-quick version of this taco all-star.
Perhaps best known as the stuff in a can of chipotle peppers, adobo is a flexible and versatile sauce made of ingredients you probably have in your pantry—vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, and spices including paprika, which gives adobo its signature red hue.
Cauliflower simmered in adobo yields a rich and satisfying plant-based taco filling. Or, for something even more unique, try it with tofu.
Adobo sauce can also be used to braise chicken breasts or thighs for chicken tinga—the shredded meat is perfect with thinly sliced radishes, chopped onions and cilantro, and a slice or two of rich avocado.
Another version of chicken tinga simmers chicken breasts in a broth with onions, garlic, chopped tomatoes, and dried chipotle peppers. The tender meat is then shredded and can be paired with your favorite taco fillings. Bonus: This meat freezes well for future tacos, too.
Battered Fish Tacos
Hear us out. Frozen fish is an MVP in this kid-favorite weeknight meal.
Just toss a few pieces of battered white fish with a spice mix of cumin, paprika, and a pinch of cayenne, bake until crisp, then pair in a flour tortilla with spicy pico de gallo, some quick-pickled cabbage, and a generous dose of crema. Add a squeeze of lime at the end for a hit of acidity.
Truly, we could be happy eating these four types of taco on repeat every Tuesday. But you don’t need to stop there. When considering what a tortilla can handle, just ask yourself, will it taco? The answer is almost always yes.