Oh Boy, Skinny Taco Night



Ok, I admit it…I just love the original crunchy tacos at Taco Bell.  Although small in size, they are quite high in fat and not very healthy due to the fatty beef, regular cheese and shredded iceberg lettuce… I decided to try and recreate the same taste but make it a whole lot skinnier. First off, I’m using very lean beef and draining the fat after browning it.  I’m also using reduced-fat cheese and adding nutritious chopped tomatoes and romaine lettuce.  The results… An absolutely delicious taco that I think taste even better than Taco Bell’s! Each skinny taco has 126 calories, 4 grams of fat and has 3 Weight Watchers SmartPoints. With these numbers you can easily have two! Enjoy a taco night and let everyone create their own!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients for Tacos:

1 pound extra lean ground beef

1 cup diced onions

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 package (1 ounce) Lawry’s Taco Seasoning

⅔ cup water

1 box (12 shells) taco shells, I used Mission white corn taco shells

Ingredients for Toppings:

2 cups or more chopped or shredded romaine lettuce, as desired

1½ cups or more chopped tomatoes, as desired

¾ cup (3 oz) reduced-fat cheddar cheese or lite Mexican blend


1. In a large, nonstick pan or skillet, add beef, onions and garlic.  Sauté together until meat is browned.  Bring to sink, pour in a colander and drain off any excess fat.  Add beef mixture back to pan.

2. Add taco seasoning, water and mix well.  Bring to a boil, turn heat to simmer and cook for 5 minutes.

3. To make one taco-add about ¼ cup taco meat to the shell.  Fill with as much lettuce and tomato you desire and top with 1 tablespoon cheese. The taco meat freezes great.

Makes 12 tacos (serves 6, 2 tacos each serving)

Food Fact

Glen Bell founded Taco Bell and opened his first location in Downey, California in 1962.  The first franchise was sold two years later to Kermit Becky, a former police officer, in Torrance, California. The company grew so rapidly that by 1967 there were 100 locations. By 1978, Mr. Bell sold to Pepsi Co.

Shopping Tips

Most major supermarkets sell Mission crunchy taco shells.  They are available in both yellow and white corn. I used white corn for these tacos.

I used Trader Joe’s 96/4 lean ground beef.  Most supermarkets carry lean ground beef.  The fat is further cut down by draining off most of the excess fat after browning the beef.

Substitution Tip

Not a fan of crunchy shells?  You can use soft corn tortillas.  You’ll save 1 gram of fat per taco.

Weight Watchers SmartPoints
Weight Watchers POINTS PLUS
Weight Watchers
(old points) 3

SKINNY FACTS: for 1 skinny taco (includes cheese)
126 calories, 4g fat, 2.4g sat fat, 22mg chol, 11g protein, 10g carbs, 1g fiber, 175mg sodium, 2g sugar
FAT FACTS: for 1 Taco Bell Crunchy Taco
170 calories, 10g fat, 8g protein, 12g carbs, 3g fiber, 320mg sodium, 1g sugar

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28 Responses to “Oh Boy, Skinny Taco Night”

  1. Inspired2cook Says:

    Yumm…Tacos! Love your blog!

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks Andrea. I like your blog too!

  3. Laura @ Family Spice Says:

    My family loves crunchy tacos, too! It’s like we are giving them permission to eat chips with their meal! We like to use ground turkey with ours!

  4. admin Says:

    I also like to make mine with ground turkey on occassion. If you like ground turkey, check out one of our most popular ways to use it. It’s our recipe for Barbecue Turkey Meatloaf. It’s very different than typical meatloaf due the bbq sauce!

  5. whaleshark Says:

    Yes I agree with you. I like skinny tacos too, This is perfect for midnight snack. 🙂 Anyway, thanks for the tips.

    I added cool smileys to this message… if you don’t see them go to: http://s.exps.me

  6. Meredith Says:

    We like to use iceberg lettuce leaves instead of the shells and maybe put a few baked tortilla chips on the side to take care of that salty crunch. Then you lose the whole taco shell points!

