Tacos are a beloved Mexican dish that usually consists of a filling wrapped in a small tortilla or taco shell. But what if you’re looking for a creative and tasty twist on this classic dish? Can you still enjoy tacos without shells or tortillas?
The answer is yes! There are plenty of delicious taco recipes that don’t require traditional shells and tortillas.
In this post, we’ll try seven delicious alternatives to traditional tacos that are sure to satisfy your cravings without breaking the carb bank.
Whether you’re following a gluten-free or low-carb diet, or just want to mix things up in the kitchen, these alternatives to traditional tacos are sure to be a hit. So grab your fillings and let’s get rolling!
What Are Taco Shells?
Taco shells are a popular part of Mexican food, and they are also an important part of Tex-Mex. A taco shell is simply a fried or baked tortilla that has been folded into the shape of a U or V, making it perfect for stuffing with fillings like lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, beans, and meat.
They come in many different varieties, including crunchy corn shells and soft flour tortillas.
Taco shells can be hard (crunchy) or soft, depending on how they’re cooked. Hard taco shells are produced from maize flour and cooked till crisp and able to retain their shape. Contrarily, soft taco shells are made of wheat flour and frequently grilled or steam-cooked until they are malleable.
The history of tacos is believed to date back to the 18th century, when Mexican silver miners enjoyed them as an easy meal on the go. Today, tacos are popular all over the world due to their versatility and convenience.
In addition to being incredibly tasty, they are also quite affordable and can be customized with whatever ingredients you’d like.
Substitutes for Traditional Taco Shells or Tortillas
1. Lettuce Wraps for Taco
Tacos without shells or tortillas may sound strange, but lettuce wraps are a delicious and healthy alternative.
Also known as ‘taco salads’, they are low in carbohydrates and offer the same great taste of tacos without all the calories.
Lettuce wraps can be made with all sorts of fillings and toppings, making them a great choice for anyone looking to make a tasty meal with minimal effort.
How to make lettuce wraps:
- Start by choosing a crisp, sturdy lettuce such as romaine or iceberg.
- Wash and dry the lettuce, then use a sharp knife to carefully cut off the base of the lettuce head so that the leaves can be easily separated.
- Next, prepare your filling. This can be any combination of meats, vegetables, and toppings that you would normally put in a taco.
- Grilled chicken, seasoned ground beef, and diced veggies are all great options.
- To assemble the lettuce wraps, place a small amount of filling in the center of a lettuce leaf and fold the sides up and over the filling.
- Alternatively, you can also slice the lettuce into thin strips and use it as a wrap in the same way you would use a tortilla.
Lettuce wraps are a refreshing and healthy alternative to traditional tacos and are perfect for a light summer meal. Give them a try the next time you’re in the mood for tacos but want to switch things up a bit!
2. Cabbage Leaves for Taco
One interesting alternative is to use cabbage leaves instead of a traditional tortilla or taco shells. This method of making tacos is not only a tasty and creative way to enjoy the dish, but it is also a great option for those following a gluten-free or low-carb diet.
How to make tacos with cabbage leaves:
- Simply wash and dry a head of cabbage.
- Carefully remove the outer leaves. These leaves can then be used as a wrapper for your taco filling.
- Fill each cabbage leaf with your desired filling, such as seasoned ground meat, beans, cheese, and vegetables.
- Fold the leaf over to enclose the filling.
- You can then grill, bake, or pan-fry the cabbage leaf tacos until they are hot and slightly crispy.
One of the great things about using cabbage leaves as a taco wrapper is that they are very flexible and easy to work with. They are also naturally flavorful and add a slight crunch to the dish.
3. Cornbread Cupcakes as Taco Shells
There are many creative and delicious ways to enjoy this dish without using a traditional tortilla or taco shell. You may use cornbread cupcakes as a base for your tacos instead of taco shells.
Cornbread cupcakes are a great option for tacos because they provide a delicious and slightly sweet base for the filling, while also adding a fun twist to the classic dish. They are also easy to make and can be prepared in advance, making them a convenient option for a quick and tasty taco night.
How to use cornbread cupcakes for your tacos:
- To make cornbread cupcakes, you can use a boxed mix or make your own cornbread from scratch.
