Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A New Take on Tacos: Herbie's Tacos

The secret ingredient to these tacos is Italian dressing! Sounds crazy, right? Herbie's Tacos is a recipe I found in Katie Lee's second book, The Comfort Table: Recipes for Everyday Occasions. Crispy fried white corn tortillas are stuffed with a spicy and extremely flavorful ground turkey filling and then topped with lettuce, scallions, cilantro, tomatoes and avocado that have been dressed in Italian dressing. According to Katie, "If they're not dripping down your hands, you didn't do something right."

Herbie's Tacos
Adapted from Katie Lee's The Comfort Table:Recipes for Everyday Occasions
6-8 servings (24 tacos)
For the taco meat:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
one 7-ounce can chopped green chiles (medium heat)
2 pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons garlic salt (2 tbsp. is a bit salty, 1 tbsp. is probably enough)
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup hot taco sauce, plus more for serving
1/4 cup green taco sauce, plus more for serving
For the Salad:
1 head of iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
1/2 cup minced cilantro
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup Italian-Style Vinaigrette Dressing
For the Shells:
1 cup canola oil
24 white corn tortillas
For Garnish:
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup sour cream

For the Taco Meat: In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil, cilantro, and scallions. Add the chiles and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in the turkey, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat. As the meat is browning, stir in the garlic salt and chili powder. When turkey has cooked through, about 8-10 minutes, stir in the hot sauce and green sauce. Lower the heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally.

For the Salad: As the meat simmers, in a large bowl, toss all salad ingredients with the dressing. Refrigerate until needed.

For the Shells:
Line a baking sheet or large plate with paper towels. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, use tongs to place a tortilla gently in the oil one at a time. After only 5 seconds, in one motion, turn the tortilla over and fold it in half. Cook 20 seconds, flip and cook an additional 20 seconds. Lift out of the oil and drain on the paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, one at a time. (The shells should not be too crisp when they come out of the oil. If they become too crisp tacos will be difficult to stuff).

Assemble the tacos by spooning the meat into shells and topping with cheese, salad and sour cream.

Notes/Results: This recipe really exceeded my expectations. The taco filling had BIG FLAVOR, more so than any I've tasted before. Looking at the filling you could see all the green flecks of cilantro and scallions and there was hints of garlic with a little bit of heat from the chiles and the taco sauce. The salad with the Italian dressing was a fun touch and added extra flavor that married well with the taco filling. I didn't make my own taco shells as stated in the recipe and confess to using boxed taco shells but these were still some fabulous tacos. Loaded down with big flavor these tacos are a fabulously messy flavor explosion that will indeed drip down your hands and onto your arms as you eat. I will be making these again and also topping my tacos with Italian dressing in the future.

I am a complete saltaholic and found the seasoning in this recipe to be right on. For anyone who does not like very salty food, I would suggest reducing the garlic salt to 1 tablespoon.


  1. Saltaholic number two. Right here.

    This is one crazy secret ingredient! Never would have thought of that.

  2. Never thought of it before but it sounds like it would be delicious in a taco. Thanks for sharing the secret.

  3. Seriously......Italian dressing. I would not have thought to add that. I am workiing on a Williams-Sonoma Italain cookbook...so many great recipes.
    BUT - We all love Mexican chow here and this sounds really good.
    I wonder who the next IHCC chef will be? A Mexican chef maybe?!

  4. What a crazy-wonderful idea for a taco dressing! I will definitely give this a try. Luv the idea! (I'm not familiar with this cookbook but am thinking I should take a look!)

  5. We eat a lot of tacos in our home but have never thought to "dress" the salad topping. What a great idea, I will certainly have to remember this the next time we have them :o)

  6. I love tacos and this recipe sounds delicious, Kim!!! I would love the cookbook.

  7. These tacos actually look healthy Kim, as well as delicious, with the ground turky and all the veggies (avocado, mmmmmm...). We don't eat a lot of tacos up here in the Great White North and I think I've been missing out! Looks wonderful!

  8. Italian salad dressing does sound crazy. But good. Thanks for the note about salt. I tend to be overly sensitive to it and have to cut back. Then everyone else complains that it isn't salt enough!

    Didn't make your own shells? Won't hold it against you. I wouldn't either!

  9. we make tacos quite a bit, so it would be a lot of fun to try a different spin! this looks wonderful!

  10. Ah its been a long time since I had a taco. THese look fabulous!
    *kisses* HH

  11. This has my attention - ground turkey that's packed with flavor and Italian dressing. You have me rethinking dinner tonight.

  12. That looks really good and healthy!

  13. That sounds interesting....and I always love my dinner to run down my hands :)

  14. Huh. Very, very interesting ;-P ! LOL...seriously, I cannot imagine it...but I totally want to try it! Crazy combo...it's gotta be good.

  15. Hm, I'm gonna have to give the Italian dressing secret a try on our next taco night. My kiddos especially one of the twins gets peeved when his food is too messy and falls all over the place. Guess this recipe won't get me a pat on the back.... lol

  16. I echo everyone else--I would have never thought to use Italian salad dressing. The tacos look really delicious! ;-)

  17. I hate that my eldest son doesn't like cilantro because I love the stuff in dishes like this.

    I'll just make this when he's not around:)

  18. Who would have thought Italian dressing would work well with tacos?! I need to try this!


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