You know what I love? Tacos! For some reason, I get really hung up on fresh, healthy, tacos in the Spring time. And Spring is also time for another thing I love: grilling! It doesn't even matter what you're putting on the BBQ, as long as you're outside and there's sizzling and smokiness happening. Helps shake off those residual winter blues.
Last weekend I threw a little taco BBQ fiesta for my friends who took the hour-long train ride from the city to visit us. Call it an early Cinco de Mayo celebration, a BBQ, an early birthday party for my friend Bess, whatever. It was so fun and delicious.
I whipped up some extremely over-sweetened pineapple ginger punch with Prosecco. It's supposed to go with club soda, but I thought, genius that I am, I would serve it with sparkly. By round two everyone was exhausted from their sugar-high and my toddler (drinking straight punch) was spinning in circles and tumbling all over the place.
Aside from the super sweet welcome drinks, everything else was pretty healthy. Luckily, the chicken and shrimp were quick to grill, because the weather turned from sun to rain just as they were cooking. We got a little preview of BBQ season before we had to head inside. Nobody minded, because the tacos were delicious!
I stocked my taco bar with a mix of proteins, crunchy and colorful veggies, sour limes and tangy onions, contrasted with rich crema and spicy hot sauce. Yummy explosions of flavor and texture in every bite, customized for each plate, because that's what I love about tacos!
for 8-10 people
Most items can be prepped ahead of time and refrigerated overnight. When you're ready to eat, just throw the meat and fish on the grill, reheat the beans, and warm the tortillas for 1-2 minutes on the warming level of the grill.
Starter: Chips, salsa and guacamole
24 Multigrain Corn Tortillas (Trader Joe's)
Black Beans - Sauté 2 minced garlic cloves and 1 T onions in a dash of vegetable oil. Add 2 cans (rinsed/drained) black beans and 1 C water. Season to your liking with about 1 t cumin, 1 t oregano, 1/2 t garlic powder, 1/2 t turmeric, pinch of cayenne and salt and pepper. Simmer 30 minutes, covered.
Shrimp - 1 lb medium shrimp, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grilled 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, on a metal sheet pan with holes for the grill. (I used cleaned, pre-cooked, frozen shrimp for convenience)
Chicken - 2 lb boneless chicken breasts or tenders with Asado marinade (I used Trader Joe's Pollo Asado and it was delicious and easy). Grilled and sliced.
Purple Cabbage - 3 Cups, thinly sliced into shreds
Cilantro - 2 Cups, chopped
Tomatoes - 2 Cups, diced
Lime wedges - 4-5 limes
Pickled Onions 1-1/2 C (I followed - and basically halved - this recipe from Michael Symon, but used red wine vinegar as I prefer that)
Crema (or sour cream)
Hot Sauce (I'm addicted to Frank's Red Hot... so it was a giant Costco sized bottle)
If you're getting ready for a Cinco de Mayo feast, here are some other ideas you might like:
(crunchy tacos with beans, veggie grounds, guacamole)