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Deconstructed Taco Bowls

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These tasty bowls are ready in under 30 minutes for your next Taco Tuesday (or Wednesday...or Thursday...) 🌮 >Jump to recipe<

So glad there's a new grocery store right down the street from our house. It makes days like today that much easier.

I’ve been really bad the last week or so about remembering to throw stuff from the freezer to the fridge to thaw. So around 11am today, when there was nothing ready to cook, Andrew said, “Wanna get the stuff to do taco bowls?”

Hells yes.

So we ran to the store and got some ground turkey – normally I’d use ground beef, but we’ve been having a lot of beef lately, so I wanted to switch it up a little. We also picked up some fresh salsa, an avocado, a head of romaine, and a bell pepper, so we could whip up some fajita-style veggies.

We already had sour cream, a block of pepper jack cheese, onion, cilantro, and the pre-prepped taco seasoning, probably from the last time I made a batch of Slow Cooker Pork Chili.

I have two tips for this recipe.

The first is regarding the tomato paste. Have you ever made a recipe that requires one, maybe two, tablespoons of tomato paste out of a 6 ounce can? Only to have the rest of it go to waste after sitting lonesomely in the back of your fridge, until, several weeks later, there’s a nasty ring of blackish mold around the edge of the can? And you just don’t trust it enough to use it again? That’s happened to me tons of times.

But not anymore.

Once you’ve opened your little 6 ounce can of tomato paste, and gotten that one, maybe two, tablespoons out for your recipe, do this: line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and drop tablespoon-sized scoops onto the sheet. Freeze for a few hours, then pop them off the parchment paper and store them in a container in the freezer to have at the ready.

Boom! No more wasted tomato paste.

The second tip is to use one pan.

Once you’re done cooking the turkey, don’t wash the pan in between that and cooking the fajita veggies. Any leftover fat from the meat and remaining spices stuck to the sides come off a bit when cooking up the onion and bell pepper, and helps give them a really nice added flavor.

Plus, you only have to clean one pan, and who doesn’t like having fewer dishes to do?


Deconstructed Taco Bowls

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Makes: 3 servings


  • 1 pound ground turkey

  • 3 teaspoons bacon grease (or fat of choice), divided

  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons taco seasoning of choice*

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1/4 cup chicken broth

  • 1/4 medium onion, sliced (about 1/3 cup slices)

  • 1 whole bell pepper, sliced

  • 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili pepper (a few shakes throughout cooking)

For Garnish (pick your favorites!)

  • 1 avocado, diced or sliced

  • Grated pepper jack cheese

  • Sour cream

  • Salsa


  1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, add the ground turkey and 1 teaspoon bacon grease, and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper.

  2. Break the meat up as you go, cooking it all the way through, about 10 minutes.

  3. Add another 1 teaspoon of bacon grease to the middle of the pan, the tomato paste, and the chicken broth.

  4. Stir, then add the taco seasoning.

  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let cook for about five minutes, to help seal in the flavors.

  6. Remove turkey from pan to a serving bowl and cover to keep warm while you cook the fajita veggies.

  7. Add another 1 teaspoon of bacon grease to the same pan (don't clean in between), followed by the sliced onion.

  8. Sprinkle with a shake or two of salt, pepper, garlic powder and chili powder.

  9. Cook the onion until it becomes translucent, stirring occasionally.

  10. Scrape along the sides of the pan when you stir, to get as much of the leftover flavor from the previously cooked meat as possible.

  11. Add the sliced bell pepper, along with another shake of salt, pepper, garlic powder and chili powder.

  12. Cook, stirring repeatedly, about 3 minutes, just as the bell pepper starts to soften.**

  13. Remove from heat to a serving dish.

  14. Build your bowls!

  15. Start with a hearty layer of chopped romaine lettuce.

  16. Add cooked onion and bell pepper, followed by a layer of meat.

  17. Pile on your favorite toppings: avocado, cheese, salsa, and/or sour cream.

  18. Enjoy every delicious bite.


*I use a taco seasoning recipe from the Real Food Dietitians. See the post for the link.

**I prefer my onion to be more cooked, and my bell pepper to be more raw; raw onion messes with my digestion, while raw bell pepper does not. But I still love the mix of flavors that comes from enjoying a taco bowl with both.


Originally published: November 21, 2015


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