I love Mexican food. I could eat chips and guacamole all day long. Quesadillas, beans, chimichanga…I love it all. When I was pregnant with my son, the only true craving I had was for a giant margarita with lots of salt. What a sad craving for a pregnant woman!
One of the biggest adjustments I’ve had to make with my clean eating lifestyle has been with Mexican food. I used to eat a giant chimichanga (which is essentially a fried burrito) covered with queso and dip in refried beans covered in cheese. YIKES. Too many carbs, too much fat.
I’ve discovered that I can still enjoy my favorite part of Mexican food without compromising my eating plan. For me, it isn’t really about specific foods, but more about the flavors. Fresh cilantro, lots of cumin, sauteed onion and garlic–the flavors of my favorite Mexican dishes can easily be found or added to healthier options.
When I saw this recipe for Paleo Taco Bowls, I was so excited. I love me some carbs, but I prefer to save my carb portions for something a little more satisfying than a tortilla or chips, so eating the filling from a bowl is no problem for me. This recipe is full of veggies, so it gives some good volume without a ton of calories, and it is easily modified to add the more decadent ingredients depending on what your focus is with your eating. You can add grated sharp cheddar, or cubed avocado, or eat it as a burrito with a whole wheat tortilla. It’s a great base recipe and can be easily modified to include different proteins and even different veggies, like the tomato in the original recipe. Add more spices, don’t add any spices–it’s so easily adaptable. I want to try it with fresh jalapeno next time!
One thing that gave me the slighest moment of pause was the zucchini. “In a taco?” I thought. “I don’t know if the husband will eat that…” And then I decided to just go for it. Lol. Honestly, you really can’t taste “zucchini” at all. They absorb the flavor of everything else! My picky husband really enjoyed this meal and even said that he liked the zucchini in it because it added some “meaty” quality.
Busy Mom Tip: The most time consuming part of this recipe was chopping the veggies. This can be done the day before! Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also cook the turkey the day before and keep it in the fridge, or cook the turkey in a separate skillet while the veggies cook.
Clean Eating Taco Bowls (adapted from Sweet C’s Designs)
1 tsp coconut oil
1 white onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 small zucchini, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb lean ground turkey, browned
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Himalayan or sea salt
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, and zucchini. Cook until softened and onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add cooked ground turkey and stir to combine. Add all the spices and stir to evenly coat the veggie mixture with spices. Cook on med-low until turkey is heated through and flavors have had time to blend together, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure the veggies don’t stick to the pan.
Serve in bowls, lettuce wraps, whole wheat tortillas, or with whole wheat tortilla chips.
Makes roughly 4 servings. (I had one serving, the toddler had the equivalent of one serving, the husband had 1.5 servings, and there was enough for lunch the next day!)