Homemade Taco Tortilla Bowls

So I’m not sure if this really counts as a recipe, but I’m going to go with yes.

This past weekend, I was out for Mexican food after spending the whole day cleaning, as to not dirty my freshly scrubbed kitchen. After I ordered my go-to (shrimp tacos, hold the sour cream, double the pico de gallo, and substitute corn tortillas for the flour ones, please. thank you very much) the waiter walked by with a taco salad for another table.

The enormous taco shell bowl was still hot and shiny from the grease of the fryer. I closed my eyes for a split second and imagined biting into the shell, all the flavors from the salad melting together on my tongue. I quickly snapped out of it and dug into the freshly fried chips on my own table to numb the pain, but I’ve been dreaming of a taco salad of my own ever since.

And last night was the the night.

I started by preheating the oven to 375º.

While that was heating up, I grabbed a glass bowl and sprayed it with some nonstick spray. The size of the bowl depends on the size of your tortilla, but there’s a lot of wiggle room here so you should be OK.


Because I keep the tortillas in the fridge, they were a little hard to bend, so I nuked one for 10 seconds before gently pressing it into the bowl.

The most important thing here is that part of the tortilla is flat against the bottom of the bowl so it’ll stand on its own once its baked. I also wanted the bowl to be shorter on one side so the salad would sort of be on display and facing me directly, so I made sure to have one side much higher than the other like this:

Once the oven is preheated, put the tortilla in there for 15 minutes until the edges start to brown and the tortilla is crispy throughout.

The shell will pop right out of the bowl and stand on its own, ready for whatever you want to pile it high with.

I started with a layer of spinach on the bottom.

Topped with a serving of tempeh taco filling (which coincidentally takes 15 minutes to make – aka the exact amount of time the bowl bakes for).

And while we’re on the subject of taco filling, Trader Joe’s makes THE BEST taco seasoning.

It’s cheaper than other brands (79 cents I believe) and has a great ingredient list with only the essentials and nothing extra.

Sea salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, cane sugar, paprika, onion, garlic, black pepper, red bell pepper, oregano, chili pepper, smoked paprika. That’s it.

Where were we? Ah yes, the dreamy taco salad.

I added 1/3 cup corn kernels and a serving of pepper jack cheese.

And then this amazing dressing that is NOT pretty. I mixed equal parts greek yogurt and salsa together (1/3 cup of each) and it made a spicy, tangy, creamy dressing that was perfect but not photogenic.

At all.

But I promise you, it was incredible.

The taco shell was warm and crispy, and stood up so well to the taco salad. I kept thinking the taco filling was the start of the dish, but then I’d get a bite of the taco shell doused in the creamy dressing, and it was a draw.

I like to eat with my hands. What can I say?

It was terrible.

If you could order anything you wanted in a Mexican restaurant, independent of calorie count or food allergies, what would you get? I would get a huge order of loaded nachos with guacamole!

48 Comments on Homemade Taco Tortilla Bowls

  1. Groff's Girl
    April 7, 2011 at 8:37 am (9 years ago)

    I am guessing the ‘It was terrible’ comment was sarcasm because that looked SUPER tasty! Love the tortilla bowl you made, it looks like something you would get in a restaurant. I cannot get tempeh here but I use Amy’s meatless crumbles…there is a lot of fiber, etc and they cook up well! I use that when I make tacos…now, I will have to try these!!!!

  2. Katie Photiadis
    April 7, 2011 at 8:40 am (9 years ago)

    OMG Beth!!!! Can I have one of those? That looks A.MAZING. If you don’t mind telling, how many points was the entire thing?

    • Beth
      April 7, 2011 at 9:03 am (9 years ago)

      Not at all. 2 for the shell + 4 for the taco filling + 1 for the corn + 2 for the cheese + 1 for the dressing equals 10 total. Not bad!

  3. definediana
    April 7, 2011 at 8:41 am (9 years ago)

    I would have never thought of using a tortilla that way. So creative!

  4. Katie
    April 7, 2011 at 9:01 am (9 years ago)

    This might have just made my morning! Being from Texas makes me a die-hard Mexican food fan, but living in Boston means I resort to making my own the majority of the time because the “Tex-Mex” spots just don’t meet my expectations. I can’t wait to try this little trick!

