Shout out to SW for the recipe request!
These taco shells are made out of . . . purely cheese. Yes. But trust me – it has a weird self-frying effect and turns into gorgeous crispy perfection.
There are a few different ways to make the shells. You could probably even make them in an oven on baking sheets – if you have that sort of time! Frying them in a pan gives them that Cali-girl golden-brown tan; microwaving is faster and quicker. Up to you!
Likewise, fill them with whatever you please. I think some crunchy lettuce and cool sour cream are a must. You don’t have to use beef mince – black beans (or any other beans) would be a great vegetarian alternative.
Although you can add pre-made salsa and guacamole, I made my own fresh salsa salad mix out of peppers, avocado, tomato, cucumber, jalapeños, spring onions, and lime juice. You can add sweet chilli sauce if you aren’t concerned about sugar content – otherwise, try chipotle sauce, Tabasco, or peri peri sauce.
Bear in mind that, when working with the cheese, it solidifies fast. If you don’t want it breaking and turning into nachos, try to move as quickly as possible without burning your fingers! The amount you use for each taco depends on the size of your plate (or frying pan). I just use a handful, spreading it into a rough circle with minimal gaps.
This recipe can be gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free, nut-free, and vegetarian.
Makes around 6-8 tacos
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
– around ~3 cups grated cheese (I use Colby, any cheddar should work fine)
– 1 Tablespoon olive oil
– 1 small onion, finely diced
– 1 bay leaf
– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 400g beef mince (or 1 x 400g can beans of choice, drained)
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
– 1 teaspoon ground coriander
– 1/2 teaspoon ground smoked chipotle
– 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
– 1 beef (or vegetable) stock cube, crumbled
– 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
– salt and pepper, to taste
– vegetable fillings of choice (see above)
– sour cream, chilli sauce, etc. (to serve, see above)
1. Balance a wooden spoon between two high cups/bowls/containers, so its handle is exposed. You can use another thin long kitchen utensil, just as long as it is not too wide.
If you are using a microwave:
Line a microwaveable plate with a square of baking paper. Spread out a handful of cheese to form a circle. Microwave on high power for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. You want the cheese not only to have melted, but to have become crisped. Lift two opposite sides of baking paper upwards; the cheese lattice should be solid enough to peel off. Quickly transfer to hang downwards over the prepared spoon handle and form into an upside-down taco shape.
If you are using a frying pan:
Place a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Spread out a handful of cheese to form a circle. Cook until the cheese has not only melted, but is beginning to change colour and become crispy. Use a thin spatula to gently remove the cheese lattice. Transfer to hang downwards over the prepared spoon handle and form into an upside-down taco shape.
If frying, you will likely end up with liquid cheese fat in the pan. You can drain this off during/while removing your cheese lattice. I like to save mine because I am a perpetual hoarder of things that can be reused!
Repeat this process with the remaining cheese to form as many tacos as you want. You should be able to create a rolling turnover, so each taco has ‘set’ in shape by the time the next is ready. Remove each completed taco and stack upright in a container with sides for support.
2. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil (or collected cheese fat) and throw in the onion and bay leaf. Cook until softened.
2. Add the garlic and mince (or beans). Fry until the mince is fully browned. Chuck in the spices, stock cube, and tomato paste. Fry for another few minutes until fragrant; season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
4. Chop up your vegetables (see above notes). To assemble your tacos, carefully spread inside a layer of lettuce, followed by mince mixture, salsa/vegetables, a dollop of sour cream, and a drizzle of chilli sauce. Chomp in and enjoy! 🙂