Inside-Out Tacos that Rock! 

Get ready to start a Gluten-free, vegetarian, lower calorie/major flavor party in your mouth!  Meatless Monday…we will rock you!

Pre-diagnosis, Taco Bell was my go-to drive-thru:  they would cheerfully vegetarianize any item with beans instead of beef, and the food was tasty, hot, quick, and inexpensive.  I loved my Bean Buritos, Bean hard-shell tacos, Fries Supreme made with beans instead of beef etc. Sadly, Taco Bell’s head office Customer Relations doesn’t seem to know if their beans are gluten-free or not, so the chain is now off-limits, forcing me to make my own vegetarian Tex-Mex fast food.  Luckily, I figured out something!  Which is pretty amazing, when you consider that my drywalling skills far exceed my cooking skills.

This recipe goes out to my über-cool friend Linda Tarkowski, who not only manages this awesome metal band, but is also on a plant-based food quest of her own…because bad-ass rocker chicks like to keep their hot bods healthy (and eat more sustainably) too. When I told her about how much I crave my mouthwatering yet lower-cal tacos, she wanted the recipe…so here you are, Linda!

This recipe is for four people. It takes about 15 minutes max before you’re eating, which is nice and quick.


The Protein

1 bag Gardein Beefless Ground Ultimate

2 tbsp coconut or avocado oil

1/2 cup diced red onion (white is fine also)

1 envelope of  GF Taco seasoning

1 generous cup of water

Salt and Pepper to taste


The Taco Shells & Fixings (these quantities can be adjusted as you like)

At least 4 medium or large washed Boston/Bibb/Butter Lettuce leaves per female and 8 leaves for men (2 heads and you’re good. Alternatively you can use Romaine Lettuce Hearts if you want a crisper wrapper “shell”)

3/4 cup shredded Tex-Mex cheese (or vegan shreds)

1/4 cup sour cream (or Tofutti Sour Supreme)

1 loose cup organic sprouts or shoots (I used both pea shoots and radish shoots)

Diced Green Onions (just the green part)

1/2 cup of Simple Salsa (you can use bought salsa, but it won’t taste nearly as good!  Trust me, it takes 10 mins to make Simple Salsa and it’s mind-blowing good, so just make it!)

1/4 cup of crushed gf plain tortilla chips, salted or not. (You know, like the crumbs left at the bottom of the bag)


A frying pan


1.  Fry the diced onion in the oil for a couple of minutes until it starts to soften.

You’ll know it’s softened when it loses the vibrancy of the purple skin if you’re using red onion.

2.  Add in the bag of thawed Gardein Beefless Ground–you will notice it’s light in texture ….

…and fry until browned. (Yes, even plant meat can brown!).  Salt and pepper as you see fit.

Left: when first in pan. Right: browned after about 5 mins.

3.  Stir in the water and the Taco Seasoning Mix.

3. When the water and seasoning is absorbed and the mixture is moist but not wet, remove from heat…because it’s super-hot!

4.  Ok the hard part is over.  Now grab your plate of washed lettuce leaves and assemble down the center EACH lettuce leaf/

1st:  the seasoned Beefless Ground

2nd:  the cheese, so that the heat of the Beefless ground starts making it kind of melty

3rd:  The Simple Salsa

4th:  a dollop of sour cream

5th:  the green onions

6th:  the crushed nacho chips

7th:  the sprouts or shoots. (I like to add them in immediately before I roll up each lettuce cup taco, so they stay crisp.  That’s why I just pile them in the middle of my plate.)

I promise you, these are every bit as tasty as the ones with a hard or soft tortilla shells, with way less calories and still that satisfying crunch!

To eat, just roll them up like a soft tortilla. And yes, they will be as messy to eat as a tortilla or hard shell taco. Unless you’re adept at making Vietnamese fresh spring rolls, in which case you’ll probably just be a show off and tuck in the tip of the leaf and be all neat and ladylike!

Tuck this end in to make eating neater
Taking a bite of all that vegetarian or vegan taco goodness!

Wash down with a cold margarita or un cerveza, por favor. Or your preferred liquid…whatever makes you happy. And crank up Adrian Pain & The Dead Sexy, or your choice of tunes, giving the concert horn-hand as you munch….

…because these tacos rock so hard… 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *