The Perfect Diabetes Comfort Food Collection: 9 Essential Recipes You Need To Create 90 Amazing Complete Meals

Chapter 9: Tacos

Basic Beef Tacos

Chicken Tacos

Pork Tacos

Blackened Fish Tacos

Shrimp and Fruit Tacos

Tofu Tacos

Black Bean Tacos

Portobello Mushroom and Onion Tacos

Roasted Pepper and Cherry Tomato Salsa

Mango Pineapple Salsa

The Principles of Taco Making

Whether it’s rolled or folded, the taco is the epitome of the perfect meal—lean protein, smart carbohydrates, and healthy fats all stuffed together as one. While there are endless varieties of tacos and several methods to put a taco together, here are my basic principles.

The Tortilla

Tortillas were born of necessity! Mexicans created masa, a moist dough made from ground lime-soaked corn kernels. The masa was shaped into discs and toasted. The result was a good-tasting, portable tortilla. I opt for using corn tortillas as they are healthier than tortillas made from white flour. They are also smaller, so we can keep the calories and carbohydrates under control.

I give instructions in every taco recipe to toast the tortilla in an ungreased skillet. I find this gives the tortilla a nice flavor and the method is quick. If you want to increase the volume of any recipe and use more tortillas, stack them in foil and heat at 350°F for about 15 minutes. Be sure not to keep heating a tortilla longer than necessary or it will become hard and brittle.

There are very good tortillas on the market these days. You can even freeze them for later use. They will last a few months.

Seasoning Mix

I’ve repeated the same seasoning mix throughout most of the recipes. This way, you can make up a batch of the mix anytime and you’ll always have that part of the recipe ready when you are set to make tacos. There is absolutely no need to purchase premixed seasonings. They are often loaded with unnecessary sodium. My basic mix is chili powder, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. The key to a really great-tasting taco is to not overpower the flavor with too many seasonings.

Be sure to use ground spices that aren’t more than a year old for best results. You can make a big batch of the seasoning mix, place in a freezer bag and store in the freezer. You can keep the mix for up to a year without sacrificing too much flavor.

A few of the seasoning mixes in this chapter call for chipotle chili powder. This type of chili powder is slightly smoky, yet has a pleasant fruity undertone. If you can’t find it, regular chili powder is fine. If you could grind your own cumin from cumin seeds, all the better. Simply add the cumin seeds to a coffee or spice grinder and grind to a powder. Cumin in absolutely heavenly ground by your own hand! Choose either sweet paprika or smoked. Always use freshly ground black pepper.

The Sauce

For the first three recipes—beef, chicken, and pork tacos—I created a gently spiced tomato-onion sauce, which is an excellent complement to these lean proteins. Using fresh tomatoes and chiles as a base, these sauces can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for a week or frozen for up to 6 months. I used mild Anaheim chiles for both the beef and chicken tacos, but switched it up and used jalapeños for the pork tacos. Feel free to use any fresh chiles you like. If you wish to use dried chiles, just soak them for 10 minutes in very hot water to rehydrate, and then use as you would fresh chiles.

The seasonings of ginger, cloves, and cinnamon may at first seem odd in a sauce, but they really complement the spices in the seasoning mix quite well, so don’t omit them.

This sauce is very versatile and can be used beyond taco making. Simmer whole breasts of chicken, lean pork loin chops, or beef filet in the sauce for a fantastic main meal.

Some of the other tacos are actually better off without an actual sauce. In these cases, you will find the main protein is just lightly tossed in seasonings and then quickly cooked.

Garnishes

Many would argue that the garnishes are what makes a taco. I think all a good taco needs is a sturdy protein coated with great spices and a fresh tortilla with clean and simple garnishes.

So I just offer up lettuce, tomatoes, and some sour cream for the most part. For some of these recipes, I also suggest a good salsa or cabbage in place of the lettuce. At the end of this chapter, there are two great recipes for homemade salsas that are more robust than anything commercially prepared.

Basic Beef Tacos

Serves: 8 | Serving size: 1 taco (sauce yields 5 cups) | Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 1 hour 20 minutes

For beef tacos, I use lean ground beef, as it’s simple to cook and easy to eat. Feel free to use thin slices of lean beef, such as sirloin or top round instead. Partially freeze the meat, and then slice it very thin and sauté with the onions and peppers. When selecting Anaheim chilies, look for bright shiny skins with good color that feel heavy for their size.

