I know I’ve said it before, but I love tacos! And while I love tacos, hubby LOVES tacos. It’s that love that is inspiring me to create some unique taco flavor ideas because even though we absolutely adore the traditional taco, it’s fun to come up with something new.
I wanted to make our favorite turkey tacos but was lacking on the cabbage we normally use for the shredded veggie. Digging around I pulled out a fennel bulb and thought, “Why not?” Inspired by fall and the ingredients I actually had, I went into creation mode.
I also loved lentils and recently realized how “meaty” textured and flavored they can become in tacos after my experiment with vegetarian tacos. Mixing them in with the turkey for these tacos was a cheap way to increase the volume of the dish and increase the nutritional value exponentially. Flavored with cumin, cinnamon, coriander and some spicy chilies the taco mix was perfect for my apple fennel slaw and honey chipotle aioli for a fall inspired taco.
Yes, I said apple fennel slaw with honey chipotle aioli. My hubby looked at me like I was crazy when I served it up. It was funny to watch him put his tacos together and only drizzle just a little of the aioli on one of them. I knew it was totally DELICIOUS from the taste tests I made while creating the dish. But he was completely in doubt. His exact quote was “those flavors should not work together.”
I couldn’t help but laugh when his face lit up after taking a bite and he picked up his plate to make the trip back into the kitchen to add more to his plate. My sweet and spicy Turkey and Lentil Tacos with Apple Fennel Slaw and Honey Chipotle Aioli are now officially declared keeps and will be on future menus.
Turkey and Lentil Tacos with Apple Fennel Slaw and Honey Chipotle Aioli
1 lb. ground turkey
1 1/2 cups cooked green lentils
3/4 tsp. ground chipotle chilies
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/3 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper + more to taste
Salt to taste
1/2 cup water
Combine all spices in a small bowl and set aside until needed.
Over medium-high heat, cook turkey in a large skillet until done. Stir in spices and cook until fragrant to release oils in spices.
Add in water and lentils. Cook for about 10 minutes or until most of water has evaporated. Season with salt and adjust spices if necessary. Serve hot.
Apple Fennel Slaw
1.5 slightly tart crunchy apples, cut into match sticks (I used Pink Lady)
1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced
6 large brussel sprouts, thinly chopped
Juice from 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix together ingredients in a large bowl and set aside until assembling tacos. Can be made half a day ahead of time without losing color in apples.
Honey Chipotle Aioli
3/4 cup Nonfat Greek yogurt
1/3 cup reduced-fat mayo
3 Tbsp. honey
1 large chipotle pepper + 1 Tbsp. adobe sauce
Juice from 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 garlic clove
Place all ingredients into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Place in fridge for flavors to meld at least 10 minutes before using.
12-14 corn tortillas (you can use flour but it will alter the flavors of the dish and add gluten)
To assemble tacos, heat corn tortillas wrapped in a damp towel in the microwave until warm and flexible.
Place about 1/3 cup of taco mix, followed by apple fennel slaw and finally, drizzle with honey chipotle aioli on the warmed tortillas. Serve immediately.
Plan Taco Tuesday or Thursday with these yummy recipes: