I’d never heard of walking tacos until a few months ago when I got a coupon for walking tacos from a fast food restaurant. After looking them up online, I realized they’re actually pretty popular.
Just don’t ask Urban Dictionary what they are because you may get the wrong idea… I’ve already made that mistake for you so allow me explain instead:
Walking tacos are essentially tacos that have had the shells replaced with a single serving bag of corn chips. The entire dish is eaten straight from the bag with the taco meat and toppings served over the chips.
They’re actually pretty simple –
Open the bag of chips and crush them a little with your hands:
Top with taco meat:
And finish off with your favorite toppings:
I just love the idea of walking tacos, especially for casual parties or picnics. All you have to do is cook taco meat then set out some toppings, bags of chips, and plastic forks and your guests take care of the rest.
There are no dishes to do (unless you’re like me and reuse your plastic utensils) and it’s far less messy than eating a taco served in a shell. Double or triple the recipe to serve a crowd.
Walking tacos are sometimes referred to as “tacos in bags” or “Frito boats” although, sometimes various flavors of Doritos or other corn chips are used in place of Fritos. I had to make a change to the traditional walking taco recipe because I can’t eat corn.
I also prefer to create paleo-friendly recipes so a corn-free version was a must! To do this, I simply swapped out the corn chips for some store-bought, unripe plantain chips. I always use plantain chips when I want corn chips. Plantain chips dipped in salsa is my weakness! They really make a great substitute.
You’ll want to make sure you use unripened plantain chips as opposed to ripe/sweet. The unripened variety aren’t sweet at all while the ripe kind would be overly sweet for this dish and have somewhat of a banana flavor.
I used Inka Chips brand (the green bag) which hold a bit more than a serving. That’s why you’ll notice I cut the bags in half in the recipe.
You can also make your own plantain chips if you can’t find store-bought. You’ll just have to serve these in bowls instead of from a bag. I try to select plantains that are bright yellow with maybe a touch of green but little black. Peel the plantains then cut them in half.
Use a mandolin or very sharp knife to thinly slice the plantains. Toss them in a melted fat like lard or coconut oil and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake 13-16 minutes, or until crispy. Sprinkle with some salt and place on a paper towel to cool.
A lot of taco seasonings contain corn and dairy products (I don’t do well with either!) so a few months ago, I made my own taco seasoning. Both my husband and I agree that it’s actually even better than the pre-made seasonings I used to buy so that’s what I used on the meat in this recipe.
I was thinking about posting it as a separate recipe on my blog so I can link to it for use in future recipes. I think it has just the right amount of spice to it but you can adjust the cayenne pepper amount to your own taste.
I’d like to try the taco seasoning on fish or shrimp with some lime juice and maybe make fish walking tacos as a variation. It may also be a good idea to season some black beans with a bit of the seasoning as a replacement for the ground beef for anybody who doesn’t eat meat.
Some toppings ideas for this recipe are salsa, sour cream, diced tomatoes, sliced black olives, shredded cheese, jalapeños, cilantro, lime zest, avocado, guacamole, and diced red or white onion.
You can really use whatever you like and feel free to get creative with it! I just grabbed a few things I had on hand: salsa, dairy free cheddar, and black olives.
- 1 lb ground beef
- ½ onion, diced
- 1½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp cayenne
- ¼ tsp cumin
- 2 3.5 oz bags plantain chips
- 1 C romaine lettuce, torn or shredded
- optional toppings: salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, black olives, diced tomatoes, lime zest, jalapeños, cilantro, avocado, guacamole, diced onion
- In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef with diced onion and seasonings. Transfer to a serving bowl, if desired.
- Use scissors to cut each bag of chips in half. Make sure the chips are distributed evenly between the two halves.
- To serve, set out the half bags of chips alongside the meat, lettuce, and whatever optional toppings you've chosen. Allow people to build their own walking tacos by adding meat and the other toppings to their individual bags of chips.