Eat of the Moment

Taco Cups!

I love tacos. I love them more than most things in this wide world of ours. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love them and I don’t think a time will ever come when I don’t love them. I always always always always want to eat tacos. On my deathbed, I’ll want to eat tacos. As I’m riding a horse and leading my men into battle, I’ll want to eat tacos.  As I paint the world’s next great masterpiece, I’ll have a taco in one hand and a drop of my paint will fall onto it, but I will eat it anyway. Of course. Crunch.

My obsession with Mexican food is well-documented here on Eat of the Moment, but I’ve never posted a taco recipe. I thought Cinco de Mayo would be the perfect time to remedy that glaring oversight. In honor of the Battle of Puebla (nope, not Mexican Independence Day, although people tend to think that’s what Cinco de Mayo celebrates. Mexican Independence Day is actually September 16th. The more you know, right?), I’ve cooked up a special taco recipe for you. Or should I say, a taco-inspired recipe.

Because these aren’t your traditional tacos. They’re taco cups! Tiny crunchy containers just ready to hold all your favorite taco fixins’. They’re cute as hell, too. I mean, just look at them. SO CUTE. Perfect for kids and really perfect for parties but also totally perfect for a weeknight in getting loopy with powdered margarita mix or Tecate.

And, just like tacos, you can make these with whatever ingredients you have. This recipe uses black beans, but anything goes! Chicken, beef, tofu, seitan, veggies, lentils, kidney beans, shrimp, fish, calf’s tongue. WHATEVER. Top with guac or cilantro or hot sauce or sour cream. I made mine with corn tortillas because I like the taste a bit better, but they’re totally fine to make with flour, as well.

Taco Cups

makes 6 taco cups

total time: 20 minutes

total hands on time: 15 minutes

What you’ll need:

  • 6 tortillas
  • 1 muffin tin
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil or other healthy oil
  • 1 can (about 2 1/2 cups) black beans
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped (or about a tbsp)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • salt to your taste
  • optional: red pepper flakes, sprinkle of ground ginger
  • toppings: lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese, salsa, etc

What you’ll do:

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Using a pizza cutter, carefully cut the tortillas into 3-4 inch squares.

3. Then, wrap the tortillas (I did two at a time) loosely in a paper towel and heat in a microwave for about 15 seconds. This makes them pliable!

4. Placing one tortilla square in each muffin cup, kind of carefully mold and smoosh the tortilla so it takes on a cup shape. You can drizzle some oil on it if you want, too, but it works just fine without.

5. Bake the tortillas for about 15-20 minutes.

6. While the cups are crisping, chop the onions and garlic and rinse the beans.

7. Saute onions in olive oil on medium high heat. After onions are translucent, add black beans and cumin, chili powder, salt and red pepper flakes and ginger (if you’re using them). Cook for about 5-10 minutes, or until beans are thoroughly heated and flavored. if you want to make it even easier, you can just use a packet of taco seasoning on the beans.

8. Once the tortillas are finished, scoop the beans in and pile on your toppings! Picture are lettuce, tomato, avocado and shredded cheese. You’ll have quite a bit of bean mixture left over, maybe even enough to make 12 taco cups. It’s also great on a salad.

See? Totally easy, but just a little bit more exciting than regular tacos. Plus, baking tortillas is always healthier than frying them. Here’s two I tried with flour tortillas, just so you can see:

Bonus mini recipe: Wondering to do with the leftover tortilla scraps? Rub them in canola or another healthy oil, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (maybe even a smidge of salt), and bake on a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes. Dip them in honey and tada!! Insta-dessert.

You can also season the scraps with savory spices and bake the same way for a great soup, chili, or salad topping.

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