Last month when Ben and I were in Texas for a wedding, we stopped by a friend’s for brunch on our way to the airport. She surprised us by ordering Breakfast Tacos from a favorite local spot of hers, then asked us if we’d tried them. Remembering the egg-and-cheese-filled tortillas my mom served us picky kids for dinner growing up, I answered yes, assuming it was roughly the same thing. If you live in Texas or if you’ve eaten breakfast tacos in Texas, I can hear you laughing now.
At least I hope you are laughing; I may or may not have mortally offended you. As it turns out, real-deal Texas breakfast tacos are sooooo much more than a tortilla with eggs.
In fact, my very favorite of all of the tacos we’ve tried (a list that included but was not limited to brisket breakfast tacos, vegetarian breakfast tacos, breakfast tacos with ground beef, breakfast tacos with flank steak, and breakfast tacos with potatoes) was the chorizo breakfast tacos. They were simple, lightly spicy, and absolutely sublime.
I haven’t been able to shake these tacos from my mind since we returned home, which, to be clear, was more than four weeks ago.
Whenever a recipe idea becomes lodged in my head—I caught myself dreaming about breakfast tacos in the shower, googling “Mexican breakfast tacos menus” to see if I could find them locally, and mentioning several times to Ben, “Weren’t those tacos we had in Texas just amazing? Don’t you wish we could eat them again?”—I know it’s time for me to hit the kitchen.
The list of recipes I’d like to try at some point is long and constantly evolving, but my longing for the tacos was unshakable. I was convinced that I could come up with a healthy breakfast tacos recipe that had the flavor we enjoyed in Texas, but that I could cook any time the craving struck here in Milwaukee. This recipe is it!
I’d assumed that in order to create chorizo breakfast tacos like the ones from our trip, I’d need to use every spice in my cabinet, hit up a Mexican specialty store, and invest a good amount of time at the stove. NOT TRUE AT ALL.
Not only does this recipe wholly satisfy my breakfast taco craving, it is ready in 20 minutes flat. The leftovers reheat beautifully, and if you’d like to make these tacos for a crowd, you can multiply it by as many portions as you need.
About This Healthy Breakfast Tacos Recipe
Here are the star ingredients in these tacos. You cook them all together in a pan, stuff your tortillas with wild abandon, then wonder how many nights in a row it will be until you get tired of them. <—I can’t advise a specific number, as our leftovers ran out long before our craving for them did.
- Turkey Chorizo. Chorizo is a spicy breakfast sausage popular in Mexican cooking. It’s usually made with pork and fairly greasy. Not turkey chorizo! It has all of the stellar spice of classic pork chorizo but is far leaner.
I didn’t previously know chorizo-spiced turkey sausage was a thing, but once I set out to find it, I was surprised by how widely available it is. I found it in a 16-ounce tube at a local discount big-box retailer, under the name “chorizo seasonings turkey sausage.”
- Black Beans. They add more texture to the tacos, and filling protein and fiber too.
- Cheese. For an upgrade, try this Vegan Queso.
Background: Our friend Martha (the one who ordered the breakfast tacos) also ordered two large containers of queso to go with them. I thought this was odd (cheese dip at breakfast), but it was SO RIGHT. I will probably need queso on every taco (breakfast or no) that I have from here on out.
- Prepared Salsa. A super shortcut that adds flavor pizzazz for next-to-zero extra work on our part. It make the filling more moist, and you can serve the extra on the tacos. WIN. Use any salsa you love (I went for a medium, chunky style).
At Martha’s, we used three different salsas in three different heats + the aforementioned queso.
At home, we dolled up our homemade breakfast tacos up with avocado, because if we can find an excuse to add avocado to anything around here, we generally do.
- To Make Vegetarian. If you’d like vegetarian breakfast tacos, you could try swapping the chorizo for mushrooms (you’ll need to add a good amount of spices, since the chorizo comes pre-spiced) or try my Tofu Tacos, topped with an egg to give them a breakfast vibe.
- To Make Gluten Free. Swap the flour tortillas for corn tortillas.
What to Do with Leftover Breakfast Taco Filling
- Make more tacos! This is an obvious and delicious choice. Warm the filling and tortillas separately, stuff, and devour.
- Breakfast Quesadillas. Layer the filling with cheese and grill on your stove.
- Add scrambled or fried eggs. This recipe doesn’t call for eggs (the chorizo breakfast tacos we ate in Texas didn’t either), but you can certainly add them if you like.
- Warm the filling and mix it with brown rice or cauliflower rice, with a generous topping of more avocado and Greek yogurt. <—How I ate the leftovers for lunch.
The filling is also freezer friendly, so feel free to increase the recipe by as much as you like and freeze the extra for meal prep, or simply stow them away and thaw them when you next need a filling, healthy breakfast or brinner.
- 12 small flour tortillas - swap corn to make gluten free
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 16 ounces ground chorizo turkey sausage*
- 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium black beans - rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup prepared salsa - plus additional for serving
- 1 small bunch green onions - finely chopped, divided
- 1 cup freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese - about 3 ounces
- Diced tomatoes or halved cherry or grape tomatoes
- Sliced avocado
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- To warm the tortillas: Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Divide the tortillas into two stacks of 5 and wrap each stack in foil. Place the stacks on an ungreased baking sheet. Place in the oven and heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until warmed through. Set aside and leave wrapped until ready to serve.
- In a large, deep skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot but not yet smoking, add the turkey sausage (stand back, as it may splatter). Cook, breaking apart the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon or a heatproof spatula, until brown and fully cooked through, about 8 minutes.
- Add the beans and salsa. Stir to combine, and with the back of a large spoon, lightly mash the beans. Cook until the beans are heated through and the salsa liquid has cooked off, about 3 minutes. Stir in about two-thirds of the green onions, reserving a small handful for serving. Let cook 30 seconds, then remove the filling from the heat.
- Stuff and serve! Pile the filling into warm tortillas, adding about 1/3 cup to each. Top each with a generous tablespoon of cheese or any other desired toppings. Enjoy immediately.
- Look for uncooked ground turkey chorizo sausage, sold in a bulk-type package (I found a 16-ounce tube of it in the meat department by the other ground turkey). If you can't find it, you can swap regular chorizo. Note that this is different that Spanish cured chorizo, which is cooked and slices more like salami (it's delish, but will not work for this recipe).
- Make-ahead tip: Filling can be prepared up to 1 day in advance. Rewarm the filling and heat the tortillas just before serving.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Rewarm and serve scrambled with eggs or over rice, or make another round of tacos.
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