We were pouring over Super Bowl ideas, trying to find something for everyone, when a Martha Stewart recipe reminded us of one of our favorite crowd-pleasing spreads: a taco bar. Of course! No more worrying about who will eat what – just set all the fillings and toppings out individually and let everyone build their own meals. Planning done.
Obviously, a taco bar requires tortillas first and foremost. We're partial to corn tortillas warmed individually on the stove. You can also add large flour tortillas, tortilla chips and chopped romaine lettuce and turn your spread into a burrito, nacho and salad bar, too. These ingredients are all pretty inexpensive, but they can add a lot of options for your guests and let them be creative.
The Meat Fillings
For meat fillings, we suggest using no-fuss recipes – preferably ones that can be left to simmer in a Crock-Pot all day and stay warm throughout the game. Think braised dishes – like Chipotle-Porter Pot Roast or braised pork – or even chili.
The Vegetarian Fillings
We like to prepare some hearty vegetarian fillings so the non-meat-eaters aren't left eating lettuce and tomato tacos. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Sweet potatoes cut into small cubes and roasted
- Mixed mushrooms, lightly sauteed
- Garlicky, spicy kale or other greens
- Slow-cooked black beans or other beans (perhaps something from Rancho Gordo?)
Of course, it's not a taco bar without lots of great toppings. Here are a few suggestions:
- Chopped onions, cilantro and lime – for those who don't like to mess with perfection
- Caramelized onions
- Barbecue onions – especially good on nachos
- Pickled Red Onion Rings
- Sliced radishes
- Shredded cabbage
- Chopped avocado or guacamole
- Cheese – we like sharp cheeses that go a long way like aged cojita, soft goat cheese or even sharp cheddar
- Sour cream or Mexican crema
- Hot sauce or salsa – Use your favorite or try something new
For you football fans, we realize that we've inadvertently created a very Southwest, Arizona-centric menu. Any suggestions for Pittsburgh-related food?
- Martha Stewart Taco Bar: Recipes for carnitas, poached chicken and three salsas
- Gourmet: Three Meatless Tacos Worth Your Time
Related: Recipe: Yam and Black Bean Burritos