Possibly the best thing about a taco bar is the ability for everyone to enjoy a taco (or two) personalized to their own taste. Because of this, taco bars are the perfect food staple for weddings, large parties or even weeknight dinner.Jump to Recipe
Why make a taco bar?
The best thing about taco bars is the variety of different fillings. From various tortillas, meats, cheeses, vegetables and sauces the options are endless!
On a recent trip to Denver, we ate at a wonderful little taco bar called Agave Taco Bar. The homemade tortillas ranged from simple corn tortillas to spinach-poblano tortillas to squid ink tortillas. The fillings were wonderful, including everything from pulled roasted duck to beef tongue, to home braised pork belly. Of course there were great cheeses of all kinds, Mexican spices and vegetables such as cactus leaves and tomatillos.
The restaurant world has more unique items (such as squid ink tortillas) available to them, but taco bars are easy to adapt to an at-home party or dinner. Although taco bars can have quite a few ingredients, making the taco bar at home allows you to use ingredients for another dish or later on in the week. However, the one ingredient that does not store well for later use is the guacamole. I included the recipe for guacamole with nopales (cactus) and tomato below.
Taco Bar Ingredients & Assembly
There are literally an endless amount of choices for taco bar ingredients. Below are some ideas that we enjoy at our house, but there are plenty of other options out there!
I included a range of choices for those on the slow carb diet, with a recipe for the guacamole and low carb options for the tortillas.
Meat & Fish:
- Roast pork, cooked until tender in slow cooker
- Catfish, lightly sautéed in oil and shredded
- Chicken, roasted and shredded
Suggested Cheeses & Sauces:
- Oaxaca cheese
- queso fresco cheese
- sharp cheddar
- fruit salsas
- chipotle salsa
- tomatillo salsa
- aioli (for fish tacos)
- guacamole (see recipe below)
- sliced radishes
- Raw onions or pickled onions
- cabbage slaw
- roasted poblano strips
- roasted red peppers
- refried black beans
- cactus paddles, chopped
- caramelized pineapple pieces
Shells & Chips
- You can always use your favorite tortilla shells or chips, but if you want a lower carb option the following work well
- Cauliflower Tortillas- You can find the recipe for the cauliflower tortillas here.
- Siete tortillas- the almond flour tortillas are the lowest carb option they have available but there are other tortillas as well as chips
There were several recipes and videos on the internet for the cauliflower tortillas that were all slightly different, so it did take a little messing around with to find the recipe that held together but was flexible enough to hold like a flour tortilla. The recipe above was a very slight adaptation from this one at slimpalate.com A similar one can be found at empowered sustenance and Tasty Alternative.
Guacamole as a low carb option for an easy taco bar
Guacamole is one of the main sides in Mexican cooking. Traditional guacamole is made using a mortar and pestle, but it’s just as easily made with a fork. Nopales (cactus paddles) are also very traditional Mexican fare and are sometimes a separate item on a taco bar- cooked and chopped or diced.
The following recipe is for a great, unique guacamole with the nopales mixed in, which adds a cool, creamy element to the taco bar. Buen provecho!
Low Carb Guacamole with Nopales
- 1 cactus paddle or 1/2 cup chopped cactus spines removed, chopped
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime juiced
- 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 roma tomato diced
- 1 jalapeno diced
- 4 sprigs of cilantro
- If you buy a fresh cactus paddle, remove all the spines by running a spoon or knife along the front and back. Cut off the sides of the paddle and discard. Check the nopal paddle carefully to make sure all spines are removed and rinse thoroughly. Chop or dice to your preference.
- Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet and add chopped cactus. Cook for about 10 minutes until cactus is cooked. Set aside to cool.
- Peel and remove pit from avocado and add to a large bowl. Add the lime juice, olive oil and salt.
- Finely dice the tomato, jalapeno and cilantro. Add to bowl with the avocado and add the cooked cactus. Slightly mash and mix all ingredients together. Place in the refrigerator to meld the flavors for about a half an hour before serving.