Taco Seasoning Recipe No MSG No Preservatives

You may not suspect this, but those little packets of taco seasoning at the store are loaded with little uglies like MSG and other preservatives that your loved ones don’t need in their blood stream. You can probably make taco flavor from stuff you already have in the pantry! This recipe is participating in LifeAsMom’s ultimate recipe swap- eating from the pantry challenge, and Cooking Thursday hosted by Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

Taco night is one of my quick supper nights, although since I’ve gotten over my onion aversion, it takes a little longer to pull this together as the chopping and cooking of onion adds 5-10 minutes. To shave off a little time for this meal I decided to pre-mix some taco seasoning so I just have to get one spice bottle out, and it’s got plenty of taco flavor included.

I don’t know why, but I still don’t care for pre-ground black pepper, but I do like it fresh ground from the pepper mill. I left the pepper out of my mix, and will just add pepper at cooking time.

This is a good time for me to toot the horn of herbs and spices. While they don’t contribute much energy to our diet, they are packed with phytonutrients and antioxidants. In fact 14 of the foods in Dave Grotto’s 101 Foods That You Could Save Your Life book are herbs and spices. Here are a few tips on optimizing nutrients from spices.

  • buy spices whole when possible and grind your own just before cooking. a coffee mill works well for this.
  • avoid large economy sizes. not only do spices lose some of their flavor punch, but their nutrient quality declines with age.
  • buy your spices from a store that has good product turn over. you want to avoid buying a spice that was ground ages ago and sitting on the shelf for who knows how long.
  • store your spices in a dark cool place. sunlight exposure can hasten the depletion of nutrients.
  • feed tiny tummy’s spices too. don’t be afraid to feed herbs and spices to your youngest eaters. they like flavor too and will benefit from all the antioxidants.

I have to admit that I rarely grind my own spices as it adds extra time to the prep phase. I have the tools and supplies to do so, but usually opt out. I’m trying though! This recipe contains 6 foods on Dave’s 101 list (noted by * below).

Taco Seasoning Recipe (based on this allrecipes.com spice ratio)
2 TBSP Cumin*
5 TBSP, 1 TSP Chili Powder*
2 TSP Red Pepper Flakes*
2 TSP Garlic Powder*
2 TSP Onion Powder*
1 TBSP, 1 TSP Paprika*
2 TBSP, 2 TSP kosher salt
1 TBSP, 1 TSP black pepper

Add all ingredients to a small mixing bowl and combine. Return spice mix to an airtight container or empty spice jar. Per your taste, add 1/2- 1TBSP of this mixture to 1 lb of cooked ground meat. Add it in larger quantities to make taco flavored soups. You should get 8-16 servings assuming you’re flavoring 1lb of meat. Add a label to your spice mixture with the amount to use “1/2-1 TBS per lb meat” so you don’t forget!

Note: This mixture is forgiving. If you’re out of something, leave it out. My grandma just used salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder to season taco meat, so that’s all I usually use. It is a slightly different flavor than the packages, but your family will get used to it over time. Also, this doesn’t contain flour or cornstarch, and it doesn’t call for adding water, so this won’t give you saucy meat, rather, flavored meat. That’s the way we roll!

Stay tuned for my premixed chili spice blend. That recipe makes it super easy to get the crock pot going with a pound of beans on a weekend morning for a pot of chili.

For more recipes and kid appeal tips on how to make real food relevant to your kids, click there to join the food with kid appeal facebook fan page, or there to become a subscriber via email or google reader. We share What’s for Dinner (WFD) daily on Facebook, and I pose a “Question of the Day” (QOTD).

11 thoughts on “Taco Seasoning Recipe No MSG No Preservatives

  1. cathy-i resemble that! my list of things i want to do is long. today i bought some inexpensive spice mills to add whole spices so i have no excuses anymore.

  2. This sound really good and I'll give it a try. I'm always trying to find new ways to improve our diet and I've yet to find a homemade taco seasoning that I liked so I'll give this one a try.

  3. Thanks Jenna for sharing… I'm with you… those herb packets are terrible. Even the “Vegetable Soup” packets are loaded with sodium, MSG, hydrogenated oil, etc…
    Will definitely add it to my spice collection!

  4. I'm trying a migraine diet that calls for no MSG… and also no onion, so I have to leave out the onion powder. I've been frustrated at all the things I CAN'T eat and thought I'd have to abandon tacos too. Was excited to find this recipe and glad to see that the “mixture is forgiving”… hope it's as good without the onion powder.

  5. sra – i get migraines too. i don't think onions are a trigger for me. i rarely ate them as a child, and eat so many now that if they were a trigger for me I think i'd have a migraine every day.

    and yes – i rarely add onion powder because i cook my meat with a whole diced onion. it will taste very good without onion powder.

  6. yes! for a dry powder like the hidden valley packets use onion powder, garlic powder, parsley, dill and salt mixed with sour cream or unflavored whole milk yogurt. or mix with fresh herbs and buzz it up in the blender.

  7. Pingback: Mostly Meatless Nacho Dip » The Cheapskate Cook

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