Sauce

3 pounds fresh tomatoes, cored and quartered

2 Anaheim chilies, stemmed and seeded

1 large onion, quartered

1 garlic clove

1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Meat mixture

1 pound lean ground beef

1 large onion, chopped

1 green or red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

Seasoning Mix

1 1/2 teaspoons hot or mild chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 small corn tortillas

Garnish

1 cup shredded romaine lettuce

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

3 medium tomatoes, cored and diced

1/2 cup commercial salsa

1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt or fat-free sour cream

1. Add the tomatoes, chiles, onion, and garlic to a blender and puree. Add the puree to a saucepan and add in the remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour until thick.

2. Prepare the beef mixture. In a large 12-inch skillet, cook the beef over medium heat for about 5–6 minutes until cooked through. Remove the beef from the skillet to a plate with a slotted spoon and set aside.

3. Add the onion, pepper, and garlic to the skillet and sauté for 5–6 minutes until the onions are soft.

4. Add back the beef. Combine the ingredients for the seasoning mix and add to the beef and sauté for 1 minute. Add about 1 cup of the chile sauce to the meat (reserve the remaining sauce for another use) and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.

5. While the sauce simmers, add a corn tortilla to an ungreased skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 30 seconds per side. Keep warm.

6. To serve, spoon the beef mixture into a warmed corn tortilla. Top with your choice of garnishes.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 2 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Protein, lean; 1 Fat

Calories 210; Calories from Fat 50; Total Fat 6.0 g; Saturated Fat 2.4 g; Trans Fat 0.2 g; Cholesterol 40 mg; Sodium 220 mg; Potassium 630 mg; Total Carbohydrate 24 g; Dietary Fiber 4 g; Sugars 7 g; Protein 16 g; Phosphorus 275 mg

Sides

Zucchini

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup zucchini

1. Steam zucchini and serve alongside taco and apple.

Exchanges / Choices: Free food

Calories 15; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 240 mg; Total Carbohydrate 2 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 35 mg

Apple

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 apple

1 small apple

1. Slice apple and serve alongside tacos and zucchini.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Fruit

Calories 50; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 110 mg; Total Carbohydrate 14 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Sugars 11 g; Protein 0 g; Phosphorus 10 mg

Chicken Tacos

Chicken Tacos

Serves: 8 | Serving size: 1 taco | Prep time: 20 minutes + marinate time | Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes

I chose chicken thighs for this taco filling, as the spicy chile sauce pairs better with it than chicken breasts. Feel free to use chicken breasts if you prefer. The difference in the method between the Basic Beef Tacos and these Chicken Tacos is that the chicken will marinate in the spice mixture. Chicken is blander in taste than beef, and it benefits greatly from a nice soak in a lime juice–laced spice blend. You can also prepare just the chicken filling (leave out the tortillas) and serve it with a few vegetables on the side for a nice lean, but definitely tasty, meal.

Chile Sauce

3 pounds fresh tomatoes, cored and quartered

2 Anaheim chilies, stemmed and seeded

1 large onion, quartered

1 garlic clove

1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips

Seasoning Mix

1 1/2 teaspoons hot or mild chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 small corn tortillas

Garnish

1 cup shredded romaine lettuce

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

3 medium tomatoes, cored and diced

1/2 cup commercial salsa

1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt or fat-free sour cream

1. Add the tomatoes, chilies, onion, and garlic to a blender and puree. Add the puree to a saucepan and add in the remaining chile sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour until thick.

2. In a bowl, add the chicken. Combine the ingredients for the seasoning mix and add to the chicken. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sauté for about 6–8 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, plate, and set aside.

4. Add the onions to the pan and sauté on medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the chicken back to the skillet and add 2/3 cup of chili sauce to the pan. Simmer the chicken for 10 minutes.

5. While the chicken simmers, add a corn tortilla to an ungreased skillet and cook over medium high heat for 30 seconds per side. Keep warm.

