Sunday, May 1, 2016

Colorful, Tasty Tucson Tacos

I love spicy foods of the southwest and can't get enough of south of the border fixings. Today I'm featuring a brightly colored taco dish that melds together the flavors of beans, rice, veggies, herbs, and spices in a convenient corn package.

This post has been updated 6/15/2020 

Taco parties are great fun. Why not make one for Cinco De Mayo? It's a holiday that commemorates the Mexican army's 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). Although it is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico, here in the United States, May 5th festivities often include events that showcase Mexican culture and heritage with parades, mariachi music, street festivals, and food. 

Nancy Andres' Colorful, Tasty Tucson Tacos
hard taco shells stuffed with beans, brown rice, carrots, cabbage, red onion, salsa and side salad

Spicy foods fit the bill in my family and this vegan, gluten free recipe knows what I'm talking about. Its bold taste and eye appeal comes from cayenne and jalapeño pepper, carrots, zucchini, pinto beans, brown rice and salsa. 

Orange, green, red, brown, golden yellow, and purple clue you in to a rainbow of health benefits. Its vibrant taste is a feast for the palate.

We love jalapeño peppers

A Meal That's Simple and Economical to Assemble

From top middle going clockwise-salsa, cabbage, zucchini, red onion, pinto beans, shredded carrot, center nutritional yeast


1 15 oz. can organic pinto or other red bean or 1/2 cups dried beans (when cooked it makes approximately 1 1/2 cup cooked beans)
1/2 jalapeño pepper (use gloves to remove seeds and mince fine)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup cooked organic brown rice (cooked in vegetable broth, to make it golden and add extra flavor)

Organic Brown Rice Cooked in Vegetable Broth 

2 shredded organic carrots 
1 shredded organic zucchini 
1 cup shredded organic green cabbage 
1 medium organic red onion chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped fine
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro for an extra kick
4 Tablespoons B-12 enriched Nutritional Yeast
salt and pepper to taste
side salad-use those veggies you enjoy most. 
4-6 packaged taco shells or fresh corn tortillas

What to do:

1. If you choose to use home cooked beans (about half the price of the same amount of canned ones), start this recipe the night before you want to eat them. Pick over and rinse beans to remove extraneous matter. Soak beans in enough water to cover beans and rise above that level by at least 2 inches. Soak for at least 6-8 hours. See this link for details about how to use Various Methods to Prep Beans.

2. The next day, spill out bean soaking water, and rinse well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 1 1/2 cups beans in a Dutch oven, stainless steel pot, or roasting pan that has a tight lid. Add enough fresh water to cover beans completely. Then add 2 Tablespoons of chili powder, 1/2 jalapeño pepper (use gloves to remove seeds and mince fine), 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast, and fresh chopped cilantro. Stir. Cover and put pot in the oven. Cook for at least 1 hour and 15 minutes or longer. Cooking time is influenced by how fresh the beans are, your altitude, and whether your oven temperature is accurate. Cooking beans in the oven is the method I prefer. Beans are succulent and don't need frequent stirring like those you cook on the range. Check beans at 45 minutes. If a fork can't pierce and cut a bean easily, continue cooking and check every 15 minutes from then on. While beans bake, cook organic brown rice according to package directions, but use vegetable broth in the recipe instead of water. 

Note: If you’re using canned beans combine the 2 Tablespoons chili powder, 1/2 jalapeño pepper (use gloves to remove seeds and mince fine), 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 4 Tablespoons nutritional yeast, and ¼ cup fresh chopped cilantro with the beans. Then proceed to step 3.

3. Mix rice with cooked beans.

4. While the beans and rice are cooking, shred carrots, zucchini, and cabbage (use red or green) in the food processor.  Then, change the blade and chop onion and garlic. Put each in its own dish.

5. After warming hard taco shells in a preheated 350 degree oven for no more than 5 minutes, assemble tacos so they look like the picture at the top of this blog. If you're using soft corn tortillas like the 2 pictures below (the ones I used are made from fresh organic sprouted corn), put them on a baking sheet and pile on the fixings. Then heat until all ingredients are thoroughly heated (about 10 minutes at 350 degrees). Serve immediately.

soft tacos with kidney beans, carrots, zucchini, red onion, salsa, and brown rice on the side

soft tacos curl up as they cook

Homemade tomato salsa makes a fabulous topping for tacos, and here's how to mix it up!

Nancy Andres' Freshly Made Tomato Salsa


4 large vine ripened organic tomatoes (approx. 4 cups tomatoes)
1 teaspoon organic tomato paste and 1 teaspoon water to blend
2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice
1 medium onion 
1/2 jalapeño pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh parsley 
1 clove garlic

What to do

1. Put jalapeño, red pepper flakes, and parsley in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to a fine consistency. Add other ingredients, except garlic. Pulse until the salsa is liquid-y, yet small chunks of onion and tomato are still visible. 

