‘I like to call it better choices…’

I’ve always been against recipe substitution because I’m always under the impression that if it’s not exactly, then it isn’t at all. But alas, I, like many others of the human race, are victim to the extra lbs that you gain over the Christmas period. I never like to use the word ‘diet’ because I find it limiting, sets you up to fail and is more restrictive than it is motivating. I like to call it ‘better choices’. In this instance, I chose lettuce tacos.

Again, this is not done as a venture into ‘clean eating’ and ridding my kitchen of all nuisance carbohydrates and sobbing every time I have a Tic Tac, all this is, is bringing a variant on an already tried and tested recipe that allows me to feel slightly at ease that I made a good choice for a good meal, as opposed to limiting myself from having something in the name of weight loss.

Replacing taco shells or tortillas with lettuce is no ground breaking discovery nor is it demanding of a parade, but it still gives you that desired crunch whilst still encouraging you to build-your-own dinner, which to me will always be the appeal of a taco.

I think this is also a point to mention that I think ‘the taco’ (or some variation of it) has appeared on this blog more than I cant count. So this is also where I’ll admit that a taco happens to be my favourite thing to eat ever. So with that in mind, the lettuce substitution doesn’t even have to be considered a toe-dip into health consciousness. If you like rock music, you’d surely want to listen to lots of rock bands because the foundation of rock music is still there? This taco is no different.


Heat a little chili oil in a pan before adding a finely sliced red onion and a yellow (or red pepper). I like spice so I used chili oil for extra kick, but if you want to use regular olive oil, please do so. Season the onion with salt and pepper and cook until soft. Sprinkle in a little oregano and cumin. Now add the turkey mince and break up with a spoon. Cook until it begins to lose its pink colour before sprinkling in some chili powder and paprika. This is also where I add a little hot sauce (I use Frank’s) just to boost the spice. It’s not authentic for a taco at all and it’s a fairly tacky addition but go with it.

Allow this to cook on a medium heat on the hob while you make your lettuce tacos. How I find it easier to get these is to take a full head of lettuce and cut it in half. Then, keeping peeling a layer of lettuce from the head itself to give you cupped-hand shaped lettuce boats. Spoon your turkey mix into the lettuce boat and decorate with coriander.

I’d recommend grabbing a fork for these too. Goes without saying that lettuce is not a tortilla and rips slightly with too much pressure so you may get the odd bit of turkey mix falling out and hitting the plate – but that’s part of the scooping process afterwards. I recommended the fork for cleanliness purposes but I have used my fingers before, but I’m an animal.

It’s the quickest, simplest and healthiest way to consume a taco. By all means replace your lettuce with actual corn tortillas, the way I do when I’m not in my temporary ‘must lose weight but still eat well’ fad. My fads tend to only last until the middle of February when I’m back down to my usual weight and then I get over myself and go back to my usual ways.

But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be more than happy to consume these even when I am at my peak of gluttony.



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