The Easiest Navajo Tacos

Whilst perusing BlogHer, I came across a scrumptious recipe for Navajo Tacos. Not the best when you are hungry and it’s about 5:00pm and you haven’t started cooking yet.(This is the whole reason I started this blog, right? To save us from this conundrum! It was Saturday…)

Because of my self-imposed circumstances, I had to adapt this recipe to what I had on hand. The purpose really was two-fold: to teach you how to look at a recipe and adapt and I had no other choice.
Here is the recipe, my adaptations are below:

Navajo Tacos-via Cooking Classy
Yields about 8 tacos (adults usually eat 2 and the kids eat 1)
Prep Time: 20mins Cook Time: 20mins

Ingredients:1 Tbsp olive oil1 lb lean ground beef1/2 cup yellow onion, diced2 cloves garlic finely minced2 tsp chili powder1 tsp paprika1/2 tsp cumin1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes, drained 1 (4 oz) can diced green chilissalt and pepper, to taste 


For serving:Navajo Fry Bread, recipe followsRomaine or Iceberg lettuce, choppedCheddar or Monterrey Jack cheese (I use a combo of both), gratedRoma tomatoes, dicedsour cream


Other optional toppings I sometimes add:black olives, slicedavocados, dicedfresh salsa hot sauce (you could add cayenne pepper to the taco filling as well)cilantro, chopped


Directions:Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Once oil is hot, crumble beef into oil, add onions and cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up beef when stirring, until beef has browned and cooked through. Drain fat from beef and return to skillet (my mom doesn’t drain the fat, she says it gives it more flavor so you can leave it if you’d like). Stir in garlic, chili powder, paprika, cumin, kidney beans, canned diced tomatoes and green chilis then season mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered for 10-15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, spoon mixture over Navajo Fry bread, then top with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and sour cream (and any of the other optional toppings listed). Serve immediately.


Navajo Fry BreadYields 8 (6 inch) fry breads

Ingredients:2 cups all-purpose flour1 1/2 tsp baking powder1/2 tsp active dry yeast1/2 tsp salt 3/4 – 1 cup warm milk (110 degrees)1 Tbsp butter or shortening, meltedVegetable oil, for frying (sometimes I use half olive oil)


Directions:In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, yeast and salt. Whisk melted butter into warm milk and pour milk mixture into dry ingredients. Stir until mixture comes together and forms a ball, dough should be slightly sticky and elastic so add an up to an additional 1/4 cup milk as needed. Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rest 10 minutes. Heat 1 inch of oil in a large cast iron skillet to 350 – 360 degrees over stove top. Divide rested dough into 12 equal pieces. Working with floured hands and one piece of dough at a time, roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 6 inch circle and gently drop into hot oil, and cook until golden brown 1-2 minutes per side (second side will cook faster). Remove from oil and drain onto a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels. Serve warm with Navajo Taco topping or for dessert, spread with honey butter.

I really wish I had made her recipe for fry bread, nothing beats handmade flat breads. However, since it was too close to dinner time, I substituted refrigerated biscuits. yep, I cheated. It’s ok though because the original blogger said her mom used Rhodes frozen dough whenever she made them. Alright, secret is out of the bag–we’re bread making cheaters. 

For the topping I threw in some pre-cooked hamburger, red pepper, cherry tomatoes, refried beans, and all those yummy spices. I needed to use my wilted tomatoes and pepper and cooking them is the best option! I sprinkled cheese into the mixture and it turned into this cheesy bean goodness, although not as visually appetizing as Cooking Classy’s pictures. Enjoy




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14 thoughts on “The Easiest Navajo Tacos

  1. This looks so scrumptious, Carissa–thank you so much for sharing the recipes! I used to work on an Indian reservation, and I so miss fry bread, so I am very happy to now have a recipe. Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a sweet comment. You asked me about where to find cherry liqueor. You can find cherry liqueor at the liquor store, or here now in Washington State pretty much any grocery store, Costco, etc. I used Monarch Kirschwasser Cherry Brandy, but any cherry brandy will do. You certainly could omit it, but I do find that it heightens the cherry taste in the finished recipe. The alcohol does burn off as the pie cooks, but the flavor remains. So glad you like the recipes, Carissa–thank you for the kind words!

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