    My order might be disgusting, but I’m going with it: I would go for a chicken fajita burrito (with tomatoes, avocado and lettuce), topped with queso and a side of rice and beans. Yuuuum. As a sidenote, I joined WW once because my mom wanted me to join with her and I had zero motivation (also at the point of my highest weight and most unhealthy physical condition ever) and if we gained at weigh-in… we’d go eat Mexican food. Sadly, if we LOST at weigh-in… we’d go eat Mexican food. Needless to say, I have just a TAD bit more focus on my goal this time around 🙂

  5. Barb
    April 7, 2011 at 9:02 am (9 years ago)

    I was just talking about Mexican food with my walking buddy last night while we were doing our usual 3.0 mile walk. I love, love, love Mexican and could eat it every single day. I love the food and the margaritas 🙂

    Last night I had a chicken breast, covered it with black bean salsa, with a baked sweet potatoe and some Trader Joe’s salsa refried beans. It was soooo good.

    Your taco bowl looks amazing and so easy. I’ll defintiely be trying this one soon!

  6. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle
    April 7, 2011 at 9:23 am (9 years ago)

    I love love love taco salad, and the greasy calorie laden shell it comes in….however, I also love me a chicken chimichanga smothered with sour cream and guacamole.

    Crap, now I’m craving mexican.

    • Beth
      April 7, 2011 at 9:26 am (9 years ago)

      haha sorry. i know it’s early but Mexican is good every meal of the day, every day of the week. It’s rough! =)

  7. Jen, a priorfatgirl
    April 7, 2011 at 9:28 am (9 years ago)

    You amaze me. You see things others don’t. You create things that I never dream of yet always desire. Simply amazing.

  8. Megan Tiscareno
    April 7, 2011 at 9:29 am (9 years ago)

    Looks so delicious. I love making fresh tortilla bowls!

  9. Rachel
    April 7, 2011 at 9:38 am (9 years ago)

    Looks SO easy and delicious. I love quesadillas at Mexican restaurants – in fact, I’m dreaming of a swirl margarita from Lauriol Plaza right now – you’ve been there right? Ah-mazing.

    • Beth
      April 7, 2011 at 9:39 am (9 years ago)

      Oh man Lauriol Plaza. I forgot to add a huge personal pitcher of frozen swirl margaritas to my order of nachos. =)

  10. Holly @ The Runny Egg
    April 7, 2011 at 9:45 am (9 years ago)

    I love that you made these! I had fun making them last week and was surprised how well they baked up!

  11. thekitchenbitch
    April 7, 2011 at 10:04 am (9 years ago)

    I love chicken enchiladas, but you’re making me crave taco salad!

  12. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    April 7, 2011 at 10:12 am (9 years ago)

    I use the TJ Taco seasoning, too! It really is cheaper… and I feel like there’s more in the package, yes?

    • Beth
      April 7, 2011 at 10:40 am (9 years ago)

      Yes! There are 12 servings in there as opposed to 6 in other packets… but I just use a whole packet either way. 🙂

  13. Ashleigh
    April 7, 2011 at 10:21 am (9 years ago)

    Every time I go to a mexican place I always get a taco salad or on a rare occasion veggie fajitas. I always skip the shell though on the salad… I figure I make up for it by eating all those yummy chips! I like to make my own taco salad at home but never thought to make a healthy shell! Love it!

    • Beth
      April 7, 2011 at 11:12 am (9 years ago)

      nothing ridiculous about it.. they are AWESOME! =)

  14. cristina
    April 7, 2011 at 11:15 am (9 years ago)

    That looks yummy. I would totally order nachos with guac too, or the amazing chciken fajitas from cactus and loriel plaza smothered in the butter with all tidings.

  15. Lisa
    April 7, 2011 at 11:34 am (9 years ago)

    What an awesome idea! I love it!

  16. Can You Stay for Dinner
    April 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm (9 years ago)

    I am dying. This looks awesome, Beth!! I love Mexican flavors, taco bowls (fried or not 🙂 ), and LOVE TJ’s taco seasoning packets. Daniel will thank you 🙂

    I think I’d like to split an order of ooey gooey nachos with you. Extra sour cream, extra guac.

    Thanks for all of your love and support, friend. 🙂

  17. goodtastehealthyme
    April 7, 2011 at 12:27 pm (9 years ago)

    Most definitely espinaca dip with guacamole. SO good!

  18. Amy @ Conquering Self
    April 7, 2011 at 12:53 pm (9 years ago)

    Great idea with the taco bowl! I never thought of doing it that way, but that just made my taco salads waaay more exciting and fun! I have a feeling my husband is going to love it, too!
    I just had Mexican last night…We never really eat fast food, but my husband picked up dinner from a Mexican chain out here in California called Rubios and they have some really healthy options. I was able to get a “Health Mex” Chicken burrito that was AMAZING for only 480 calories and tasted super fresh. There are definitely ways to do Mexican in a healthy way!

  19. Liz
    April 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm (9 years ago)

    I haven’t had nachos in forever, so agreed – cheesy nachos with a huge side of gauc.

  20. Beth
    April 7, 2011 at 1:43 pm (9 years ago)

    That is genius! Taco salads are usually the least healthy thing on the menu, but this looks delicious and good for you. Thanks!

