Gluten Free Taco Seasoning

One of my favorite go-to meals throughout the years has been tacos. Quick and easy, I’d use taco meat  to make my notoriously large overstuffed tacos (thanks to the giant 12″ flour tortilla) or a tasty batch of nachos, along with beans and cheese. However when I went Gluten Free, I discovered that most of the taco seasoning packages you purchase at the grocery store are not compliant with a Gluten Free lifestyle. In reviewing the contents list I also got to thinking why we needed so many of those wasteful ingredients. I wasn’t happy just dumping a package into my meat without considering what it contained. So I began exploring for other alternatives. A few recipes I tried left me dissatisfied. I wanted something that tasted like the package mix I was used to. I eventually bought a small bottle of pre-mixed seasoning at Whole Foods that worked ok, but was glad I kept testing, because I eventually came up with this very simple recipe, that for my family, is the flavor we were seeking, with the right amount of spice.

Use this as you Gluten Free, healthy option for making your own taco seasoning, or modify to fit your personal tastes with adjustments to the ingredients.

Note: I cook with lean ground turkey when making this and have never tested use ground beef, since I don’t eat beef.

To make your taco meat:

Make your own taco seasoning for homemade taco salad and tacos

1 pound of lean ground turkey meat

  • Sauté the meat until thoroughly cooked. As it is cooking, break it up into small crumbles.
  • When the meat is cooked and no moisture remains, add in the seasoning:
    • 3 TBSP of fresh chopped garlic
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1/2 t ground black pepper
    • 1/4 t red cayenne pepper
    • 1 TBSP cumin
    • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • With the seasoning sprinkled on top of the meat add in 3/4 – 1 cup of water and stir the mixture into the meat. Be sure to coat all the meat with the seasoning and water so each piece will be as delicious as the next.
  • Cook until all the water has absorbed and all the meat is coated. For me I knew all the meat had the seasoning because it changed colors from the seasoning.

While you have the pan on the stove, you can add in one can of black beans or chili beans, if you like. I prefer to add my beans directly to the meat and mix in, so I get an even balance throughout my meal and it warms my beans without using an extra dish.

If you’re going to make nachos, you’ll want to add your beans right to the chips (I used mashed pinto beans or refried beans) then layer with the meat (holds meat in place) followed by the cheese.

However if you are watching your carbs, like on the Trim Healthy Mama meal plan, then you will opt for the taco salad for your upcoming meal and try to push the lustful idea of tortilla chips from your mind (so hard I know).

I use crisp iceberg lettuce for the bed of my salad and try to brainwash myself into believing the crunch of the lettuce is as good as that of a chip. Not quite there yet, but I can eat my taco salad with enjoyment and know I am doing good for my body and weight loss goals by avoiding those ever tempting chips.

I add in my meat and beans, one chopped tomato, chopped pepper (I prefer orange or yellow for color), I do some chopped cucumber and then a healthy dose of salsa. I am really enjoying the Kroger brand Private Selection Zesty Cilantro Salsa. And then depending on my mood (since I’m not a big dairy person) I add in 1/4 cup of Mexican Style Cheese blend. You can opt for more or less of any ingredient, that’s the beauty of a taco salad, make it as it appeals to you. It’s a fast meal and a great punch to any day.

Make your own taco seasoning for homemade taco salad and tacos

Note: When I entered my meal into MyFitnessPal.com, I end up with a total carb calculation of 48 grams, which is three above the 45 g carb limit of an E meal. The beans are what are high in carbs so be careful with how many you add in. I used 1/2 a cup (23 carbs). Then the tomato shot up the rest of my carbs at 12 carbs. But all in all this is a good mix and I could use a little smaller tomato next time around to hit the 45 carb ceiling. And a HUGE reduction on carbs and calories from where I used to be when I have about three servings of tortillas chips with my salad (about 27-30 chips). If I would have had that many now, I would have consumed 57 carbs and over 400 calories just in chips alone! See it’s the small changes that make a big difference. Enjoy your spicy taco meat in a healthy, guilt free way and watch the inches come off. Cheers!