Healthy Weeknight Dinner: Taco Tuesday

One of the easiest, most family friendly meals to make on a busy weeknight is a Taco Bar. This appeals to everyone because since everyone builds their own, it is full of choices for the kids and therefore no more arguments along the lines of “Yuck!” and “Just one more bite!” If I have plenty of healthy options, then whatever the kids put together is fine by me.

We had to adjustment a bit a couple of years ago with the dairy allergy news and the resulting lack of cheese usually on the traditional taco. But we’ve gotten used to it and the kids don’t complain too much anymore. One addition we’ve made is to have cabbage slaw instead of lettuce. Cabbage is a powerhouse of nutrition and this version is definitely tastier than plain lettuce. This slaw was first introduced to me by my beautiful and talented sister-in-law Zoe Keating. At our week-long Christmas gatherings we all take turns making dinner one night. She made fish tacos (a real crowd pleaser) and made this, or close to it, cabbage slaw to go on the tacos. We’ve never gone back to lettuce since.

I usually make the fixings for chicken tacos. My husband and I like taco salads actually so I make a big bowl of the cabbage slaw. But first, I dice up the (organic) chicken breast or tenders and sauté the chunks with some taco seasoning. Read the labels on those packets though, people! Most brands of taco seasoning have whey in them for some crazy reason. I use Trader Joe’s brand. It’s very tasty.  I sprinkle some on the chicken (careful not to go overboard–the stuff is spicy!) and add a little water to the pan to create a sauce. While that is cooking, I start on the cabbage slaw. The recipe is below. Then I either open a can of black beans or if I’m really on the ball, I have soaked some black beans the night before. If I did that, then I actually start cooking those in fresh water before the chicken because they take 40 minutes or so. With those three main Taco Bar ingredients (chicken, slaw and beans) handled, the only thing left to do is open some salsa, cut up an avocado and warm up the taco shells. Dinner can be ready in under 30 minutes! And my crowd literally cheers.


Zoe’s Cabbage Slaw for Tacos

One small head of cabbage (red or green work), shredded or sliced thin
3 scallions sliced (green parts too)
2-3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

Juice of one large or two small limes
Lots of shakes of hot sauce (like Tabasco–although I prefer Trader Joe’s) to taste
1/2 tsp. or so of sugar
3 Tbsp or so of mayonnaise

Chop up and put all slaw ingredients in a serving bowl. Whisk all dressing ingredients together, adjust flavors to taste. Pour on slaw and toss.

To your health,

Laren Watson
Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach

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Kristi Atwood - December 5, 2012

Hi Laren,
We made your tacos with the cabbage slaw last night and it was really great! Thanks for the suggestion and for the slaw recipe. I always look forward to your recipes! ~Kristi

    Laren - December 9, 2012

    Hi Kristi!
    I’m so glad you liked the slaw with your tacos! I’ll keep the recipes coming 🙂

Jana - December 5, 2012

Great cabbage slaw recipe – the scallions add such good flavor on top of the cilantro. Thanks!

    Laren - December 9, 2012

    Hi Jana!
    You’re welcome! The slaw is really tasty isn’t it? You can thank my sister-in-law.

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