Why is a street taco called a street taco? When cities started being more industrialized and many flocked to Mexican cities for jobs, people would make batches of tacos to sell to people on the street. Thus Mexican street tacos were born. Are you wondering what is the difference between a street taco and any other type of taco? The main difference is that street taco recipes use small corn tortillas so the food is easy to eat on the go. Whereas in the U.S. we have supersized everything.
Whether you are actually visiting Mexico City or looking for a quick weeknight dinner, Mexican street food is a tasty choice. In addition to being quick, tacos can be a healthy dinner. They are versatile and can be made out of fish, beef, veggies, eggs, pretty much anything. Therefore, I have compiled some of my favorite street tacos recipes here along with some other eat streets recipes.
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Street Tacos Recipes: Huevos Tacos
Are Mexican street tacos healthy?
If you are wondering, “Are tacos healthy? Why or why not?”, tacos can be healthy. People in many Latin American countries often don’t eat much meat in their meals, but they do use eggs, beans, and vegetables. Also if you substitute heavy sour cream and loads of cheese with guacamole and pico de Gallo, you are reducing fat and calories while adding extra veggies to your diet. People often wonder what are some of the key differences between authentic Mexican food and Americanized Mexican food. Here in America, we tend to use more meats and increase portions, while Mexicans use fresh items readily available.
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 Tbsp. chopped jalapeno
- cayenne pepper to taste
- olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 flour tortillas
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup fresh salsa
Do tacos in Mexico traditionally have cheese? They don’t use shredded cheese the way we do. When they use cheese, they use fresh soft white cheese, (queso fresco).
- Cook first 3 ingredients in teaspoon of oil.
- While vegetables are cooking, beat eggs and cheese. Season with salt and pepper if you like.
- When veggies are soft, add egg mixture to the pan and cook until done.
- Then serve in warmed tortillas and top with fresh salsa.
Street Tacos Recipes: Veggie Tacos
- 1 cup chopped bell peppers
- 2 chopped zucchini
- 1 sliced onion
- packed cup of fresh spinach
- 15oz. can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1 chopped jalapeno
- cup diced tomatoes
- 2 avocados
- cayenne pepper to taste
- shredded cheddar cheese
- flour tortillas
- Begin by cooking onions and peppers in a tbsp. of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When they are softened add the zucchini.
- While the vegetables are cooking mash the avocados and mix in 1/4 cup of tomatoes, salt and cayenne pepper to taste.
- Once the vegetables are cooked, toss in the jalapeno and spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted.
- After that mix in the beans and 3/4 cup of tomatoes. Then season with some salt and cayenne pepper.
- When everything is cooked, warm flour tortillas one at a time on both sides in a frying pan.
- To sum up, place vegetable mixture on tortilla and top with shredded cheese and mashed avocado mixture.
What is the difference between a soft shell taco and a burrito? Soft shell tacos ae typically small corn tortillas which are often steamed. A burrito is usually made with larger flour tortillas.
Street Tacos Recipes: Refried Bean with Cucumber Salsa
- 2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 chopped onion, plus more for topping
- cooking oil
- sliced jalapenos
- chopped cilantro to taste
- cayenne pepper
- spicy mayo
- Cook onion in a tbsp of cooking oil in a saucepan. Once the onion is opaque add in the beans. In addition you may add other seasonings such as garlic powder, oregano, chili powder, cayenne pepper, etc. I usually leave them plain because some family members prefer more bland food. On the other hand, those who like more spice can always add hot sauce, jalapeno etc.
- As the beans are cooking mash them with the back of a spoon. However, if the beans are too dry you may add a little water or broth. Cook for about half an hour stirring occasionally.
- To serve heat tortillas and spread with spicy mayo. This can either be store bought or you can mix up some mayonnaise with some hot sauce.
- Place a scoop of beans on the tortilla and top with onions, jalapeños, cilantro or whatever toppings you prefer.
Street taco toppings
Authentic Mexican tacos recipes use salsas (sauce) made from fresh veggies, along with chopped onion or guacamole. Try making a homemade salsa with tomatoes, watermelon, or another type of melon.
Moreover, we made cucumber salsa to go with ours. You can make this by chopping up 2 cucumbers, 1/4 cup diced onion, cilantro, a clove of garlic, salt, and a little fresh lime juice.
