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15 Taco Recipes Under 300 Calories

by
author image Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN
Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a chef, nutritionist, recipe developer, media personality and award-winning cookbook author. She’s a cooking instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education and frequent contributor to Rachael Ray Every Day magazine. Her newest book is the second edition of "The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook." Instagram/Twitter: @jackienewgent

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15 Taco Recipes Under 300 Calories
The humble taco continues to inspire culinary creativity across the globe.

The humble taco continues to inspire culinary creativity across the globe — just take the Korean barbecue-filled tacos of Los Angeles and the chicken tikka masala tacos of New York City. The tortilla is more or less a canvas, ready to be filled with whatever ingredients your heart desires, no matter if that’s roasted sweet potatoes and salty feta or oven-fried avocado and spicy beet salsa.

The taco’s versatility makes it our go-to for an easy-to-fix, low-calorie dinner. Our approach is to start with a quality corn tortilla from the neighborhood Mexican market, and stuff it with veggies, lean meat, flavorful garnishes and bright salsas. We’ve got a taco to please anyone’s palate — a whopping 15 options, to be exact. Each provides a balance of colors, textures and flavors, and you can always add extra salsa if you’re a chili addict. Eight of these taco recipes are vegetarian, and all contain less than 300 calories per taco. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get this taco party started.

1. Oven-Crisped Avocado Tacos With Spicy Beet Pico de Gallo
Avocado Tacos With Spicy Beet Pico de Gallo

1 OVEN-CRISPED AVOCADO TACOS WITH SPICY BEET PICO DE GALLO

Avocados are creamy, tasty and full of good fats. And when breaded and “oven fried” until crisp, the fruit is even more addictive. Now imagine stuffing crispy avocado wedges into tortillas along with tangy goat cheese and a zingy pico de gallo salsa featuring beets. Research finds that beets have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory abilities, thanks to the betalain pigments they contain. That means these innovative tacos are both good for your health and excellent for your taste buds.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: Oven-Crisped Avocado Tacos With Spicy Beet Pico de Gallo

2. Sweet Potato Hash Tacos With Feta
Sweet Potato Hash Tacos With Feta

2  SWEET POTATO HASH TACOS WITH FETA

Hash browns aren’t just for breakfast. When you begin with sweet potatoes and add three different peppers, hash browns make for a tasty and colorful taco filling too. And when you finish the dish with tangy salsa verde, salty feta cheese and crunchy pistachios, you’ve got yourself a memorable and meatless taco experience. You’ll also appreciate getting plenty of plant-based nutrients, including a natural burst of beta carotene from orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and bell peppers. Pro tip: Leave the peel on your sweet potato: A recent study found that it may provide protection against various types of cancer.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: Sweet Potato Hash Tacos With Feta

3. Chipotle-Rubbed Cauliflower Tacos
Chipotle-Rubbed Cauliflower Tacos

3 CHIPOTLE-RUBBED CAULIFLOWER TACOS

Cauliflower is hearty and readily takes on flavor, which makes it an excellent taco filling. For this recipe, you’ll be stuffing tortillas with chipotle-seasoned cauliflower florets that are roasted until caramelized, along with fresh shredded red cabbage and a crave-worthy cilantro-lime crema. If you can’t find ground chipotle chili pepper, any chili powder will work fine here. The crema is light yet luscious and rich in gut-friendly probiotics, thanks to its Greek yogurt base.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: Chipotle-Rubbed Cauliflower Tacos

4. Purple Potato and Chicken Chorizo Tacos
Purple Potato and Chicken Chorizo Tacos

4 PURPLE POTATO AND CHICKEN CHORIZO TACOS

Here’s “meat and potatoes” done in a way you’ve never had it before. For starters, the meat is actually chicken chorizo, and the potatoes are gorgeous baby purple creamer potatoes. Add corn, cilantro and salsa verde to the mix to give the dish traditional Mexican flair. If that’s not enough to win you over, the research on purple potatoes sure will: Purple potatoes, which are packed with anthocyanins and other antioxidants, have shown effectiveness in lowering blood pressure for people with hypertension.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: Purple Potato and Chicken Chorizo Tacos