- Prepare the batter according to the instructions.
- Pour it into a muffin tin to bake.
- Once the cornbread cupcakes are baked and cooled, you can use them as a base for your taco filling.
- Simply fill each cornbread cupcake with your desired filling, such as seasoned ground meat, beans, cheese, and vegetables.
- Top with your favorite taco toppings.
4. Baked Potato Skins
One tasty alternative is to use baked potato skins as a base for your tacos. Baked potato skins are a great option for tacos because they provide a hearty and flavorful base for the filling, while also adding a fun twist to the classic dish.
They are also a great way to use up leftover baked potatoes and can be prepared in advance, making them a convenient option for a quick and tasty taco night.
How to make baked potato skins for your tacos:
- You’ll need to start by baking a few potatoes in the oven until they are soft and tender.
- Once the potatoes are baked, allow them to cool.
- Cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving a thin layer of potato inside the skin.
- You can then brush the inside of the potato skins with oil or melted butter.
- Sprinkle with salt before baking them in the oven until they are crispy and golden brown.
- Once the potato skins are baked and cooled, you can use them as a base for your taco filling.
- Simply fill each potato skin with your desired filling, such as seasoned ground meat, beans, cheese, and vegetables, and top with your favorite taco toppings.
5. Sweet Potato Boats
Sweet potato boats are a tasty and healthy alternative to traditional starchy carbs, such as bread or rice. They are also a great way to add some extra nutrients to your meals.
They are packed with nutrients and provide a delicious and satisfying base for your filling. They are also easy to make and can be prepared in advance, making them a convenient option for a quick and tasty meal.
To make sweet potato boats for your taco, just follow these simple steps:
- You’ll need to start by baking a few sweet potatoes in the oven until they are soft and tender.
- Once the sweet potatoes are baked, allow them to cool
- Then cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh, leaving a thin layer of sweet potato inside the skin.
- You can then fill the sweet potato boats with your desired filling, such as seasoned ground meat, beans, cheese, and vegetables.
- There are endless options for filling sweet potato boats, so feel free to get creative and try out different combinations.
- You can also top the sweet potato boats with your favorite taco toppings, such as salsa, guacamole, or sour cream.
Sweet potato boats are a great option for a quick and healthy meal. So next time you’re looking for a healthy and delicious alternative to traditional carbs, consider giving sweet potato boats a try.
6. Zucchini Roll Ups
Zucchini roll ups are a tasty and healthy way to enjoy all of your favorite flavors in a convenient and portable form. They are also a great way to use up excess zucchini from your garden or farmer’s market.
These are simple tips to make zucchini roll ups for tacos:
- You’ll need to start by thinly slicing a few zucchinis lengthwise using a mandoline or a sharp knife.
- You can then spread your desired filling over each slice of zucchini, such as cream cheese, hummus, or a mixture of chopped vegetables.
- Once you have your filling in place, simply roll up the zucchini slices and secure them with a toothpick.
- You can then grill, bake, or pan-fry the zucchini roll ups until they are tender and slightly crispy.
Zucchini roll ups are a great option for a quick and healthy snack or appetizer. They are low in calories and carbs, and provide a delicious and satisfying way to enjoy your favorite flavors. They are also easy to make and can be prepared in advance, making them a convenient option for a quick and tasty snack.
7. Grilled Cheese Sandwich
The classic grilled cheese sandwich can easily be transformed into a taco-inspired meal. Grilled cheese sandwiches are a delicious and satisfying option for tacos because they provide a crispy and slightly gooey base for the filling.
If you’re looking to shake up your dinner routine, why not give this unique and delicious recipe a try?
This easy-to-follow recipe is sure to be a hit with taco lovers of all ages.
- You’ll need to start by making a few grilled cheese sandwiches using your favorite cheese and bread.
- You can then cut the grilled cheese sandwiches into small wedges or squares and use them as a base for your taco filling.
- Simply fill each grilled cheese wedge or square with your desired filling, such as seasoned ground meat, beans, cheese, and vegetables, and top with your favorite taco toppings.
So next time you’re in the mood for tacos, consider giving this creative and delicious twist a try. Just be sure to have some napkins on hand, as these tacos can get a little messy!