Taco Lettuce Wraps

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 pound ground beef or ground chuck
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon EACH: paprika and cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional, omit if sensitive to spice)
1/2 teaspoon EACH: oregano, roasted garlic powder, salt, and pepper
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
10-12 firm large pieces lettuce 
Toppings such as freshly grated cheese (monterey jack or extra sharp cheddar), freshly chopped cilantro, fresh lime wedges, chopped cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced avocado or guac, sour cream, etc.



PREP: begin by washing and drying the lettuce wraps. Set aside. Prepare everything for cooking the beef filling, because the process goes quickly! Mince the garlic, dice the onion, and stir together all of the seasonings. Drain and rinse black beans.

BEEF: Heat oil in a large skillet (cast iron if possible) over high heat. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden. Add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

BEEF CONT.: Add ground beef and cook for 2-4 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces as you go, until meat is no longer pink. If there is a lot of extra grease (from higher fat percentages of beef), drain off. Add in all the seasonings: chili powder, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir for another 2-3 minutes or until beef is completely cooked through. Add in the tomato sauce and stir until thickened, another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the drained and rinsed black beans. Remove from heat and set aside to slightly cool.

ASSEMBLE: Set out washed and COMPLETELY dried (don't want watery tacos!) lettuce pieces. Divide the beef evenly between the 10-12 lettuce pieces (depending on how much beef you want in each taco). Add your favorite toppings. We love extra sharp cheddar cheese, chopped cherry tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and sour cream. Other great options: avocado or guacamole, fresh corn, hot sauce or taco sauce, crispy tortilla strips, etc. Drizzle fresh lime over everything and enjoy.

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