Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Low Calorie Black Bean & Quinoa Crunchy Tacos


  Okay, confession time. This is a big one, so brace yourselves. My favorite fast food item? Beef crunchy tacos from a certain well known chain restaurant, that not a soul living in CA would dare call Mexican food. I wish I was kidding. The soft warm meat-like filling, crunchy shell, and shredded cheese make my heart skip a a beat and make my stomach cry out with gratitude. The only downside? They're 170 calories each, with 10 grams of fat. I could easily polish off one of those variety boxes of 12, without help. Alright that might be a slight exaggeration, but I really do love them.

  While grocery shopping a few weeks ago I picked up a box of crunchy taco shells and realized that I could eat three of the shells for only 150 calories. All I needed was some low calorie protein packed fillers and I had myself a meal! Black beans and quinoa have a fairly decent amount of protein, but more importantly they're super low in fat and both contain fiber! Here's my take on some low fat, low calorie, but still delicious vegetarian crunchy tacos:

Black Bean & Quinoa Crunchy Tacos
  • 3 Crunchy Taco Shells (150 calories)
  • heaping 1/3 c. cooked Quinoa (85 calories)
  • 1/4 c. no salt added canned Black Beans (55 calories)
  • 3 tbsp plain non-fat Greek Yogurt (24 calories)
  • 2 tbsp diced or mashed Avocado (50 calories)
  • 2 tbsp finely shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese (55 calories)
  • 1 tbsp diced fresh Tomato (3 calories)
  • 1 tsp Taco Seasoning (8 calories)
  • shredded Iceberg Lettuce, as much as you'd like (basically 0 calories)
  • Hot Sauce, to taste (0 calories)
Preparation & Cooking Instructions

  In a small sauce pan add the cooked quinoa, black beans, taco seasoning and a small splash of water. Cook on medium-low heat until heated through and aromatic. You can make your own taco seasoning with equal parts: cumin, coriander, and chili powder. That makes a very basic base, you can add garlic, onion, and herbs as you see fit. Spread 1 tbsp Greek yogurt on each shell and then fill with the taco mixture. Top with fresh tomato, shredded lettuce, avocado, shredded cheese, and as much hot sauce as you'd like. Super quick and easy because you don't need to cook any meat. This can also be made with chicken, beef, or fish depending on what you're in the mood for. I just like to keep it simple.

Nutritional breakdown per taco: 143 calories, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of sugar, 6 grams of protein, and and 6 grams of fat. It might only be a slight calorie difference between the beef crunchy tacos, but these are much easier on your digestion and lower in sodium. Hope you enjoy!

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