11 Taco Night Ideas That Don't Require a Shell to Hold Everything Together
So you’re having an emergency taco craving? Totally normal. But, what happens if, for some reason, you’re avoiding tortillas? Don’t panic. You’ve still got options, even if you have to ditch the shell.
While some claim tacos without tortillas are no tacos at all, we think it’s OK to love them for who they are on the inside. Though a far cry from traditional tacos, these healthy taco recipes take inspiration from the flavor palate and good vibes of their flawless predecessors. The tacoway is this: You can shed the shell like a molting hermit crab and still get your taco fix. All it takes is a little creativity... and some vegetables.
When boiled, roasted, or grilled, whole red bell peppers become sweet and smoky, making them the perfect vessels for this deeply savory and spicy taco filling. This recipe keeps it simple when it comes to spices, but you can always add more chili powder and paprika to add some extra heat. Top with cheese, sour cream, and cilantro, and serve as an appetizer or main course.
If you’re ditching the shell, you might as well make up for it in cheese! These taco cups are nothing but cheese. All you need is a muffin tin and five minutes of cooking time, and voila—you’ve got the perfect armor for an army of tiny tacos. These little guys make great appetizers, potluck material, and fiesta-themed party snacks.
Romaine lettuce brings spicy chicken, fresh tomato, and creamy cilantro sauce into a warm embrace in this keto and Paleo-compliant recipe. A lighter option, these lettuce wraps are perfect for summer lunches or dinners—for a more filling option, toss in a little extra avocado and, unless you’re on the keto diet, grilled corn. The best part? The zesty cilantro sauce makes a great summer salad dressing, so make extra.
Traditional tacos are tasty, but this clean iteration ditches the gluten, keeps the flavor, and brings the bulk. If you’re really hungry for a taco-inspired dinner that avoids any processed ingredients (including sugar and dairy), this "potataco" will definitely hit the spot.
If you’re on the Whole30, vegetarian, or maybe both, these portobello tacos are great options. Meaty portobello mushrooms marinated in a spicy harissa sauce come to life, creating a satisfying, light summer dish. Basically, you get all the taco gains without meat or grains.
It’s hard to believe this is a low-carb dish, but with a “cornbread” base made from almond flour, eggs, and mozzarella, it brings the thick, fluffy texture you’d expect in a cornbread bake—but without the carbs. This is a heartier take on the taco and a great dish to bring to a summer cookout or winter potluck.
If you’ve been trying to spice up your taco game, these poppers might offer a good place to start. Sure, you could just stuff these peppers with cheese to make a traditional popper... but why not throw the whole taco in there too? Easily portable—and easy on the eyes—these bacon-wrapped jalapeños make a great celebratory snack or game-day app.
This isn’t your typical fried fish taco. These lettuce wraps combine fresh cod with a sweet summer salsa. Chop up strawberries and peaches, and garnish with some lime, salt, and cilantro. It’s a flavorful, summery option when you’re looking to keep it light.
It's time to taco-bout brunch. This sweet scramble is a great grain-free alternative to the traditional breakfast taco. If you want this to really hit the spot, add a fried egg, avocado, and crumbled bacon to really beef it up. If you’re not Whole30, get that cheddar involved (try queso fresco or sharp cheddar.)
Stuffed with beef, salsa, cheese, and all the seasonings, these refreshing zucchini rafts are the perfect summer snack. If a little extra flavor floats your boat, top with some cilantro. Light but packed with protein, these zucchini boats can be kept in the fridge for great on-the-go snacks and lunches.
This genius Frankenstein-ian recipe takes the best part of the taco and slathers it on top of a pizza. We’re talking bell peppers, smoked paprika, black beans, cheddar, avocado, and cilantro piled on top of a crispy sweet potato crust. Sure, it might sound like a second-grade science experiment, but it tastes like a culinary arts thesis. Serve it up at the next pizza party... or Taco Tuesday!