What is it about tacos that always makes people happy? It might be the fact that they are pockets full of delicious goodness inside! They are a party of flavors in your mouth. The best part is that you can get as creative as possible with your taco ingredients. You can also customize them to fit into your specific diet. Whether you’re doing Whole 30, on a keto kick, or trying a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle on for size, there is a taco for everyone!

Next time you’re getting ready for Taco Tuesday, check your refrigerator and pantry before heading to the store. Get creative! Pick a theme! Explore new flavors! Here are some mouth-watering recipes to take your tacos to the next level. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash, Spinach, Black Bean Tacos

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(Serves 4)

Ingredients

1 butternut squash, about 2 lb. (1 kg), peeled, seeded, and cut into 3⁄4-inch (2-cm) cubes
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. chili powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup (8 oz./250 g) sour cream or crème fraîche
1 small chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
10 oz. (315 g) baby spinach or stemmed and chopped regular spinach
8 to 10 flour or corn tortillas, warmed
2 cans (15 oz./470 g each) black beans, drained, rinsed and warmed

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Pile the squash on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and sprinkle with the chili powder and 1 teaspoon salt and toss to coat. Spread the squash in a single layer and roast, stirring once about halfway through, until very soft and browned around the edges, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the squash is roasting, make the chipotle crema: In a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, chipotle, and lime juice. Season with salt and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.
Warm the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring often, until just barely wilted, about 3 minutes.
To assemble, fill the tortillas with the squash, spinach, and beans. Drizzle generously with the chipotle crema and serve right away.

Chicken Tikka Masala Naan

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(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

Chicken:
4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
½ cup full fat Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon mild chili powder
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Salsa:
5 small tomatoes
1 small red onion
1/3 cucumber
Mint Yogurt Dressing:
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
6 fresh mint leaves
zest and juice of half a lemon
½ small clove of garlic, peeled and minced
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sugar

To Serve:

4 regular or 8 mini naan breads
small bunch fresh cilantro, roughly torn

Instructions:

Place chicken in a bowl with all of the chicken tikka ingredients except for the vegetable oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours (up to overnight).
Preheat the broiler. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and place the pieces of chicken on a large baking tray — try to make sure they’re not stuck together. Brush with the vegetable oil and place under the broiler for 5-6 minutes until starting to char. Turn the chicken over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the chicken is lightly charred and cooked through in the middle (slice a piece in half; if it’s no longer pink, it’s done).
While the chicken is cooking, make the salsa by finely chopping the tomatoes (discard the seeds), cucumber (discard the center part, with the seeds in) and red onion. Mix together and place in a small bowl.
Next make the mint yogurt dressing. Place the yogurt in a small bowl. Finely chop the mint leaves and add to the yogurt, along with the lemon zest, juice, garlic, salt and sugar. Stir together.
Now it’s time to assemble the chicken tikka tacos. Spread a tablespoon of the yogurt dressing on the naan bread. Divide the cooked chicken between the naan breads and top with the salsa, more yogurt dressing and a few cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.
Place chicken in a bowl with all of the chicken tikka ingredients except for the vegetable oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours (up to overnight).
Preheat the broiler. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and place the pieces on a large baking tray — try to make sure they’re not stuck together. Brush with the vegetable oil and place under the broiler for 5-6 minutes until starting to char.
Turn the chicken over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until the chicken is lightly charred and cooked through in the middle (slice a piece in half; if it’s no longer pink, it’s done).
While the chicken is cooking, make the salsa by finely chopping the tomatoes (discard the seeds), cucumber (discard the center part, with the seeds in) and red onion. Mix together and place in a small bowl.
Next, make the mint yogurt dressing. Place the yogurt in a small bowl. Finely chop the mint leaves and add to the yogurt, along with the lemon zest, juice, garlic, salt and sugar. Stir together.
Now it’s time to assemble the chicken tikka tacos. Spread a tablespoon of the yogurt dressing on the naan bread. Divide the cooked chicken between the naan breads and top with the salsa, more yogurt dressing and a few cilantro leaves.
Serve immediately.

Lentil and Zucchini Tacos with Chipotle Cream Sauce

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(Servings: 4)

Ingredients:

1 cup green lentils
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups diced zucchini
4 cups arugula
1 (6 oz) container plain Greek yogurt
2 or 3 chipotle peppers with a little adobo sauce
1/2 cup cilantro
juice of one lime
16 white corn tortillas
coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

In a food processor, combine the yogurt, chipotle peppers, their adobo sauce, cilantro and lime juice. Blitz until smooth. Set aside.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lentils and cook until tender, but not broken, roughly 25 minutes. Test at the 20-minute mark. Drain the water if needed. Add the arugula to the lentils and stir to wilt. Cover and keep warm.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil to medium high. Add the garlic and bloom for 15 seconds. Add the zucchini and a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until it starts to brown on both sides, about 7 minutes. Remove zucchini from the pan and set aside for a hot second.
Back in the pan, with the heat on medium, add the corn tortillas a few at a time and heat them until they slightly char on both sides.
Layer two corn tortillas at a time. Spoon the lentil/arugula mixture on the bottom, followed by the sautéed zucchini. Drizzle with the chipotle cream sauce.
Serve tacos with more cilantro and lime slices on hand!

