Cooking / Mains / Recipe Index / Tips

How-to Tuesday: Assembling a Taco Bar

There is an art to the taco bar.  You need to make sure you have good toppings, lest you be judged by…someone like me.  Since I regularly celebrate Taco Tuesday like the holiday that it is, I have gotten pretty good at setting up a taco bar.  I have two variations on my spread: one set of toppings if we’re having seafood tacos (fish or shrimp), the other for any type of meat (ground beef, steak, chicken, carnitas).

how to tuesday - taco bar1

Bowls, ready to be filled with toppings

  • Toppings that are great no matter what:
    • Sour cream
    • Lettuce
    • Avocado
  • Toppings that are especially great for seafood tacos
    • Slaw – Use a base of red cabbage, mayo, and sour cream.  Add cilantro, lime, chiles in adobo, or chile lime seasoning blend if you feel like it.
    • Light salsa – It’s easy and so much tastier when you make it fresh (see my recipe at the bottom of this post).  Some people like fruit salsas.  I am opposed to fruit salsa, but I won’t stop you.
    • Avocado crema (avocado, sour cream, and hot sauce)
    • Shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Toppings that are especially great for meat tacos
    • Cotija cheese
    • Radishes
    • Sauteed veggies
    • Corn Salsa
how to tuesday - taco bar2

A couple of the toppings that went great with ground turkey tacos, including sour cream with hot sauce stirred in (a personal fave).  PS – for that taco, I cooked the turkey with taco seasoning and a can of fire roasted tomatoes.  And let me tell ya, those fire roasted tomatoes are goooood.

how to tuesday - taco bar6

I like sauteed peppers and onions best on shrimp and steak tacos.

how to tuesday - taco bar5

I love pairing some sort of slaw with seafood/shrimp tacos.  For a quick and easy (and tasty!) version, combine shredded cabbage with equal parts mayo and sour cream and then sprinkle in lime and seasoning like chile salt.

Feel free to mix and match or even put alllll of these toppings out there.  The point is, it’s nice to have options;  however, as you can see from the above, there are a few things that always need to make the cut:

  1. Some sort of salsa
  2. Some sort of cheese
  3. Something crunchy (lettuce, slaw, radishes)
  4. Avocado (in pure form, crema, or guac)
how to tuesday - taco bar4

Salsa is vital!  This version was my go-to for potlucks.  Combine 1-2 chopped tomatos, 1 can each (rinsed) black beans and corn, half of a chopped white or yellow onion, cilantro, juice of 1 lime, and 1 minced jalapeno.  It’s almost like a salad vs. a salsa so it’s great the next day with some sort of protein mixed in.

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