6. Spoon the chicken mixture into a warmed corn tortilla. Top with your choice of garnishes.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 2 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Protein, lean; 1 Fat

Calories 210; Calories from Fat 60; Total Fat 7.0 g; Saturated Fat 2.2 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 55 mg; Sodium 220 mg; Potassium 510 mg; Total Carbohydrate 23 g; Dietary Fiber 4 g; Sugars 6 g; Protein 15 g; Phosphorus 265 mg

Sides

Pineapple

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup fresh pineapple

1. Serve pineapple alongside taco and green beans.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Fruit

Calories 40; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 90 mg; Total Carbohydrate 11 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 8 g; Protein 0 g; Phosphorus 5 mg

Green Beans

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup green beans

1. Steam green beans and serve alongside tacos and pineapple.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

Calories 20; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 90 mg; Total Carbohydrate 5 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 20 mg

Pork Tacos

Serves: 8 | Serving size: 1 taco | Prep time: 20 minutes + marinate time | Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Just like the Chicken Tacos, you can prepare just the pork portion of the recipe and serve with a crisp salad for a thoroughly satisfying meal.

Chile sauce

3 pounds fresh tomatoes, cored and quartered

1 jalapeño chili, stemmed and seeded (if desired)

1 large onion, quartered

1 garlic clove

1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1 pound lean pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch chunks

Seasoning Mix

2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Juice of 1 orange

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 small corn tortillas

Garnishes

1 cup shredded romaine lettuce

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

3 medium tomatoes, cored and diced

1/2 cup commercial salsa

1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt or fat-free sour cream

1. Add the tomatoes, chiles, onion, and garlic to a blender and puree. Add the puree to a saucepan and add in the remaining ingredients for the chile sauce. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour until thick.

2. Place the pork in a small bowl. Combine the ingredients for the seasoning mix and add to the pork. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and sauté for about 6–8 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Remove the pork to a plate with a slotted spoon, set aside.

4. Add the onions to the pan and sauté on medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add back the pork to the skillet and add 2/3 cup of the chili sauce to the pan. Simmer the pork for 10 minutes.

5. While the pork simmers, add a corn tortilla to an ungreased skillet and cook over medium-high heat for 30 seconds per side. Keep warm.

6. To serve, spoon the pork mixture into a warmed corn tortilla. Top with your choice of garnishes.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 2 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Protein, lean; 1 Fat

Calories 200; Calories from Fat 50; Total Fat 6.0 g; Saturated Fat 1.7 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 35 mg; Sodium 210 mg; Potassium 580 mg; Total Carbohydrate 23 g; Dietary Fiber 4 g; Sugars 6 g; Protein 16 g; Phosphorus 285 mg

Sides

Steamed Peppers

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/4 cup sliced red bell pepper

1/4 cup sliced green bell pepper

Pinch oregano

1. Steam peppers and top with a pinch of oregano.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

Calories 20; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 115 mg; Total Carbohydrate 5 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 10 mg

Orange

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 orange

1 small orange

1. Slice orange and serve alongside tacos and steamed peppers.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Fruit

Calories 45; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 170 mg; Total Carbohydrate 11 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 9 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 15 mg

Blackened Fish Tacos

Serves: 6 | Serving size: 1 taco | Prep time: 30 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes

I suggest adding a cast iron skillet to your kitchen equipment collection, if you don’t already own one, as this recipe really works best when one is used. The dark surface of the pan coupled with the spice mixture makes a true blackened fish. This method deepens the flavor and the blackening mixture is mostly spices and herbs with just a tiny touch of salt added. Other fish varieties that work well blackened are grouper and sea bass.

Seasoning Mix

2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 pound fish filets such as mahi, red snapper, or tilapia

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

Juice of 1 lime

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Garnishes

1 cup shredded romaine lettuce or green cabbage

3 fresh medium tomatoes, diced

1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt or nonfat sour cream

1. Combine the seasoning mix. Coat the fish filets with the seasoning mix and let stand on a plate at room temperature for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet, preferably cast iron. Add the onion and sauté on medium heat for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Remove the onions and garlic from the pan to a plate and set aside.

3 Add the remaining oil to the pan. Sauté the fish on both sides for about 4–5 minutes per side until cooked through. Remove the fish from the skillet and cut into chunks. Mix the fish with the lime juice.