Deep Fried Avocado Tacos

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(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

1 1/2 quarts peanut, vegetable, or canola oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 to 1 cup light beer
2 avocados, peeled, pitted, and cut into 8 to 12 wedges each
16 warm corn tortillas
1 cup store-bought or homemade salsa verde
1/2 head finely shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup chipotle cream
1/2 cup pickled red onions
1 thinly sliced Serrano chile
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 limes, cut into 8 wedges
Radishes, for serving

Instructions:

1. Heat oil in a large wok, deep fryer, or Dutch oven to 375°F and adjust heat to maintain temperature.
2. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, and baking powder in a large bowl until homogenous. Add 3/4 cup beer and whisk very rapidly just until a loose batter is formed. Batter should be lumpy and have the texture of thick paint (add more beer if necessary). Do not overmix.
3.Season avocado wedges generously with salt and pepper, then drop them into the batter and turn to coat. Pick up one wedge at a time, allow excess to drip off, and carefully lower into hot oil. Continue until all wedges have been added and adjust heat as necessary to maintain a temperature of 350 to 375°F.
4. Cook, turning avocado wedges occasionally and agitating oil to promote even cooking, until light golden brown and crisp all over, about 3 minutes total. Using tongs or a wire mesh spider, transfer avocado wedges to a paper towel-lined bowl. Season immediately with salt and toss to drain excess oil.
5. To serve, make 8 stacks of 2 tortillas each. Divide salsa verde and cabbage between tortillas and top with avocados. Drizzle with chipotle cream and top with pickled red onions, Serrano chile, and cilantro. Serve immediately with lime wedges and radish.

Instant Pot Carnitas Tacos

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Ingredients:

1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 1/2 pounds bone-out pork butt/shoulder, cut into 1-inch slices
1 head garlic, cut in half
1/2 sweet onion, skin-on
1/2 orange, cut in half
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
1 tablespoon Lawry's garlic salt
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 beer (IPA is our choice)

Instructions:

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, sear the pork butt for a few minutes on each side. Place pork in Instant Pot when browned. Repeat with the remaining pork.
Place all the other ingredients on top of the pork in the Instant Pot, secure lid, and double check that the vent (on the lid) is in the sealed position.
Choose the Meat/Stew setting (or Manual for 35 minutes on high pressure), and let cook.
Once it is finished, either let the pressure come down on its own (usually takes about 15 minutes) or carefully release the pressure by turning the vent (on the lid) to the venting position.
Shred the pork and other ingredients (in the pot) using two forks. If eating the skin of cooked oranges turns you off, remove the oranges before shredding.
Though the pork is ready to serve at this point, for a bonus, sear it. Press the Cancel button on your Instant Pot, then select Sauté. Cook for 10-15 minutes, allowing the liquid to reduce and concentrate in flavor a bit. This step is optional but nice to do if you have the extra time.
Serve shredded pork with your favorite taco toppings. We used corn tortillas, avocado, watermelon radish, cilantro, and lime.

Korean Beef Tacos

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(8 servings)

Ingredients:

For the Korean beef:
~5 lbs beef short ribs (can also use chuck roast or back ribs)
1 bottle (10 oz) low sodium soy sauce
1 cup packed brown sugar
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbsp ginger, grated
6 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
2 Tbsp sriracha
1 cup water (optional)

For the Cucumber Slaw:
1 cucumber (seedless recommended)
Thinly sliced red onion rounds
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
For the tacos:
16 small wheat tortillas
cilantro
bean sprouts
Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
Sriracha

Instructions:

To make the cucumber slaw, slice the cucumber very thinly and sprinkle with salt. Place in a colander and let sit for up to an hour over a bowl or in the sink.
Shake additional water from the colander or pat with paper towels.
Transfer to a bowl and toss with red onions, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Refrigerate until ready to use (leftovers get less and less crunchy as they sit but it can be made ahead, just pour off any accumulated liquid and toss with an additional 1-2 tsp vinegar to taste, if necessary).
To make the Korean beef for the tacos, spray your slow cooker crock with non-stick cooking spray and add the ribs.
Whisk soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar with the garlic, ginger, sriracha, and oils.
Pour over the ribs in the crockpot. (I thought the liquid level looked a little low so I added ~ 1 1/2 cups of water.)
Cook on low for 8 hours.
(optional) Remove 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid and skim the fat from the top. Pour the liquid into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer while separating the meat from the bones. Reduce the liquid by about half and pour over the shredded meat.