2. Add garlic and pulse for 30 seconds more. This preparation method prevents garlic from becoming overpowering, as the smaller the pieces of garlic the more intense the flavor. 

3. Aaah. Let the elements in this salsa come together for at least 15-30 minutes before serving. There you have it. Freshly made tomato salsa. Refrigerate when not serving.

Nancy Andres' Colorful Tucson Tacos, Tomato Salsa, Guacamole Side, and Massaged Kale Salad

This recipe is a simple to prepare brunch idea, one that's ideal to serve to any woman you care about on Mother's Day.  

Moms come in many shapes and sizes, and some can't celebrate with their family on this day. Others haven't birthed children and/or are step moms. 

Show your appreciation to that best friend, neighbor, or teacher who held your hand when you grieved the loss of your dog. Perhaps you'll reach out to that aunt or sister who hears you, whenever you need to vent your feelings. 

How about serving this festive dish to a woman who was there for you, when you cried your eyes out over the breakup of a long term relationship. 

Is there a special woman at your business who cheers you on and is happy for your success? Most women are natural nurturers and Mother's Day is an opportune time to salute those you feel blessed to know. 

Tacos are tasty additions for any eating plan. No need to wait for a special occasion to serve them. When you're entertaining a crowd, serve Tacos on a taco bar. 

Assemble bowls of guacamole, salsa, refried beans, chili peppers, garbanzo beans, pumpkin seeds, shredded daikon, shredded jicama, marinated red peppers, olives, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and chopped nuts. It's a fun way for family and friends to participate in food preparation. 

Before you go, please take a moment to comment, ask questions, and share your favorite taco or salsa recipes and/or Mother's Day memory. 

Thanks for reading this post at Colors 4 Health. If you enjoyed the information and ideas I provided, add me to your online reading list. The URL is or connect with me on social media to assure you don't miss a thing.

Looking for more taco recipes? Read 

This post has been shared at Traffic-Jam-Weekend-Linky-Party-92 
Happy to share that this post is featured at The-Pant-Based-Potluck-Party-Link-Up-84

This post has been shared at Sunday Fitness & Food Link-Up #14

This post has been shared at Let’s Get Real Friday Party # 140

This post has been shared at Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop #109

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This post has been shared at the Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up #83

This post has been shared at Share The Wealth Sunday #54


  1. Mmmmm. I'll use this recipe, or parts of it, since we like our beans a certain way, on our next taco night. Thank you so much! Looks delicious!

    1. Thanks Kathryn Grace. I think it's wonderful that taco recipes are so adaptable and cooking methods so flexible. Have a great week and keep up the good work. Here's a link to a blog post I think is important to see. It's from Kathryn Grace.

  2. So yummy! This is my kind of healthy comfort food! What a delightful blend of flavors and textures.Thank you for sharing your healthy and delectable Colorful, Tasty Tucson Tacos with us on the Plant-Based Potluck Party Link Up. I'm pinning and sharing.

    1. My pleasure Deborah. What a great lineup of posts this week at the Plant-based Potluck Party Link Up. I'm pinning and sharing them all over the place. Happy Cinco de Mayo and have a great day!

  3. Cooking rice or pasta in broth is such a tasty idea a lot of people don't even think about! My dad does it all the time! :)

    1. Thanks Gigi. Sorry it took a few days to get back to you. I have just been overwhelmed with things to do. I agree with your dad. Why not add that extra flavor, nutrition, and color by using broth to cook this staples? Have a fabulous weekend. Nancy Andres

  4. This looks delicious!! I love homemade salsa & look forward to trying your recipe!! thanks for sharing at the Sunday Fitness & Food Link-Up!

    1. Thanks Angela for the comment. Please let me know how you like the salsa recipe and whether you made it mild, medium, or hot. The Sunday Fitness & Food Link-Up is so fun. Nancy Andres

  5. Oh wow, these tacos looks delicious! I've never tried zucchini with my taco, yum!

    1. Thanks so much Janelle for your comment. I try to get creative and incorporate as many kinds of vegetables in meals as I can. Eating the rainbow (large assortment of colored fruits and veggies) is a great health benefit. Have a great weekend and let me know it you try out my recipes. Nancy Andres

  6. Perfect for my next party! I am so delighted that you shared your easy, tasty and healthy Colorful, Tasty Tucson Tacos with us at the Healthy Happy Green Natural Party! I’m Pinning and sharing this!

    1. Thanks Deborah. Had a ball at the Link-up party and look forward to visiting again. Happy Taco making and a great weekend. Nancy Andres

  7. These look FAbulous!! Thank you for sharing at the Sunday Fitness & Food Link-Up, Pinned :-)

    1. Thanks so much Angela. I pinned your post as well. Wishing you a great weekend. Nancy Andres

  8. Hi Nancy, these look delicious! I've never put zucchini in a taco either, but I'm going to have to now that I've seen these. So colorful and healthy and tasty!

    1. Thanks Lee for your comment. I appreciate the many good food ideas I learn from you at Veggie Quest. Wishing you a Happy Day! Nancy A.