4. Heat the tortillas, one at a time, in an ungreased skillet over medium-high heat for 30 seconds per side.

5. To serve, add the fish and onion to the tortillas and top with your choice of garnishes.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Protein, lean; 1/2 Fat

Calories 170; Calories from Fat 45; Total Fat 5.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.5 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 45 mg; Sodium 140 mg; Potassium 530 mg; Total Carbohydrate 19 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Sugars 4 g; Protein 14 g; Phosphorus 215 mg

Sides

Zucchini

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup zucchini

1. Steam zucchini and serve alongside tacos and grapes.

Exchanges / Choices: Free food

Calories 15; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 240 mg; Total Carbohydrate 2 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 35 mg

Red Grapes

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 12 grapes

12 grapes

1. Serve grapes alongside tacos and zucchini.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Fruit

Calories 40; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 115 mg; Total Carbohydrate 11 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 9 g; Protein 0 g; Phosphorus 10 mg

Shrimp and Fruit Tacos

Shrimp and Fruit Tacos

Serves: 4 | Serving size: 1 taco | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time: 5 minutes

Both mangoes and avocados have the same indicator of ripeness; press the skin on each and it should give just a little. Look for well-rounded mangoes that feel heavy for their size. While most mangoes have a beautiful red and yellow skin color, color isn’t always an indicator of ripeness as some ripe mangoes retain quite a bit of green color on the outside. Better to choose large mangoes that yield a lot of fruit. In addition to pressing on the skin of an avocado, flick off the stem end. Underneath you should find the color green indicating your avocado is ready to eat.

Seasoning Mix

2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 1/4 pounds large peeled and deveined shrimp

1 tablespoon olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1 large mango, peeled and cut into thin slices

1 small avocado, peeled and cut into thin slices

Garnishes

1 cup shredded romaine lettuce

3 fresh medium tomatoes, cored and diced

1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt or nonfat sour cream

1. Combine the ingredients in the seasoning mix and add the shrimp. Toss to coat.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the shrimp and sauté for 4–5 minutes until shrimp are cooked through. Sprinkle with lime juice and remove from the heat.

3. Heat the corn tortillas one at a time in an ungreased skillet for 30 seconds per side.

4. To serve, add the shrimp to the tortilla and top with mango and avocado. Garnish with lettuce, tomatoes, and yogurt or sour cream.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 1/2 Fruit; 2 Protein, lean

Calories 210; Calories from Fat 45; Total Fat 5.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.7 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 140 mg; Sodium 180 mg; Potassium 550 mg; Total Carbohydrate 23 g; Dietary Fiber 4 g; Sugars 8 g; Protein 21 g; Phosphorus 310 mg

Sides

Fresh Spinach Salad

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

1 cup fresh spinach leaves

5 cherry tomatoes, halved 

1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced 

1 teaspoon olive oil 

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Combine spinach, tomatoes, and onion slices in a small bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and top with lemon juice.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Fat

Calories 70; Calories from Fat 45; Total Fat 5.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.7 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 25 mg; Potassium 360 mg; Total Carbohydrate 7 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 2 g; Phosphorus 40 mg

Zucchini

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup zucchini

Pinch oregano

1. Steam zucchini, top with a pinch of oregano, and serve alongside salad and tacos.

Exchanges / Choices: Free food

Calories 15; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 240 mg; Total Carbohydrate 2 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 35 mg

Tofu Tacos

Serves: 8 | Serving size: 1 taco | Prep time: 40 minutes | Cook time: 10–12 minutes

Tofu is really a blank slate and a terrific vehicle for taking on bold flavor. I use extra-firm tofu, which is available in most grocery stores and markets. I also “press” the tofu to remove most of its liquid, prior to using it. If you cannot find tofu that has been pressed, it’s easy enough to do yourself. Simply wrap the block of tofu in several wrappings of paper toweling. Place the block on a plate. Put another plate on top of the tofu and then weight it down with a heavy pot or pan. Set aside for a few hours at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Remove the weight, top plate, and paper toweling. Pat dry and discard all the liquid that has accumulated around the tofu. The tofu should look compressed, and have a texture similar to chicken breast.

Seasoning Mix

1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves

1 teaspoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 pound extra-firm pressed tofu, cut into 8 slabs

2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use

1 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage

2 large carrots, shredded

1 large shallot, minced

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1/4 cup nonfat mayonnaise

1 teaspoon hot sauce

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (garnish)

1. Combine all the ingredients for the seasoning mix. On a flat plate, dredge the tofu slabs in the seasoning mix. Set the tofu in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and brown 3–4 minutes per side or until golden. Remove the tofu from the skillet. Add the remaining oil. Add in the cabbage, carrots, and shallot and sauté for 6–7 minutes until vegetables are soft, but still crisp.