  7. admin Says:

    What a terrific idea Meredith. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Wazzup Says:

    Skinnier taco night (chicken instead of beef and I didn’t have any cheese)


  9. admin Says:

    It sounds yummy anyways!

  10. Ellie Kuykendall Says:

    Sorry for the misses here on comments. If made with turkey instead of beef, these would be even more healthy!

  11. admin Says:

    Turkey would be great Ellie! But, you can find lean ground beef in most supermarkets that has has less fat and calories than regular ground turkey. The only ground turkey lower in fat and calories would be the 99% fat-free ground turkey breast.
    I hope you enjoy this recipe!
    With best wishes,

  12. Millie S. Says:

    This will be great for my soon to be 10 year old diabetic granddaughter, she just loves taco’s, thank you so much for posting the carb amounts in your recipe’s. I also learned a lot when you posted the comment about ground beef and turkey. Thank you so much.

  13. admin Says:

    My pleasure Millie…I hope you and your granddaughter enjoy these tacos!
    All the best,

  14. Millie S. Says:

    Thank you so much Nancy. 🙂

  15. Felicia Says:


    I love your site & blog but have to say I’m disappointed that you are using packaged taco seasoning. I too have used it before but there are so many healthy versions to make your own without the preservatives & salt. Then you use pre-packaged taco shells…Ewww. It’s also healthyn(and easy!) to buy corn tortillas and bake them in the oven to get them crispy. I’ve done it and its delicious.

    I think you could have used better ingredients. Perhaps even the Mexican white cheese…it’s better than the low-fat shredded cheese. Tastes better too!

  16. admin Says:

    Thanks so much for your feedback Felicia. Although most of my recipes are done by scratch, sometimes I do like the convenience of store-bought items, especially when I’m remaking something like Taco Bell’s taco’s.
    But, I hear ya!
    Thanks so much for joining me on Skinny Kitchen.
    Best wishes,

  17. 2013 Healthy Meal Plan: Week 22 « Half Size Me Says:

    […] Skinny Taco Night (3PP per serving from Skinny Kitchen) […]

  18. admin Says:

    All sounds so yummy. Thank you so much for including my Skinny Taco Night in your weekly meal plan!!!

    Wishing you the best of luck,


  19. Robin Says:

    My boyfriend and I really enjoyed it and are glad to have leftovers for tomorrow. If anyone wants to make their own taco seasoning, about 1/4 cup is equal to the 1oz package. Thank you for this recipe!

  20. admin Says:

    Wonderful feedback Robin and thanks for sharing your tip!
    all the best,

  21. Busam Cars Says:

    These skinny tacos look TASTY!

    Admin – if I cleaned the house and took out the garbage all week, and bought some flowers – do you think I could convince my girlfriend to make these for me? I’m useless in the kitchen :\

    Haha cheers,
    Brian @ http://busamcincinnati.com/

  22. admin Says:

    I hope you get lucky Brian. Sounds like a good trade!

  23. Kate H Says:

    Glad I stumbled on your site today. I love tacos and I am always looking for ways to make them lower in calories…so I can eat more of them 🙂 I definitely have to have beef with my tacos, turkey isn’t always lower in fat anyway. I am going to try the lettuce instead of the shell though, because corn often bothers my stomach. Can’t wait for Taco Tuesday this week!

  24. admin Says:

    Hi Kate, I’m so glad you found my site too.
    Have fun making these skinny tacos!
    My best,

  25. Kalynda Says:

    Love your website you have given me better hope of losing weight the healthy way. Thank you so much

  26. admin Says:

    I’m so happy to hear my recipes are working for you Kalynda.
    Have fun skinny cooking!
    My best,

  27. Ginger Says:

    I love Taco Bell, too, but I gave it up years ago. We have a Taco Bell right by my house, and it takes everything in me not turn into the drive-thru when I pass by it! Making these healthy tacos tonight with homemade taco seasoning for Taco Tuesday. Thanks for posting this recipe.

  28. admin Says:

    I know what you mean Ginger. I sure hope these satisfy your Taco BelL cravings!
    All the best,

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