Growing up in San Diego, eating Mexican food was a way of life. Being just 30 minutes away from the US-Mexico border definitely had its perks; not only were there great hole-in-the-wall Mexican food joints everywhere, but they were almost always delicious and authentic. Tostadas, quesadillas, and burritos are consequently some of my all-time favorite dishes. And let’s not forget the ultimate hand-held Mexican favorite…. the taco. My mouth is watering as I write this…. tacos give me life.
As a teenager, I had no trouble downing mouthfuls of oozing, cheesy tacos, burritos and quesadillas rolled up in glutenous, freshly-made flour tortillas. As an adult, however, the dairy and gluten combo is my biggest inflammation trigger, so I avoid it at all costs. Just the other night, feeling cocky, I thought it would be ok to do a group order at a local woodfired pizza place I love. After ingesting a flour-crust pizza with the most mouth-watering burrata on top, I started to feel it. First, in my hands, and then it slowly but surely spread to my feet and up through my lower leg. The swelling… the uncomfortable itchy sensation began, followed by the horrible, relentless swelling. I sat there amongst friends, in agonizing discomfort for the remainder of the evening. As I pretended to be having a great time, I was helplessly rolling my ankles under the table, trying desperately and unsuccessfully to relieve the swelling. It took three more days of recovery before my legs resumed their normal size.
Every time I re-expose myself to the triggers it seems to cause a bigger, more uncomfortable and prolonged reaction. It. is. the. worst. Needless to say, the cheesy, gluten-laced Mexican food of my youth is now out of the question.
These days, I get my taco kicks with brown rice – or 100% corn – tortillas and avoid adding cheese. To keep things flavorful, delicious and healthy, I add ingredients like sriracha, lime, chili flakes, garlic and even kimchi for a Latin-Asian fusion. Latin-Asian fusion recipes are THE BEST, in my opinion, because they combine some of the most delicious seasonings and flavors into one mouthwatering dish.
When I make Latin-fusion tacos, I also like to use plenty of fresh veggies with a good dose of seasoning to up my fiber and vitamin content. The below recipe is for chicken, but it can also be used with beef, fish and shrimp – the beauty is in its versatility, and I switch it up based on which proteins I’ve purchased in our current week’s groceries. Let me know what you think if you try out the recipe!
Ingredients (Recipe serves 3-4):
For the Chicken / Shrimp / Fish / Ground Beef or Turkey (Protein!) in a 1 lb serving:
- Half a bunch of chopped cilantro
- Juice of two limes
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 2 teaspoons gluten-free soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground hot pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 TBLs organic honey
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 Tbls butter to cook in
For the Taco & Accoutrements:
- Rice or corn-based gluten-free tacos
- 1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1/4 head of cabbage, julienned
- thinly sliced radishes
- 1 lime, quartered (each serving gets a lime wedge to squeeze freshly over their tacos)
- 3 ripe avocados / juice of 1 lime / 1 tsp salt / 1/2 tsp pepper / 1/2 tsp ground chili flakes / 2 tsp olive oil / 1 finely diced clove of garlic / 2 TBLs chopped cilantro for the epic guacamole
- Combine ingredients for your protein marinade & cook in the butter. For ground beef or turkey, also add in one half chopped red onion.
- While the protein of choice is cooking, make the epic guacamole & chop remaining accoutrements for the tacos
- When all is done, combine into the taco shell and enjoy!