5. Chiles Toreados Tacos
Chiles Toreados Tacos

5 CHILES TOREADOS TACOS

These tacos are spicy, flavorful and vegan. The star ingredient is serrano peppers, which you’ll pan-char and dress with lime juice and coconut liquid aminos. Don’t have liquid aminos? A pinch of sea salt will suffice. These peppers provide plenty of spice from their capsaicin, a phytonutrient that may play a beneficial role in metabolic and vascular health. Finally, the tacos become meal-worthy by way of protein-rich vegetarian refried beans and are garnished with scallions, guacamole and pico de gallo.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: Chiles Toreados Tacos

6. Oaxacan BBQ Chicken and Poblano Soft Tacos
Oaxacan BBQ Chicken and Poblano Soft Tacos

6 OAXACAN BBQ CHICKEN AND POBLANO SOFT TACOS

Are you a fan of mole sauce? Then you need to make this chicken-and-chile taco recipe just as soon as possible! The chicken thighs are slathered with mole-inspired barbecue sauce and grilled to smoky perfection. The sauce is so easy to make: You just stir together your favorite barbecue sauce with chili pepper, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Recent research suggests that cinnamon may help improve parameters of metabolic syndrome, so go heavier on the cinnamon if you feel like it. Pair the flavorful, juicy chicken with grilled poblanos, queso Oaxaca, radishes, cilantro and lime juice, and you’ve got yourself a protein-rich meal to remember.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: Oaxacan BBQ Chicken and Poblano Soft Tacos

7. Grass-Fed Steak Tacos With Cowgirl Salsa
Grass-Fed Steak Tacos With Cowgirl Salsa

7 GRASS-FED STEAK TACOS WITH COWGIRL SALSA

If you like beef, here’s a healthy way to enjoy it. Start with grass-fed steak — it generally has more heart-friendly omega-3s than its conventional counterpart. Choose a lean cut, such as top sirloin, and keep the serving size to two ounces (like we do in this taco recipe). If you don’t eat beef, simply swap it out for chicken, fish or portobello mushroom strips. No matter which protein you choose, you’ll adore the cowgirl salsa on top; it’s a tasty mixture of corn, black beans, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro and lime. And don’t forget the avocado — it’ll add creaminess along with eye-friendly lutein.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: Grass-Fed Steak Tacos With Cowgirl Salsa

8. Breakfast Tacos With Eggs, Avocado and Cotija
Breakfast Tacos With Eggs, Avocado and Cotija

8  BREAKFAST TACOS WITH EGGS, AVOCADO AND COTIJA

Whoever said you should only eat tacos for dinner was straight-up wrong. They make a delicious and eye-catching breakfast or brunch entree. To fix ’em, you’ll spread tortillas with vegetarian refried beans, sprinkle with fresh cilantro, then top with fried eggs, sliced avocado, pico de gallo and cotija cheese (cotija is salty and crumbly, kind of like feta, and can be bought at your local Mexican grocery store). You’ll be brimming with energy after having one of these tacos, given that the tortillas provide good carbs, the eggs provide significant protein and the beans provide both. That’s a win-win-win!

Recipe & Nutritional Info: Breakfast Tacos With Eggs, Avocado and Cotija

9. Grilled Farmers Market Veggie Tacos
Grilled Farmers Market Veggie Tacos

9 GRILLED FARMERS MARKET VEGGIE TACOS

So you’ve gone to the farmers market and brought home a bag full of fresh, seasonal produce. Now what? This taco recipe uses zucchini, yellow squash and portobello mushrooms, but you can create your own veggie combo based on what’s locally available. Once you’ve figured that out, the rest is easy. Grill the veggies and stuff them into tortillas along with guacamole, spicy salsa, queso fresco and fresh cilantro or microgreens. (Microgreens are confetti-like baby greens that are intensely flavorful and rich in nutrients.) This is one seriously delicious way to get your veggies.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: Grilled Farmers Market Veggie Tacos

10. “Americanized” Vegetarian Crispy Tacos
“Americanized” Vegetarian Crispy Tacos

10 “AMERICANIZED” VEGETARIAN CRISPY TACOS

Yes, these may look like tacos from Taco Bell, but you can actually make these in your own kitchen. They’re filled with a “meaty” mix of well-seasoned, sauteed, diced red potatoes combined with red kidney beans, lime juice and fresh cilantro. You’ll stuff this delicious plant-based filling into crisp corn taco shells and top it all off with Greek yogurt, shredded lettuce, Mexican cheese and pico de gallo. These tacos are American-style, yet full of Mexican inspiration. As a bonus, there’s no meat here — and you won’t even miss it.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: “Americanized” Vegetarian Crispy Tacos

