Latin-Asian Fusion Tacos

shrimp taco accoutrements

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 cilantroShrimp tacos 1.jpg
  • 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


  1. Combine ingredients for your protein marinade & cook in the butter. For ground beef or turkey, also add in one half chopped red onion.
  2. While the protein of choice is cooking, make the epic guacamole & chop remaining accoutrements for the tacos
  3. When all is done, combine into the taco shell and enjoy!

The Best Gluten Free Orzo Pasta Salad

Gluten free orzo pasta salad recipe - gut and glamourWhen I lived and studied abroad in London a decade ago, I used to consume an entire Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza (a legit medium size, not ‘personal pan pizza’ size, mind you) in one sitting. It was my ultimate hangover cure and the perfect cheap, greasy fuel to get me through a day sitting on the couch and writing my final papers. Though at the time I had no inkling of how eating such a terrible diet day-in and day-out would impact my future health, in hindsight I marvel at my naivete and optimistic thinking. Just because I was not overweight did not mean that I had any business eating the way I did.

Indeed, the first of my serious gut issues began while living in our lovely little cramped flat above Bedford Square. I figured it was food poisoning from something I ate, but the weeks of stomach pain and gut trouble followed by months of eczema and acne were clues to a much deeper issue that had only just begun to manifest itself in my 21 year old body. It took me nearly another ten years to find my way to the diet and lifestyle changes that healed my body, and my journey is still being written as I discover more and more nuances about how my body reacts to certain foods and substances.

Today, I am still struggling to embrace a gluten-free, dairy-free lifestyle (a far cry from my former cheesy pizza-loving self), and my biggest challenge has been finding recipes that are satisfying, delicious, and still contain no gluten and no dairy. Many recipes I’ve tried have been hit-or-miss, though the biggest misses are usually in the form of pre-made or pre-packaged dairy or gluten free items. It’s as if someone ground up chalk and potato starch, then glued the two together with every possible gum/guar combination and decided to call it gluten free food. The best, most delicious gluten-free foods are naturally gluten free. Well-prepared, seasoned and cooked vegetables, meats and gluten-free grains really CAN be tasty if you have the right recipe. Here is my favorite recipe for gluten-free orzo pasta salad that is chock-full of gut-healing veggies…. and bacon. Because bacon is delicious, and in the quest to heal one’s gut, high quality animal fat is friend, not foe. And of course, because bacon is delicious…. damn delicious.

I love this recipe because it makes enough to feed my family of four for two meals. There’s nothing better than having a delicious leftover meal on hand that only gets better in the fridge – especially when you have a busy young family.

Ingredients (try to use organic whenever possible to keep your gut healthy!):

  • 2 small packets of Delallo gluten free orzo
  • 3-4 large carrots, washed, peeled & diced
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 6 – 8 slices of thick, cooked bacon, chopped into bacon-bit size pieces (I like to cook mine on a rack above a baking pan in the oven, so most of the grease burns off and it gets a slight crisp without burning)
  • Sea salt & pepper generously; to taste
  • Garlic powder & chili pepper flakes for additional flavor, if desired (1/8 – 1/4 tsp each)
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely diced
  • Half a red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
  • 1 cup sweet cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped
  • juice of 1 large lemon
  • 1.5 TBLs apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBLs olive oil


  1. Cook orzo & drain, set aside to cool in a large bowl
  2. Add veggies, spices, herbs, lemon, olive oil & vinegar to the cooled orzo, and toss together.
  3. Garnish with extra cilantro if desired (as in photo) – enjoy!