Mushroom and Beef Tacos with Salsa Verde

Tomatoes lend themselves to all sorts of ethnic fare, especially Mexican food. Can you imagine what south-of-the-border cuisine would be without the delicious red orbs of summer?

For one thing, there would be no red salsa or sauces. Tomatoes also are frequently used in Mexican soups and stews. And how about their use as a garnish for fresh tacos?

Here’s a classic Mexican recipe for tacos with salsa verde, courtesy of the Mushroom Council. The salsa also contains another food, avocado, which figures prominently in Mexican cuisine. And that’s not to mention cilantro, Serrano chilies, garlic, onion and lemon or lime juice.

Mushroom and Beef Tacos with Salsa Verde
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
¼ pound 85 percent lean ground beef
¾ pound white button mushrooms
¾ pound crimini mushrooms
2 cups julienne of sweet onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
4 tablespoons ground chili pepper
Salt and pepper if necessary
Lime juice to taste
8 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded green cabbage
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
4 tablespoons Cotija cheese, grated
1 large, ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and cut in ½-inch dice
1/3 cup diced tomato
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
½ teaspoon seeded and minced Serrano chili
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
¼ teaspoon sugar
Heat a saute pan over medium-high heat. Place ground beef in pan and cook; season with salt and pepper. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown. Chop mushrooms to approximately the size and texture of ground beef and saute in a separate pan with 2 tablespoons olive oil for 3 to 5 minutes. Combine mushrooms and meat and set aside.
Heat saute pan used for ground beef over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until golden brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add the mushroom/beef mixture and ground chili pepper. Saute  2 to 3 minutes, stirring. Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lime juice.
To serve, toss shredded cabbage with salt, pepper, lime juice and cilantro. Place 2 tablespoons of shredded cabbage on a tortilla, and top with 2 tablespoons of mushroom and beef mixture. Top with a generous tablespoon of avocado salsa, and sprinkle with Cotija cheese to taste.
To make Avocado Salsa Verde: Combine all salsa ingredients and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Yield: Serves 8.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 270 calories, 12 grams fat (3grams saturated), 20 milligrams cholesterol, 70 milligrams sodium, 11 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams dietary fiber.

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