Lettuce tacos? Why not, try them

I seem to be talking about tacos a lot lately, but that’s because I’m again enjoying them after finding a way to make them low-salt and low-fat. Using lettuce as the outer skin for a taco gets a lot of attention online, but I had never tried it until lately.

My verdict — I liked it and likely will try it again. True, there is shredded lettuce in the ingredients I put in, so it’s a bit like having a lettuce sandwich, but there are enough other ingredients to balance that out and keep it tasty.

I created my lettuce taco with this variety from Costco, which advertises it's well-suited to use for wraps.
I created my lettuce taco with this variety from Costco, which advertises it’s well-suited to use for wraps.
You can see the result here, it was very tasty.
You can see the result here, it was very tasty.

I used romaine lettuce hearts, a variety Costco sells that advertises on its packaging that it’s well-suited for wraps. It really was, the leaves are crisp and hold their own when filling is added. You can see one here along with my other alternative wraps, which I’ve written about before, a low-salt soft tortilla and one I tried to shape into a hard taco shell with mixed results.

This experience will get me to try to wrap other things in the romaine heart leaves, send me ideas that you’ve tried.
John

Food hack test: making tortillas into taco shells

Food hack was a new term to me until very recently. I wrote about 28 Brilliant Food Hacks that seemed like good ideas, including one in which you can turn a soft tortilla into a hard taco shell.

A brilliant food hack? Using a cup to turn a tortilla into a hard taco shells didn't go exactly as advertised.
A brilliant food hack? Using a cup to turn a tortilla into a hard taco shells didn’t go exactly as advertised.

But I tried that one recently and it left a bit to be desired. The problem may have been that the cup I used, you put the tortilla in a coffee cup and then put it a microwave to harden, was too small for the tortilla.

I started with these flat, low-salt tortilla shells from Trader Joe's.
I started with these flat, low-salt tortilla shells from Trader Joe’s.
...and ended up with this slightly round taco shell
…and ended up with this slightly round taco shell

You can see the result here, the tortilla curved on one side, the side in the cup, but remained largely open on the other. A second attempt in which I tried to push it deeper into the cup caused it to split in the middle.

Why not just buy taco shells? Because all I’ve seen are extremely high in salt but I have managed to find low-salt tortilla shells.

I’ll try this hack again with a deeper cup and see if that helps. It was fun to have a hard shell again, especially one that was low in salt, in which to put my low-fat ground turkey mixture.
John

Creating a low-salt, low-fat taco dinner

I’ve been on a quest recently to create low-salt, low-fat tacos, finding a variety of ingredients to do it ranging from Mrs Dash’s salt-free taco seasoning to low-salt tortillas at Whole Foods.

Now it’s time to make my taco dinner. I begin by browning a pound of extra-lean (96% lean) ground beef in the Mrs. Dash seasoning and water. I also cut up lettuce, low-salt olives, and tomatoes to add in.

Once the beef is done, it’s simply a matter of building your tacos. Use low-salt, low-fat tortillas from Whole Foods as the bae, add beef, lettuce, olives, tomatoes and top off with a low-sodium salsa such as Desert Peppers brand.

Use extra-lean ground beef and low-salt salsa, low-salt olives and low-salt tortillas.
Use extra-lean ground beef and low-salt salsa, low-salt olives and low-salt tortillas.

Here’s a quick ingredient review with nutritional information for each:

Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning
Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning
Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning Nutrition information
Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning Nutrition information

96% lean ground beef
96% lean ground beef
96% lean ground beef nutritional information
96% lean ground beef nutritional information

Desert Pepper low-sodium salsa
Desert Pepper low-sodium salsa
Desert Pepper salsa nutrition information
Desert Pepper salsa nutrition information

365 organic tortillas
365 organic tortillas
365 organic tortillas nutrition information
365 organic tortillas nutrition information

Low sodium olives will save you 25 mgs per serving. It can add up
Low sodium olives will save you 25 mgs per serving. It can add up

Finding low-salt tortillas to create low-salt tacos

Taco shells, especially the crispy kind, can be loaded with fat and salt. Old El Paso shells, as an example, have 7 grams of fat per three shells and 135 mgs of sodium. Double that for a typical full-sized serving and you see the fat and salt add up.

365 organic tortillas
365 organic tortillas

365 organic tortillas nutrition information
365 organic tortillas nutrition information

After finding Mrs. Dash made a salt-free taco seasoning, I’ve been on a quest to create a low-salt, low-fat taco. I’ve found low-salt salsa and hit upon using 96% lean ground beef to cut the fat. But I needed something low-salt and low-fat to wrap them in. I could have used Romaine lettuce leaves but I wanted something a bit more substantial, so I searched the aisles at several food stores before finding organic corn Tortillas at Whole Foods.

This handy offering (in the refrigerated case) has only 15 mgs of sodium in three tortillas and only 2 grams of fat. So six of these have only 30 mgs of sodium and 4 grams of fat.

If you’re avoiding corn in your diet, these are not for you. Total carb count is 28 grams of carbs in three shells here, or 56 grams if you eat six as I did. If corn isn’t an issue though, give them a try.
John

Salt-free taco seasoning from Mrs Dash, a start to your low-salt, low-fat tacos

Tacos were not on my food radar when I was an Italian-American kid growing up in Brooklyn. But I did start eating them after moving to the Midwest and became a fan before my angioplasty took Mexican dishes largely off my post-surgery eating menu.

I missed tacos, they remind me of fun meals I used to make with my kids, and so I was very excited to see that Mrs. Dash makes a salt-free taco seasoning mix.

Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning
Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning
Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning Nutrition information
Mrs. Dash Salt-free Taco Seasoning Nutrition information

You can see the nutrition information here, no salt, some sugar according to the ingredients list but not enough to put on the nutrition panel, and potassium chloride used instead of salt, or sodium chloride. If you have any potassium issues, you might want more information about how much is in this. But if not, this can be a first ingredient for some relatively low-salt, low-fat tacos. Continue reading “Salt-free taco seasoning from Mrs Dash, a start to your low-salt, low-fat tacos”

Fish tacos: here’s how to make them healthier

I recently came across this video on the Boston Globe site for what’s dubbed healthy fish tacos. You’ll have to watch to get the recipe and leave out the salt, but other than that, it sounds very simple.

Use some spray-on canola oil to cook your tilapia
Tilapia such as these would work for fish tacos.

To make it healthy, the recipe substitutes Swiss chard for a taco shell or soft taco, either of which is loaded with salt. It’s a variation of the lettuce wraps many places sell these days. Rather than Swiss chard, I’d try romaine lettuce or maybe radicchio leaves.

Fish that would work include tilapia, flounder or just about any white fish. Grill the fish, inside or out, following her instructions here. Enjoy!

John

 

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