"As long as tacos exist, the world is a good place," says my friend Nathan, who claims to exist on a diet composed mainly of the classic Mexican dish.
In case you haven’t heard, Thursday is National Taco Day — which means the world is going to be an extra-good place. The best way to celebrate? Eat as many tacos as possible. In fact, we’ve made it easy for you. Our assembly of recipes ranges from a classic carne asada to a vegan chorizo. What about breakfast? We have that covered, too.
Emily Young, Times correspondent
Become a taco champion with these breakfast tacos, stuffed with fresh berries and ricotta cheese. Start by immersing fresh berries of your choice in a sweet and tangy dressing. To make the dressing, whisk together the following: 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside. Wash your chosen fresh fruit. The recipe recommends ¾ cup raspberries, ¾ cup blackberries and ¾ cup blueberries, but you can substitute with whatever fruit is in season (peaches, strawberries, etc). Toss with the dressing. In a dry skillet, heat 6 soft flour tortillas, the 6-inch size. When they’re warm, spread 1 cup ricotta cheese evenly among the tortillas and top with the berries. Serves 3. Recipe adapted from Food Fanatic.
Grilled Carne Asada Tacos
This recipe is a great example of a simple taco done right. It has only one main ingredient: steak, seasoned with garlic and spices, and grilled to tender perfection. Garnish with your favorite toppings, but be sure to let the flavor of the carne asada shine. Heat a charcoal or gas grill. Rub 2 pounds skirt steak with 1 clove crushed garlic. Then season steak with a spice mixture made with 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground oregano, ½ teaspoon cayenne, salt and pepper. Let steak sit until you’re ready to grill. Grill steak 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Slice the meat and use it to fill 6 warmed taco shells of your choice — soft or hard. Sprinkle tacos with your favorite toppings: a smattering of diced tomatoes, some sliced avocado, a dash of sour cream, a sprig of fresh cilantro. Serves 6. Recipe adapted from the New York Times.
Vegetarian Mushroom and Onion Tacos
Looking for a meatless taco? This one is for you. First, rinse off 1 pound cremini, white button or oyster mushrooms. Then, trim the stems and thinly slice the mushrooms. Next, chop 1 chipotle chile, canned in adobo. Remove the seeds, too, and set aside. Place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil. Add 1 small onion, thinly sliced. Cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add your mushrooms and turn the heat up to medium-high. Keep stirring as they cook. When the mushrooms soften and begin to sweat, turn the heat back to medium. Add ½ teaspoon salt, along with 1 to 2 minced garlic cloves and the chipotle chile. Continue to cook until the mushroom liquid has evaporated from the pan, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro or flat-leaf parsley. Adjust seasonings to taste. Heat 8 corn tortillas, 2 or 3 at a time, in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Top each one with a spoonful of mushrooms. Crumble on top your cheese of choice: 2 to 3 ounces queso fresco or feta. Fold the filled tortillas in half. Serve with salsa, if desired. Serves 8. Recipe adapted from the New York Times.e_SClBVegan Tacos With Soy Chorizo
One of the best things about tacos is how customizable they are. This vegan version uses soy chorizo as its main protein. (You can make them carnivore-friendly by using regular chorizo or sausage.) Seasoned with jalapeno and onion, it’s a delicious alternative to the classic meat taco. Slice ½ onion and chop 1 jalapeno, removing the seeds. Pour 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet. Over medium heat, saute the onion and the jalapeno in the oil. It should take about 10 minutes for them to become tender. Next, add 1 (12-ounce package) soy chorizo, casing removed. Stirring often, let it cook until it begins to brown in spots, about 5 minutes. In a separate saucepan, cook 1 16-ounce can vegetarian refried black beans. Keep the beans at low heat and stir occasionally until heated through. Warm up 12 corn tortillas in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Stack two on top of each other, so you have 6 servings. Top tortillas with the beans, soy chorizo, some diced onion and chopped fresh cilantro. Serves 6. Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit.
This mango margarita is a sweet — and strong — twist on the classic accompaniment to tacos. Feel free to tweak the recipe depending on what kind of mango you use. With fresh mango, you’ll want to add granulated sugar. But canned mango, already syrupy, will need much less — taste it first and determine how sweet you like the drink. Frozen mango, already slushy, may require less ice. You get the idea. Begin by zesting two limes into a small bowl. Then, squeeze the juice from those limes into a separate small bowl and set aside, along with the used lime wedges — you’ll use them to moisten the glasses later. Add 2 tablespoons coarse sugar to the zest. Drain two (20-ounce) jars mango chunks (or the same amount of canned mangoes), or chop 3 or 4 fresh mangoes. Add mango to a blender and fill with ice. Pour in 1?½ cups tequila, 1?½ cups triple sec and the lime juice. Add ½ cup granulated sugar, or to taste. Blend. It’s okay if it’s thick, but you want it to be completely smooth. If necessary, add more ice. To serve, rub the rims of the glasses with the lime wedges, then dip them in the lime zest and sugar mixture. Pour the drinks and serve immediately. Serves 8. Recipe adapted from Food Network.
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