3. Heat the tortillas one at a time in an ungreased skillet over medium-high heat for 30 seconds per side.

4. Combine the mayonnaise, hot sauce, and rice vinegar. To serve, add the tofu to the tortilla, top with the cabbage mixture, and a dollop of the mayonnaise sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Protein, medium fat

Calories 170; Calories from Fat 80; Total Fat 9.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.8 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 170 mg; Potassium 240 mg; Total Carbohydrate 18 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Sugars 3 g; Protein 8 g; Phosphorus 180 mg

Sides

Pineapple

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup fresh pineapple

1. Serve pineapple alongside tacos and green beans.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Fruit

Calories 40; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 90 mg; Total Carbohydrate 11 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 8 g; Protein 0 g; Phosphorus 5 mg

Green Beans

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup green beans

1. Steam green beans and serve alongside tacos and pineapple.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

Calories 20; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 90 mg; Total Carbohydrate 5 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 1 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 20 mg

Black Bean Tacos

Serves: 8 | Serving size: 1 taco | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes

Black bean tacos are the fastest tacos to prepare. If you stock your pantry with the ingredients included here, you’ll have dinner on the table in about a half hour! Mashed kidney beans are also great in these vegetarian tacos. Sometimes I like to serve a small portion of the filling only as a side dish to accompany a piece of grilled fish.

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

2 cups cooked black beans (canned, drained, and rinsed, or fresh)

1 cup commercially prepared hot or mild salsa

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

Garnishes

1/2 cup finely minced fresh cilantro 

3 medium tomatoes, cored and diced

1 small avocado, peeled and diced

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 6 minutes. Add in the garlic, cumin, and chipotle chili powder and sauté for 1 minute. Add the beans and salsa and simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Mash the mixture slightly.

2. Heat the corn tortillas, one at a time, over medium-high heat for 30 seconds per side.

3. Add the black bean mixture to the tortillas and top with the garnishes.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 1/2 Starch; 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable; 1 Protein, lean

Calories 170; Calories from Fat 35; Total Fat 4.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.6 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 250 mg; Potassium 530 mg; Total Carbohydrate 30 g; Dietary Fiber 8 g; Sugars 5 g; Protein 7 g; Phosphorus 180 mg

Side

Garden Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serves: 8 | Serving size: 1 cup | Prep time: 7 minutes | Cook time: 4 minutes

3/4 cup walnuts 

2 tablespoons sugar

Dressing

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon honey or sugar

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Salad 

5 cups mixed greens

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

2 large carrots, peeled and grated

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1. In a small sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat, toss the walnuts with the sugar for 3 to 4 minutes or until the sugar melts and caramelizes. Watch that the nuts do not burn. Remove the nuts from the pan and let cool.

2. In a large bowl, combine dressing ingredients and whisk well.

3. Add the salad ingredients to the dressing and quickly toss together. Serve on individual plates, top with the nuts.

Exchanges / Choices: 1/2 Carbohydrate;

1 Nonstarchy

Vegetable; 2 1/2 Fat

Calories 160; Calories from Fat 120; Total Fat 13.0 g; Saturated Fat 1.4 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 105 mg; Potassium 250 mg; Total Carbohydrate 11 g; Dietary Fiber 2 g; Sugars 7 g; Protein 3 g; Phosphorus 65 mg

Portobello Mushroom and Onion Tacos

Serves: 8 | Serving size: 1 taco | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes

When I first discovered Portobello mushrooms, I became totally hooked on adding them whenever I wanted to mimic meat in a recipe. Be sure to remove the mushroom stems and discard them; unlike a lot of other mushrooms, Portobello stems are often thick and woody with minimal flavor. Remember that mushrooms are highly perishable. The best way to store them is in a large brown paper bag set on a refrigerator shelf. The produce bin in your refrigerator is actually too cold and humid for mushrooms.

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced

6 large Portobello mushrooms, stems removed, caps wiped clean, and thinly sliced

1 small jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced 

1 tablespoon hot or mild chili powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons water

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

2 cups finely shredded green cabbage

1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt or nonfat sour cream 

1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and jalapeño pepper and sauté until mushrooms brown and are soft.

