I used to live off Taco Bell in my college days. Their value menu was my jam. Ranked in at #2 (Jack in the Box takes the win, of course). The bean burritos and crunchy tacos were my go-to’s. So it is no surprise that I continue to eat them today, just out of the comfort of my own home. Homemade and a tad bit healthier, which is a plus!
These Taco Bell inspired Crunchy Tacos have a layer of refried beans, seasoned ground beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce and sour cream.
Crunchy Taco Star - Seasoned Ground Beef
The ground beef is the star of the show. If you take anything away from this recipe, it’s the seasoning. Not only is it delicious, but it is super easy and comes from spices we should all have in our pantry. You will need salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, onion powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, and dry oregano. You have all that don’t you? Thought so!
Throw all the spices straight into the ground beef. No need to combine them first, just toss it ALL in a bowl and combine. One less dish to wash.
I love onions. I saute some in canola oil to give my house a yummy smell and to add extra flavor to the beef. Along with the onion, I add some bell pepper for that extra spice, but really I just like adding some pop of color. Use any bell pepper you have on hand. Today my last remaining bell pepper was yellow. If you plan on buying one, stick with good ol’ green.
Saute the onion and bell pepper in canola oil over medium high heat until soft and the onion is golden. Add in the beef mixture and cook until no longer pink. Be sure to drain off the fat, it makes all the difference. Lastly, add in some diced tomatoes. I add the tomatoes at the end so they don’t get mushy into the cooking process. Adding them in at the end also allows any liquid they may release to prevent the beef from drying. Note that I also use 80/20 ground beef. If you plan to use lean meat, I recommend adding some canned diced tomatoes with liquid at the end instead of fresh tomatoes. Hunt’s Fire Roasted Tomatoes is a great option.
Once the tomatoes are added, cover and remove from heat. That is basically it. The main component is done, but you can’t have crunchy tacos without beans.
Fresh Beans vs Canned Beans: The Dilemma
Beans have always been an issue in my house. I like fresh beans, but my husband is a sucker for canned beans. So for the sake of keeping this recipe simple for my busy mommas (and not mommas), we will go with canned beans. Our go-to is Rosarita’s Non Fat Traditional Refried Beans (affiliate) You can find these online, at almost any grocery store (in the West Coast at least) and at Target.
Crunchy Taco Bar Time
Layer the beans, meat, and any desired toppings. We keep it simple and sprinkle cheddar cheese, lettuce, and a dollop of sour cream. Yum! Taco Bell at home! Quick, easy, and delicious. Tacos should be enjoyed everyday!
Go on, try it!! Let me know how it goes!
Taco Bell Inspired Crunchy Ground Beef Tacos
Seasoned Ground Beef
- 1 lb Ground Beef 80/20
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper finely ground
- 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper (Red Chili Flakes)
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 tsp Dry Oregano
- 1 tbsp Canola Oil
- 2 oz White Onion julienne
- 3 oz Bell Pepper color of choice
- 4 oz Roma Tomato small dice
- 10 Corn Taco Shells Ortegas
- 1 can Rosarita Non Fat Traditional Refried Beans
- Seasoned Ground Beef sub recipe
- Cheddar Cheese shredded
- Romaine Lettuce shredded
- Sour Cream
Seasoned Ground Beef
- Combine the ground beef, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, crushed red pepper (red pepper flakes), ground cumin, and oregano in a bowl. Set aside.
- Heat the canola oil in a sauté pan over medium high heat.
- Add the onions and bell peppers. Sauté until soft and the onion is golden, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add in the meat mixture and cook until no longer pink, breaking it into small pieces. Drain the grease and lower the heat.
- Stir in the tomatoes. Cover and remove from heat.
- Warm the taco shells according to the instructions on the package. Warm the beans according to the instructions on the can.
- Lay out all for taco night! You can also create them yourself. Layer beans, meat, and top with any additional toppings. We keep it simple and sprinkle cheddar cheese, lettuce and sour cream. Voila!
- Feel free to use fresh beans rather than canned beans. Canned gets you out of a bind when you are short on time.
- Use bell pepper of choice. I normally use whatever is left in my fridge, this time it was yellow. If you are buying one, stick to the classic green.
- Use lettuce of choice. I used romaine because target didn't have iceberg and I was too lazy to go anywhere else 🙂
- If you are using lean meat, I recommend Hunt's Fire Roasted Tomato can instead of fresh tomatoes to prevent the meat from drying.
- Amount of tacos created will vary depending on how much mix is added in per taco. This amount of meat yielded 10 tacos in my house, more then enough!
Did you make this delicious seasoned ground beef for your taco bar taco night?!
Please show me!! Tag @feasting_mexican on Instagram and @feastingmexican on Facebook!