11. Pulled Pork Tacos With Pickled Onions
Pulled Pork Tacos With Pickled Onions

11 PULLED PORK TACOS WITH PICKLED ONIONS

Mexican carnitas are often made by braising pork in fat — along with herbs and spices — until tender, shredding the meat and roasting until crisp. Southern pulled pork refers to pork that’s cooked low and slow until it can be pulled apart; a vinegar-based sauce might be served with it. The pork used for these tacos is a hybrid of carnitas and Southern pulled pork. Here, lean pork is prepared with onion, garlic, oregano, ground coriander and 100 percent pomegranate juice until incredibly tender. It’s topped with avocado, pickled onions, cilantro and salsa verde to cut through the rich, flavorful meat. The best part: They’re packed with protein.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: Pulled Pork Tacos With Pickled Onions

12. Cajun Fish Sticks Tacos With Mango Salsa
Cajun Fish Sticks Tacos With Mango Salsa

12 CAJUN FISH STICKS TACOS WITH MANGO SALSA

Not all fish sticks are created equal. If you want a nutritionally sound product that isn’t full of unhealthy oils, go with Dr. Praeger’s, Ian’s, Natural Sea or Henry & Lisa’s. After you’ve sourced your sticks — or made your own — put together the salsa using mango, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and a pinch of salt. Next you’ll bake the fish sticks until crunchy and sprinkle them with Cajun seasoning. Top your fish tacos with refried vegetarian black beans, shredded red cabbage and creamy avocado and you’ve got an easy, flavorful and protein-packed meal.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: Cajun Fish Sticks Tacos With Mango Salsa

13. No-Cook Mexican Layer Dip Tacos
No-Cook Mexican Layer Dip Tacos

13 NO-COOK MEXICAN LAYER DIP TACOS

Chances are good that you’ve enjoyed Mexican seven-layer dip at a party, or perhaps you’ve made it for your own personal enjoyment. But instead of layering refried beans, guacamole, cheese and Greek yogurt into a dish, why not layer it into a taco shell? Be sure to add the dip to the shells just before serving so they stay crisp. To keep calories in check, enjoy just one and savor it slowly.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: No-Cook Mexican Layer Dip Tacos

14. Sweet-n-Spicy Chicken Tacos With Avocado-Peach Pico de Gallo
Sweet-n-Spicy Chicken Tacos With Avocado-Peach Pico de Gallo

14 SWEET-N-SPICY CHICKEN TACOS WITH AVOCADO-PEACH PICO DE GALLO

If you’re into anything that’s both sweet and spicy, this recipe is for you. The pico de gallo is the highlight, featuring sweet peach and spicy jalapeno along with avocado, garlic, lime juice and coriander. Before grilling, the chicken breast is brushed with a sweet-and-spicy marinade made with hot sauce and coconut nectar (or honey). The pico de gallo and chicken are then stuffed into corn tortillas and sprinkled with pumpkin seeds for crunch. Besides being memorable, these tacos are a scrumptious way to meet your daily fruit quota.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: Sweet-n-Spicy Chicken Tacos With Avocado-Peach Pico de Gallo

15. Grilled Tilapia Tacos With Red Cabbage Slaw
Grilled Tilapia Tacos With Red Cabbage Slaw

15 GRILLED TILAPIA TACOS WITH RED CABBAGE SLAW

For another take on a healthful fish taco, marinate tilapia filets with a simple chili-lime vinaigrette, then grill and flake it. Since the fish is light, it’s paired with flavorful ingredients that include red cabbage slaw. (Bonus: Cabbage contains sulforaphane, which is a cancer-protective plant nutrient.) The slaw is made by tossing together shredded red cabbage, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and sea salt. Finish these tilapia tacos with a luxurious avocado crema and you’ve got yourself a satisfying, colorful and protein-rich dish.

Recipe & Nutritional Info: Grilled Tilapia Tacos With Red Cabbage Slaw

What
Do YOU Think?
What Do YOU Think?

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

What’s your favorite taco filling? Do you prefer soft or crispy tacos? Did you know tacos could be healthy? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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