2. Combine the chili powder, cumin, oregano, sugar, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Add to the onion-mushroom mixture and sauté for 1 minute. Add the water and simmer on low heat for 1 minute.

3. Heat the tortillas, one at a time, in an ungreased skillet over medium-high heat for 30 seconds per side.

4. Fill each warmed tortilla with some of the onion and mushroom mixture. Garnish with shredded cabbage, sour cream, and cilantro.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Starch; 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable

Calories 100; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 2.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.3 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 65 mg; Potassium 360 mg; Total Carbohydrate 19 g; Dietary Fiber 3 g; Sugars 4 g; Protein 4 g; Phosphorus 170 mg

Sides

Pan Grilled Pork Chops

Serves: 4 | Serving size: 3 ounces

Cooking spray 

1 pound boneless pork loin chops, trimmed of fat, brought to room temperature

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Coat a nonstick ridged grill pan with cooking spray. Set the pan on high heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper. Add the chops and cook on each side for about 2 minutes per side.

2. Lower the temperature to medium and cook for an additional 3–4 minutes per side or until an internal temperature of 135°F is reached. Remove from the pan and set aside. The internal temperature will reach 145°F as the pork rests.

Exchanges / Choices: 3 Protein, lean

Calories 140; Calories from Fat 30; Total Fat 3.5 g; Saturated Fat 1.4 g;

Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 55 mg; Sodium 300 mg; Potassium 310 mg;

Total Carbohydrate 0 g; Dietary Fiber 0 g; Sugars 0 g; Protein 24 g; Phosphorus 235 mg

Mango

Serves: 1 | Serving size: 1/2 cup

1/2 cup mango

1. Slice mango and serve alongside pork and tacos.

Exchanges / Choices: 1 Fruit

Calories 60; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 150 mg; Total Carbohydrate 14 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 13 g; Protein 1 g; Phosphorus 15 mg

Roasted Pepper and Cherry Tomato Salsa

Serves: 16 | Serving size: 2 tablespoons | Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes

2 red peppers

1 yellow pepper

1/2 cup diced cherry tomatoes

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

1/2 red onion, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons minced cilantro

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1. Place the whole red and yellow peppers directly on an open stove flame. With long-handled tongs, keep turning the peppers until most of the skin has blackened. Place the peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to cool. (Alternatively, if you do not have a gas stove, cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and white membrane. Place the peppers, skin side up, under an oven broiler, about 4–5 inches from the heat source. Broil the peppers until they are blackened. Remove the peppers to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to cool.) You may also place whole peppers on an outdoor charcoal or gas grill. Place the peppers directly on the grill rack that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray. Set the heat to medium-high. Cover the grill. Using long-handled tongs, keep checking the peppers by turning them to make sure all sides have blackened. Follow the instructions above for cooling the peppers.

2. Once the peppers have cooled, remove them from the bowl. Peel off the charred skin with your fingertips, using a paper towel for assistance to remove most of the charred skin. (A little bit of charred skin is tasty, so there is no need to get every bit of charred skin removed.)

3. Discard the seeds and chop the peppers into a medium dice. Add them to a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, cover, and let the flavors marinate for about 1 hour.

4. Use this salsa on top of any of the tacos.

Exchanges / Choices: Free food

Calories 20; Calories from Fat 5; Total Fat 0.5 g; Saturated Fat 0.1 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 0 mg; Potassium 95 mg; Total Carbohydrate 3 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 2 g; Protein 0 g; Phosphorus 10 mg

Mango Pineapple Salsa

Serves: 20 | Serving size: 2 tablespoons | Prep time: 15 minutes

2 small ripe mangoes, peeled and diced

1 cup diced fresh pineapple

1/2 small red onion, diced

1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/16 teaspoon salt

1. Combine all the ingredients and let the flavors blend for 1 hour prior to serving.

Exchanges / Choices: 1/2 Fruit

Calories 20; Calories from Fat 0; Total Fat 0.0 g; Saturated Fat 0.0 g; Trans Fat 0.0 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 10 mg; Potassium 50 mg; Total Carbohydrate 5 g; Dietary Fiber 0 g; Sugars 4 g; Protein 0 g; Phosphorus 5 mg


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