  21. Jennifer
    April 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm (9 years ago)

    That looks amazing!

    If I could order anything I wanted in a Mexican restaurant, independent of calorie count and/or points plus values, it would be a deep fried red chili burro enchilada style with rice & beans and a side of sour cream. And a large frozen peach margarita of course. YUM!

  22. cindylu
    April 7, 2011 at 2:47 pm (9 years ago)

    I’m Mexican so the perception that our food is SO unhealthy always bugs me. I’ve lost 60 lbs without ever giving up any of my favorite Mexican foods. Sure, there are calorie-laden options like in any culture, but not everything we eat is fried, slopped with tons of cheese and sour cream (we rarely had this in our house) and guacamole. The Tex-Mex style or Mexican American food is what most people perceive as Mexican food when in reality there’s a big difference. When I go out to eat Mexican food, I go with whatever I’m craving. Lately it’s been simple bean rice and cheese burritos with lots of salsa and pico de gallo.

    • Beth
      April 7, 2011 at 2:54 pm (9 years ago)

      I think the American culture is just all about excess, so I know when I go out to Mexican I usually eat 2-3 baskets of chips between me and one other person. I completely agree that Mexican does NOT have to be unhealthy and actually Chipotle and Baja Fresh are some of the healthiest fast food options, with tons of fresh chunky salsas and healthy fats from avocados. That said, I personally like to go for the deep fried/cheese laden stuff, but I think that’s the American in me more than anything else. =)

      Also, queso fresco is SO good and much lower fat than other cheeses. I always have some in my fridge!

  23. biz319
    April 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm (9 years ago)

    I’ve made homemade taco bowls too – but I’ve done them with corn tortillas in a big muffin tin (6 at a time).

    So good – and now I need to make those again soon!

    Flautas are my all time favorite!! Deep fat fried goodness! 😀

  24. Jen@jensdaily
    April 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm (9 years ago)

    Holy mother of mexican food, this looks perfect!!!
    If calories didn’t count; bring me a chicken chimichanga, extra sour cream and guac 🙂

  25. Ang
    April 7, 2011 at 4:55 pm (9 years ago)

    Crab enchiladas! Sounds gross but they are really good!

  26. Weighting For 50
    April 7, 2011 at 5:58 pm (9 years ago)

    What a great use for toritillas!!! Thanks for the idea!

  27. actorsdiet
    April 7, 2011 at 6:40 pm (9 years ago)

    i’ve always wondered how to make one of those! i love edible bowls

  28. Sana
    April 7, 2011 at 7:38 pm (9 years ago)

    I lovee how you made the bowl!! So fun!

  29. happywhennothungry
    April 7, 2011 at 8:26 pm (9 years ago)

    This is such a wonderful idea Beth! Taco bowl salads are so delicious and this version is so simple and so much healthier too. Yum!

  30. Karie
    April 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm (9 years ago)

    I love making taco salads! Sometime I use Flat Outs, or Azteca makes taco salad shells that are only 5 P+, and taste just like a fried one! I love putting refried beans, 2% Mexican Blend cheese, sour cream, black olives, salsa, onion, and avocado on it. SO good. I will have to try making the taco tempeh! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  31. Doran
    April 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm (9 years ago)

    Yummo! I will be buying some large whole wheat tortillas on my next grocery run! 2pp, that is awesome! What brand do you buy?

    BTW, I really enjoy your blog! I am about in the same place you are with my weight loss. I am down 84lbs, and trying to to decide what a good goal weight is? I am 5’7 and about 162 right now. How did you decide on a goal weight? I guess, maybe I will just know when I get there! Also, I feel like you are in my head, I was thinking about applying to be a receptionist at WW and then I read your post from yesterday and it really got me excited!

    Thanks for the motivating and inspirational posts!

    P.S. I started the 30 shred after reading about it on your blog! I am feeling really buff! 🙂

  32. Amanda
    April 7, 2011 at 11:06 pm (9 years ago)

    That looks so good! I think I may try a breakfast version in the morning! Corn tortillas in a muffin tin, eggs, black beans, cheese and salsa for the filling! Crap, I need to go to bed so I can wake up and eat! lol!

  33. Monica
    April 9, 2011 at 11:37 am (9 years ago)

    Yum, I will have to steal this recipe this next week for dinner! Such a smart idea!

    If I could anything without thinking of the aftermath, I would order enchiladas with the works. 🙂

  34. Paula
    June 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm (8 years ago)

    Umm i was searching a “homemade” webiste…not exactly homemade. We can all take store purchased shells and do this!


3Pingbacks & Trackbacks on Homemade Taco Tortilla Bowls

Leave a Reply