Street Tacos Recipes: Chicken Quesadillas
Certainly the great thing about quesadillas is that you can use anything you have lying around the house. I make these all the time for a last minute weeknight meal. I haven’t listed amounts of ingredients because they will vary depending on how many you want to make and which ingredients you are using.
- shredded rotisserie chicken ( my husband usually cooks 2 on his grill, and we keep the shredded meat in the freezer until needed, to save time.)
- shredded cheddar cheese (sliced pepper jack, Mexican cheese, etc.)
- flour or corn tortillas
For the quesadillas pictured above we also added:
- cooked onions and peppers
- alfalfa sprouts
- To cook heat a frying pan to medium heat and spray with cooking spray.
- Then place a tortilla in the pan. If your tortillas are small and you pan is large you can make 2 at a time.
- After that sprinkle in your fillings. Most importantly, make sure to use enough cheese as this seals the quesadilla together. Then place another tortilla on top. Press down to spread filling evenly.
- When cheese is partially melted and bottom tortilla is stiff, flip and cook on the other side until browned.
- Once cooked remove from pan to a cutting surface and let cool for a few minutes before cutting with a pizza cutter.
Serve with whatever accompaniments you like such as hot sauce and sour cream. In addition, we had some leftover salsa and Tostitos cheese sauce we served with this, but you could use guacamole, pico de gallo, etc.
Additionally, quesadillas make a great party food that you can make ahead of time and just reheat in the oven as needed. Then serve the delicious food you made in fancy Mexican serving ware.
What other meats can be used in street taco recipes?
While we shredded rotisserie chicken for our chicken street tacos, you can use either chicken, beef, or pork. For an easy taco recipe for week nights, use a slow cooker to cook your meat ahead of time. Use a beef roast for beef street tacos, or throw in some chicken breasts for chicken street tacos. For carne asada tacos, which means grilled meat, you can marinade a flank steak or skirt steak in soy sauce, Worcestershire, a bit of lemon juice, and seasonings. Then grill the meat, and cut it into small pieces for a tasty carne asada tacos recipe.
What is the difference between carne asada and beef fajitas? Fajitas are typically made with skirt steak, whereas carne asada refers to any grilled meat. With fajitas, the meat is typically served with cooked onions and peppers and then placed in a soft taco. We love using any leftover carne asada, such as steak, to make fajitas the following day. This makes a quick week night meal, because you just need to cook up some onions and peppers, and toss strips of steak in at the last minute to reheat.
Mexican Street Tacos Recipes: Arepas Mexican Style
While arepas are traditionally Venezuelan or Columbian, and are not technically tacos, we are including them here as they make a great street food.
- 2 cups fine ground cornmeal
- 1 tsp. salt
- 6 oz. warm water
- 4 oz milk
- grape seed oil for cooking
- Pour water into a bowl Then add cornmeal and salt.
- Once that is mixed add in the milk. At this point you can mix it with your hands.
- Meanwhile heat a large pan over medium heat and cover the bottom with oil. Form dough into 8 balls and flatten each one with your hands.
- When oil is hot, fry 4 arepas at a time until browned on each side. I flip them several times during cooking to cook them evenly. Also, my stove gets very hot so I use medium heat and grape seed oil to prevent burning. However, you may use regular cooking oil and turn the heat up a bit higher if your stove isn’t browning them enough. To sum up, you want them browned while also having them cooked all the way through.
- After that cool on a wire rack.
To serve the arepas, you can slice them in half and fill with your choice of fillings such as ham and cheese, sauteed veggies, or shredded pork.
If you are planning on making some of these foods for a party you will want to serve some Tequila drinks. Here are some useful items needed for serving Tequila:
Hope you get to experiment with these tasty treats. Drop me a line to let me know about any additional variations you try or improvements you make.
Also, for more fun why not take an on line cooking class. Airbnb offers Make Mexican Street Tacos with a Pro Chef.
Donna Emperador is a travel and food blogger and copywriter. Donna believes in learning about different cultures while sharing good food and cocktails. She has lived in South Florida for over 20 years and enjoys spending time exploring the road to find unique places to share with readers. She can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.