Taco meat is easy on a weeknight, even when you don’t have a packet of taco seasoning on hand. This Whole 30 compliant version comes together in a snap.
When Paul and I were doing Whole 30 in the summer of 2015, I started looking for ways to make healthier, Whole 30 compliant versions of our favorite foods. One of my favorites that I stumbled upon was a spice blend to make taco meat without using a taco seasoning packet from the store (which has sugar and other things in it that weren’t compliant with a Whole 30 diet). And I have to say, I kind of love being able to make taco meat from scratch. I get less annoyed with the number of jars of spices in my cupboards when I am actually going through and using them. It makes me feel more legit in the kitchen.
This is one of those staple recipes that we have kept on using post-Whole 30 that helps us eat cleaner. And I don’t know about you, but tacos are a go-to menu item for weeknights when I don’t really want to cook or didn’t plan ahead. I almost always have hamburger in the freezer that can be defrosted and turned into tacos in less than 20 minutes. That will certainly come in handy in less than a month (!?!) when Clara starts back at school (just half-day Kindergarten but still!) and our schedule starts getting more filled in. It’s also one of my favorite things to have as leftovers the next day.
Really, this recipe is easy to put together in a snap. It’s just a matter of pulling the right spice jars out of your cupboard beforehand and making sure you have meat defrosted. You just brown the ground beef in a pan, breaking it up into small chunks until it is no longer pink. Then you add tomato paste and water, measure and stir in all of the spices, let it simmer for 5 minutes, and that’s it! Perfect for weeknight tacos, taco salad, or on super nachos. Especially when you top them with the best guacamole ever.
Another nice thing about easy weeknight taco meat is that it is actually a dish that is easy for your kids to help with, as long as they are old enough to be safe around the stove. My girls LOVE measuring things for me and that’s basically what goes into preparing taco meat. And I remember being tasked with browning hamburger meat for tacos many, many times as a kid since I was the oldest girl in a family of seven. Clara (who is 5 1/2) is too young to do it unsupervised, but if I’m standing next to her prepping tomatoes and cheese and other taco fixings, she is getting responsible enough to watch the meat turn from pink to brown and stir in the seasonings without touching anything hot and it gives us time to work together side-by-side, which is always a good thing.
What are your go-to easy weeknight meals?
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/3-1/2 cup water
- 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
In a large pan over medium heat, brown the ground beef. Drain excess fat.
Add tomato paste, water and all the spices to the ground beef. Stir to mix them together, and bring to a simmer.
Cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes then remove from heat and use for tacos, nachos, or taco salad.
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