The day we have all been waiting for has finally arrived. Happy National Taco Day – your Taco Tuesday is going to be extra spicy this week because we are giving you all of the details and resources you need to create the perfect taco.
History of the Taco
First things first, let’s taco-about the history behind the taco.
Before understanding the love of the taco, it is important to understand the sanctity of corn to the ancient Olmec and Aztec culture. Historians have found that the Olmecs even started to grind corn up to create a form of tortilla.
The humble taco actually has some rather blurry history. There is no confirmed origin or creator of the taco. University of Minnesota professor, Jeffrey M. Pilcher has concluded through his years of researching Mexican Food, that tacos first appeared in the Mexican silver mines in the 1700s. The tacos the miners were referring to were not the delicious meat and veggie-filled perfection we know today, but rather the term they would use to describe the gunpowder wrapped in little pieces of paper that would excavate the minerals. The word taco is not inherently the delicious street food we think of today. It simply refers to something being folded.
Aside from the mines, the taco is not mentioned in any sort of dictionary or history until the 1800s. And guess what is mentioned in said dictionary? Tacos de minero – Tacos of the Mines. Tacos became popular around the 20th century in the United States. They were served on the street and at late-night carnivals. As railroads expanded, the tacos sales expanded, as people were coming in from the East Coast, wanting to experience new culture without going to a new country. So, people would venture to Texas and California to try out some new, extremely spicy food.
The Taco Assimilating into New Cultures
The taco that we eat and enjoy today is a little bit different from its roots during those street festivals. Mexican immigrants during the 1900s began to incorporate the resources and food availability of the United States to create a little bit of fusion in their classic Mexican food.
Down south, tacos in Mexico evolved during this time, as well. Lebanese immigrants began to come into Mexico and bring their classic cuisines like gyros, kebabs, and shawarma. When we think of Middle Eastern food, we normally think of pita bread being the base for all of the delicious flavors. However, the Lebanese immigrants began using corn tortillas as the base for their favorite meats, which soon transformed into Tacos al Pastor. That’s right, folks. The most famous taco of all time was invented by people from Lebanon, not from Mexico.
The Taco Toppings Garden
Now that we know a little more about where the taco came from. Let’s talk about where it is going. Vegetarian and vegan tacos have become very popular within the past few years, as people begin to notice the effects of meat on their health and on the environment. Sometimes, it can be difficult to imagine eating a taco filled with vegetables without the standard, juicy meat. Well, Gardenuity is here to help you take steps in that direction. Our Taco Toppings Garden has all of the leafy greens you need to take your taco to the next level – whether as an addition to your favorite meat or a full-on vegetarian meal.
One of the glorious traits of the taco is the ability to create variety and fusion within the pocket of a warm tortilla. With the Taco Toppings garden, you can create hundreds of taco varieties, even creating some cross-cultural interaction, like the Lebanese. We enjoy making Mediterranean tacos, Asian tacos, veggie tacos, and of course the classic Mexican flavors.
The fastest-growing taco trend is veggie-friendly tacos. Adding creative veggies and herbs to your tacos is a great way to get more vegetables into your diet. The Taco Toppings Garden comes with 4-6 different plants, matched to the season. From tomatoes and chives to kale and peppers, taco topping ideas are endless.
Beet-Chickpea Tacos Recipe
One of my favorite tacos that is inspired by my Hawaiian Uncle, is the Beet and Chickpea Taco. Uncle David inspired this taco, as he would make delicious beet tacos, wrapped in lettuce, topped with fresh Pineapple Salsa. It was so refreshing and unique, but I have my own spin on it. I like my tacos to have a lot of different flavors and textures, as well as enough protein to actually be a sustaining meal. Thus, the Beet and Chickpea taco was born.
Beet and Chickpea TacosCourse: MainCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Medium
1 can of chickpeas
3 beets (chopped into cubes)
Guacamole (Homemade or Store-bought)
- Preheat the oven to 400.
- Wash, peel, and chop beets. Spread them across a lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and salt. Toss to combine. Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until tender.
- Drain and rinse Chickpeas. Pat the chickpeas dry. Spread the chickpeas on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt, and garlic powder. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until crispy.
- Saute the Spinach until wilted.
- Build your tacos.
- Warm up your corn tortilla, spread with guacamole. Put a scoop of beets and a scoop of chickpeas on your tortilla. Top with sauteed spinach, Tahini, and Bitchin Sauce.
Check out our blog, for more taco recipes and maybe even a cocktail recipe to celebrate!