Ground Beef (or Turkey) Tacos

I was torn about whether or not to post this very basic ground beef (or turkey) taco recipe as it is quite mundane, but every night can’t be gourmet and this is a staple in our house, it comes together fairly quickly and is pretty healthy. Once upon a time I made ground beef or turkey tacos using the little McCormick package of seasoning. Then one day I read the ingredients and was horrified at the sodium content and decided getting the spices right on my own can’t be too difficult, so I have been making totally homemade tacos ever since (last 10 years or so). Today I used organic, grass fed, lean (10% fat) ground beef, but I use ground turkey breast just as often, just depends on what we have already eaten that week. We have had a lot of chicken this week (which my son currently doesn’t really care for), so I thought it was time for a little beef to mix things up. I served the tacos with fresh corn cooked in the microwave and sliced off the cob since there is still some decent looking corn at the market that has been grown locally here in Northern CA, I figured we should get it fresh while we still can. I don’t add anything to the corn since it is so fresh and sweet already. I also served some chopped tomatoes, homemade fresh guacamole and sliced bell peppers with the meal. I made mine into a taco salad and my son had his as a soft taco.

Basic Tacos

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Basic and entirely homemade taco recipe that works perfectly with ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey.

Note: I am really guessing on the spice amounts on this as I don’t follow a recipe I just improvise when I make it, so hopefully it will be accurate. Feel free to add more of less to your liking.”


  • 1/2 large sweet onion (or a yellow onion), chopped
  • 2 large cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 pound of lean ground beef (I use grass-fed organic beef) or ground turkey breast
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • black pepper to taste (I start with about 20 turns of my pepper grinder)
  • salt to taste (start with maybe 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • cheddar cheese, grated
  • tortillas of choice or lettuce for a salad base
  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 1/2 fresh lime, squeezed
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons onion, minced
  • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • a few turns of the pepper mill


  1. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add a little extra virgin olive oil to the pan and swirl to cover pan. Add onion and sauté for about 4 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add garlic and sauté another minute.
  2. Add ground meat to the onion mixture. Cook approximately 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked. Drain grease.
  3. Add spices and 1/2 cup of water, bring to a boil and then turn heat down to medium low and simmer for at least 10 minutes or until the water is mostly gone. I usually make ahead of time and let it simmer longer, adding more water as needed to keep it from drying out and the additional time intensifies the flavor.
  4. While the meat is simmering make the guacamole by smashing the avocados in a small bowl. Add chopped tomatoes, cilantro, onion, garlic, black pepper and lime juice, mix well.
  5. Warm the tortillas. Serve the meat with shredded cheese, guacamole, chopped tomatoes, jalapeños and other toppings of your choice. Today I served fresh corn and sliced bell peppers. Sometimes I roast an assortment of peppers.       October 2016

Cooking the ground beef, onions and garlic
The spice mixture
The beef mixture with the spices
Making guacamole
Fresh corn


The taco
The taco salad



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