Tacos really are for everyone – handheld, no fuss, and easily customizable. In fact, an estimated 4.5 billion tacos are consumed each year in the United States. As tacos are of Mexican origin, they’re a staple item on Cinco de Mayo, the popular Mexican holiday which commemorates Mexico’s victory over France in the state of Puebla in 1862. In the U.S., the holiday has become a celebration of Mexican heritage that revolves around food, drinks, and street fairs. Many American celebrants indulge in tacos, nachos, and other cheesy dishes, along with margaritas and dips, which are often high in sugar, and saturated fat, and not particularly nutrient-dense. Consider trying these easy recipes that put a fresh spin on Mexican-American cuisine.
Blood Orange Mock-A-Rita with a Kick – Serves 4
Mocktails are becoming increasingly popular at bars and even in home kitchens as more people are exploring life with no or less alcohol. They can be just as satisfying as their cocktail counterpart if prepared with balanced ingredients. This lower-sugar spin on a spicy margarita uses blood orange to provide similar mouthfeel elements as tequila.
- 1 large blood orange, quartered (or half a small blood orange)
- 1 jalapeño, sliced, seeds removed if desired
- 4 large limes, juiced
- 6 tablespoons light agave or simple syrup
- 1 12-ounce. can lime-flavored sparkling water
- Optional – 1 Tbsp. coarse salt for the rim
- If a salt rim is desired, rub some lime juice along the rim and dip in coarse salt
- In a glass, add a few jalapeño slices and press down with a muddler or spoon. Leave the jalapeño slices in there if you desire a spicier aftermath.
- Add ice, squeeze a quarter wedge of blood orange, and 1 lime.
- Add 1 ½ tablespoons of simple syrup and stir well. Adjust sweetness if desired.
- Top with lime sparkling water. Cheers!
Margarita-marinated Chicken Tacos with Citrus Avocado Salsa – Serves 4
In this recipe, chicken is marinated in a flavorful mixture of olive oil, tequila, citrus, garlic, and spices. Pounded and then grilled to perfection, it is then with tortillas or butter lettuce and a refreshing salsa made with grapefruit, avocado, and tomatoes.
For the chicken
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons tequila
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- ½ orange, zested and juiced, reserve the other half for salsa
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
- ¼ to ½ tsp. red pepper flakes, depending on spice preference
- ½ tsp. ground coriander
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless (about 2 pounds), pounded
- 4 lime wedges, for serving
- For serving – tortillas, butter lettuce cups, cilantro, lettuce, and creamy sauce like cilantro ranch
For the salsa
- ½ orange
- 2 avocados
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add all ingredients except chicken breasts to a 1-gallon freezer bag. Close the bag use your hands and shake the bag to mix. Add the pounded chicken breasts. Seal the bag and place it in a bowl in the refrigerator. Marinate for 2-4 hours.
- For the salsa, uniformly dice all ingredients and place them in a bowl. Gently mix using a spoon so that the avocado doesn’t smush.
- Clean the grill and preheat to high. Spray the grates with a non-flammable cooking spray. Place the chicken breasts on the grill and spoon over any remaining marinade Grill, covered, for 2 to 3 minutes per side (turning only once). Allow to rest for 10 minutes, then slice and serve with salsa. Serve immediately with lime wedges. Serve with butter lettuce cups, street taco flour or corn tortillas, and salsa.
Shanthi Appelö is a registered dietitian and health and wellness spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan based in Detroit. Passionate about the science of nutrition and behavior, Shanthi has experience working in clinical nutrition, public health and teaching in the university setting. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting in the kitchen, exploring the outdoors, working on art and spending time with family. For more recipes and health information, visit ahealthiermichigan.org.
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