The taco (or nacho) conundrum
Here are two taco (or nacho) seasoning recipes, both gluten-free, but for different eaters.
In case you haven’t seen some of my recent recipes, we hope to learn if certain foods are causing my 4-month-old grandson to spit up after nursing. Following the advice of a lactation consultant, my daughter-in-law (as well as the rest of us) are embarked on an elimination diet in which we avoid corn, soy, wheat, dairy, spicy foods, onions, garlic, tree nuts and more. The great thing about nachos is that we set out the ingredients salad-bar-style and everyone creates the plateful they need to eat.
Tacos or nachos, while simple to prepare, can be a culinary landmine for the gluten-free diet and especially for the elimination diet.
Not eating corn or wheat? How to hold the toppings?
No spicy foods – there goes the chili and cayenne, not to mention jalapenos – will this taste like Mexican food? Same question applies if you are following an AIP eating plan (Auto-Immune Protocol).
No onions or garlic – can you hear me moaning yet?
OK, OK, we are not focusing on what we CAN’T have.
Cumin, coriander and mustard do a pretty good job of covering for the absence of the spicy stuff in option #2. Of course, a real aficionado won’t be fooled, but this tastes darned good! And for nachos, so much depends on the flavor of the chips and of the salsa.
The two gluten-free recipes
The first recipe will have a more familiar taste than the second. It has chili powder and cayenne and gives the typical red color to taco meat, but omits the wheat flour and maltodextrin that packaged taco seasonings contain. Make it as spicy as you like!
The second one is for anyone who is following a low-FODMAP plan (no onions or garlic) but can tolerate some mild pepper. The brown color of this mixture comes from the cumin and coriander, and the oniony flavor from the asafetida. Both will also work for nachos, burrito fillings, etc. This is the blend used for my Savory Gluten-Free Nachos.
Most taco seasoning mixes also have corn starch or wheat as a thickener. Arrowroot is an excellent gluten-free thickener, and tapioca would work too. If you find that your taco meat has too much liquid, you can add 1 (or even up to 3) teaspoons of arrowroot flour to the mix. But I haven’t found it necessary.
With either of these, you simply stir the seasoning blend (#2 shown in photo) into the meat (or meat alternative) once it is cooked. Then it’s ready to arrange on your nachos!
2 Gluten-Free Taco Seasoning Recipes
- Taco Seasoning #1 Gluten Free for 1 pound ground meat or meat alternative
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dried onion flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne or to taste
- 1 Tablespoon arrowroot flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Taco Seasoning #2 Gluten Free, low FODMAP for 1 pound ground meat or meat alternative
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- ½ teaspoon asafetida
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot flour optional
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or salt to taste
- ½ teaspoon black pepper or to taste omit for AIP
- Combine all ingredients in the spice blend of your choice.
- Add to 1 pound of cooked meat or meat alternative and stir.