Turkey Tacos

Turkey Tacos

Turkey Tacos with Mango Salsa


We were traveling in Mexico with family recently, and found ourselves walking the streets of Ensenada looking for a place to have lunch.  While everyone else was fretting over what they perceived as a danger of eating the local food in Mexico, my husband (who has the same food issues as me) and I were fretting over how to find a gluten-free, dairy free meal with minimal ability to speak Spanish. 


Instead of eating at a touristy chain restaurant, we wandered off the main drag and found ourselves a little bar and taqueria.  What we found was a surprisingly fresh, healthy, and tasty meal – the best grilled fish tacos I’ve ever had, served on corn tortillas that were made from scratch right there in front of us, topped with fresh chopped onions, cilantro, and radishes.  It was amazing.  My only regret was that I couldn’t have a cervesa (those ice-cold bottles of Negra Modello looked tempting but alas, no beer for the gluten-intolerant!).


The interesting thing about foreign countries is that unless they are completely Americanized, they don’t put all the crap into their food that we do in the USA.  It is easy to find real home-cooked food that is not processed or artificially flavored or preserved for a shelf-life of a year or more.  While our family was so concerned about catching some disease from eating the local food, the real danger lies in all the hormones, preservatives, and food additives that get put into our American food supply every day.


After our meal, we walked along the promenade and saw a woman selling fresh mangoes at a little stand on the street.  Just cutting them up fresh right in front of us, and seasoning them with a little chili pepper for spice.  Delicious!  Imagine that – what if instead of selling hotdogs and doughnuts we put fresh fruit stands on the streets of our cities? 


Anyway, the combination of the mangoes and the tacos on that day were the inspiration for this meal.  I usually make my tacos with ground turkey (not fish, although that will be my next attempt!), sauteed with onions, garlic, and pasilla or poblano chili peppers (chosen for their milder spice), and tossed with fresh cilantro.  I occasionally add mozarella-style almond cheese (it does have a small amount of casein in it, so this is optional for those who are allergic).  I also enjoy topping them with some sauteed greens such as spinach or red chard, but this is optional as well.  Then I garnish it with my fresh mango salsa for a sweet, spicy combination.



1 lb ground turkey (preferably dark meat)

2 T olive oil

1 small onion

2 cloves garlic

1/2 pasilla or poblano chili pepper

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

8 small corn tortillas

1 bunch fresh spinach or red chard (optional)

Grated almond cheese (optional)

Mango Salsa



For the filling:


Toast the cumin seeds in a hot pan on the stovetop for 2-3 minute, then grind in a spice grinder or mortar & pestle.  Chop the onion and pepper and press the garlic cloves; saute in olive oil for 2-3 minutes.  Add the ground turkey, spices and salt, and saute until the turkey is browned.  Toss with fresh chopped cilantro just before serving.




Heat the tortillas for 10-15 seconds each, while sauteing the optional spinach or red chard in olive oil until soft and rich green in color.  Spoon the meat mixture onto each tortilla and top with sauteed greens and grated almond cheese (optional), and my delicious mango salso.




Serves 4

Side dish suggestion: tomato cucumber cilantro salad

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