Many of our recipes have few, if any, animal products. None of the To Taste dietitians are vegan or even vegetarian, we are just big proponents of plant-forward diets. We aim to make plants the center of our meals, and we encourage you to do the same! These healthy beef tacos with mushrooms are a great way to include more plants in your diet without cutting out the meat! Learning how to stretch ground beef for tacos using veggies is great for both your health and your wallet!
Three Must-Know Cooking Skills
For recipe success, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for Ground Beef and Mushroom Tacos
Rinse mushrooms briefly under running water; do not soak. Mushrooms are like sponges, and will hold on to the water! Be sure to pat them dry with a towel to ensure proper caramelization.
When dicing the mushrooms and onions, think about the final product. If you are trying to hide the mushrooms in the taco meat (great for picky eaters), we recommend creating finely diced pieces. Don’t have enough patience to finely dice the mushrooms? Blitz sliced mushrooms in a food processor to easily create small pieces!
If your ground beef comes in a one pound package, save half in an airtight container for another use. Ground beef can be frozen for up to 3 months.
If you don’t want to save the rest of the beef for later, you can also double the recipe. If doubling the recipe, use two separate pans. Placing all of the mushrooms and onions in one pan will prevent caramelization.
Fire, fat, food! Heat your pan, heat your oil, then add your food! Follow these steps to ensure maximum flavor development.
When you first add the mushrooms and onions, don’t stir! Let the veggies sit for a few minutes to enhance the caramelization process.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: substitute regular olive, canola, or avocado oil.
- Mushrooms: use any variety of mushroom: button, bella, crimini, or Portobello.
- Onion: use white, yellow, or red.
- Grass-Fed Ground Beef: substitute grass-fed ground lamb or bison. You can also substitute ground turkey or chicken, but note that you may need to add a little more oil, as turkey and chicken are lower in fat than beef. The color will also not hide the mushrooms as well.
- Garlic: substitute 1 teaspoon pre-minced garlic, 1 teaspoon garlic flakes, ½ teaspoon granulated garlic, or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder.
- Spices: substitute 1 ½ Tablespoons taco seasoning.
- Salsa: use your favorite flavor of salsa!
- Whole Wheat Tortillas: substitute corn tortillas.
We love buying our spices from The Spice House. Click on the picture below to view & try out hundreds of flavorful spices and herbs!
If you are not a big fan of mushrooms, try making the recipe with 4 ounces of mushrooms first and seeing how you like it. We encourage adjusting recipes to your taste!
You can also replace the mushrooms with 1 cup cooked lentils, but note that the taste and texture will be significantly different. Mushrooms add moisture and umami to the recipe! Don’t worry about caramelizing the lentils, just add to the cooked beef and warm through.
Change up the toppings to vary the recipe! Diced avocado or guacamole, lime crema, chopped cilantro, shredded or crumbled cheese, non-refried beans, diced tomato, and/or a squeeze of lime juice would all be delicious!
Make ground beef street tacos by using corn tortillas, then topping with fresh cilantro, diced onion, and a squeeze of lime juice.
Use these kitchen tools for recipe success!
- Cutting Board
- Chef’s Knife
- Kitchen Scale
- 12” Stainless Steel Skillet
- Dry Measuring Cups & Spoons
- Wooden Spoon
Are Beef Tacos Healthy?
These ground beef and mushroom tacos are a healthier alternative to 100% meat tacos! We recognize that not everyone is interested in adopting a vegan, vegetarian, or even flexitarian diet, but finding ways to incorporate more plants into the diet is key to health and longevity! The featured ingredients that make this taco recipe healthier are mushrooms, grass-fed ground beef, and salsa.
Mushrooms are a unique vegetable that contain a host of health benefits. They are a good source of prebiotic fibers, dietary Vitamin D, and phytochemicals with beneficial health effects. (1, 2, 3) Mushrooms contain the amino acid, glutamate, giving them a distinct umami taste. Umami is the savory taste sensation often found in meat. Substituting mushrooms in a taco meat mixture adds complexity and depth to the dish while maximizing nutrition.
Grass-Fed Ground Beef
Red meat is not inherently bad. Most people just eat way too much and the wrong kind. Even people in the world’s longest lived populations eat meat on occasion! The key is eating high quality meat, in small portions, and not too often.
We recognize that grass-fed beef is usually more expensive than grain-fed beef, but because you are using half the amount of meat in this recipe, it is definitely worth the cost! By cutting back on the amount of meat you eat, you can afford to eat the high quality stuff when you want.
The main ingredient in salsa is tomatoes. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a phytochemical that helps protect against heart disease and prostate cancer. (6, 7) Canned and/or cooked tomatoes are higher in lycopene than their fresh counterparts. (8)
Serving Suggestions for Healthy Ground Beef Tacos
Build a balanced meal by serving beef mushroom tacos with a side salad or roasted veggies and some fresh fruit. Or make a filling, healthy beef taco salad! Serve the taco meat on a bed of greens with diced avocado, a sprinkling of cheese, and this black bean corn salad. Beef mushroom taco meat is also great on baked tostadas for an easy lunch the next day.
Allow leftover taco meat to cool, then store in an airtight container for up to one week.
You can also freeze leftover taco meat. Allow to cool, cover, then freeze for up to 3 months. Leftover taco meat can also be frozen flat in airtight freezer bags. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave, and then reheat to 165ºF and serve immediately. If frozen in bags, transfer to a microwave safe dish before thawing or heating in the microwave.
Want more healthy dinner recipes?
Now that you know how to make healthy beef tacos, try out these other nutritious favorites!
Healthy Beef Tacos with Mushrooms
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, diced
- ½ medium onion, diced (½ cup)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 8 ounces grass-fed ground beef
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ cup salsa
- 4 8" whole wheat tortillas (or 8, 4" corn tortillas)
- In a small bowl, mix together the Greek yogurt, lime, and paprika. Set aside.
- Heat a 10-12” stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add oil.
- Once oil is shimmering, add mushrooms and onions. Sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt. Sauté for ~5 minutes, stirring occasionally until mushrooms caramelize and turn golden brown.
- Add ground beef, sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt, and break into small pieces. Once the beef begins to release some juices, add garlic and spices, and continue to cook until beef browns, ~5 minutes. Add salsa and stir to combine.
- Warm tortillas. Build your tacos by placing meat/mushroom mixture on a whole wheat tortilla. Top with desired garnishes. Enjoy!