Mexican spices - cumin, cocoa, ancho, cinnamon - complement flavorful ground lamb in these Easy Ground Lamb Tacos. With your favorite taco toppings, you've got a delicious meal on the table in minutes! #TacoTuesday
Love ground lamb? Find more great ground lamb recipes.
“Ways to My Heart: Buy Me Tacos, Make Me Tacos, Be Tacos.”~~ Unattributed.
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Tacos
WE. LOVE. TACOS. All the tacos. Of course all the "borderlands" are taco heaven, but none of our previous locales offered the variety of tacos and taco ingredients that we enjoy in McAllen...
Since moving to McAllen in 2015, my blog has featured Fried Oyster Tacos with Citrus Salsa, and Lengua Tacos with Salsa Verde and Caramelized Onions. Of course the seafood here is fantastic, and lengua (beef tongue) is available in every market. I love the vast array of fresh produce (especially the avocados!), and the tortillas are so fresh.
I have played with global tacos as well: Indian Street Tacos with Grilled Shrimp and Korean Street Tacos with Green Onion Kimchi. All of these recipes offer a unique and flavorful spin on tacos, and require a bit of planning and time.
My Spicy Lamb Tacos definitely qualify as "unique" and "flavorful," but they are so quick and easy... A simple combination of spices - cumin, cocoa, ancho, and cinnamon - provides a mole-style kick to earthy ground lamb. They're a bold addition to your #TacoTuesday repertoire!
On to the recipe...
As I suggest ad nauseum, gather your ingredients. Prep all of your taco toppings (see Taco Toppings Ideas section below). Only then then will you start cooking the spiced ground lamb!
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- ground lamb
- spices - ground cumin, ancho (chipotle, NM red) chile powder
- unsweetened cocoa powder
- soft corn tortillas
- taco toppings (see post and recipe card for ideas!)
Once you've assembled the ingredients and prepped your taco toppings, proceed to cooking steps...
- Prepare the ground lamb mixture - Measure spices, weigh ground lamb (if necessary), mince garlic.
- Add ground lamb to a skillet, along with spices and garlic. Break up the ground lamb as it browns.
- Cook until browned but don't dry it out by overcooking!
🌮 Toppings Ideas That Work Well with Lamb Tacos
On photo day, we had a quick homemade pico de gallo, crumbled cotija, sliced avocado, cilantro sprigs, and lime wedges. This is a fantastic combination, but it certainly isn't the only combination!
When planning tacos for #TacoTuesday - or any other night of the week - I have a protein, a salsa, and a fresh ingredient or two (avocado, shredded cabbage), and usually - but not always - a strong-flavored cheese.
I trust you'll do your best to pick healthy or healthyish options!
- Pico de Gallo
- Roasted Tomatillo and Hatch Green Chile Salsa
- Easy Mango Salsa
- Red Chile and Toasted Pumpkin Seed Salsa
- Chipotle Pepita Salsa
- Fresh Corn Salsa with Avocado
No time for homemade salsa? Use your favorite brand!
- shredded cabbage
- shredded lettuce
- lime wedges
- fresh cilantro
- thin-sliced radishes
- crumbled cotija
- diced queso fresco
- grated Mexican blend cheese
💭 Tips and FAQ
I HATE LAMB! Can I still make these tacos? By all means, YES! Substitute lean ground beef, bison, elk, pork, turkey, or chicken...
Spices? This recipe was an offshoot of my Mexican Mole Spice Blend. If you choose to make this fantastic spice blend, you'll use 3 teaspoons. You can also use it in Instant Pot Lamb Butternut Squash Stew, Mexican Roasted Chicken and Vegetables, and Instant Pot Ground Lamb Chili.
I don't have time to make my own salsa, but the tacos sound great. What can I substitute? I love this salsa from Rick Bayless' Frontera Restaurant - Medium Tomatillo Salsa. He has many other varieties to choose from as well! There are many excellent prepared salsas that are widely available in your markets.
What kind of tortillas should I use? I don't remember the last time I bought/used flour tortillas. Corn tortillas have so much more flavor, and their earthy corn flavor pairs well with the ground lamb. I simply warm them in a tortilla warmer.
How long does it take to make Easy Ground Lamb Tacos? Preparing the spiced ground lamb mixture takes less than 10 minutes. Depending on what/how you do your toppings, this is easily a 30 minute meal perfect for weeknight dinners!
I don't have ancho, but I do have chipotle (or NM red chile) powder. Will that work? ABSOLUTELY! I use them interchangeably. "Chili powder" is not a good substitute, however, as it is a spice blend rather than ground red chile powder!
- Double the recipe and freeze some for later!
- Use a potato masher to break up the ground meat.
What are you waiting for? That's my question for you!
- 12-16 ounces lean ground lamb (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ to 1 teaspoon ancho powder (see notes)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- several grinds pepper
- corn tortillas, warmed
- toppings (see post for ideas!)
- To a skillet, add the ground lamb, spices, cocoa, and garlic.
- Fry until browned but not dried out - about 5 minutes.
- Warm the tortillas, then spoon the ground lamb mixture into them. Top as desired!
Ground lamb is delicious, but it is a polarizing ingredient. You can sub with beef, bison, elk, turkey, etc. My market has lean ground lamb in 12 ounce packages. It will serve 3 to 4 depending on appetites. It serves 4 at my house. The spices should be fine for 16 ounce packages as well.
Ancho powder is hot. If you're not certain, use the lesser amount. You can add but not subtract. Chipotle and New Mexico red chile powders are good substitutes; generic "chili powder" not so much. Chili powder is a spice mix with cumin, garlic, etc.
Nutrition information is an approximation only using MyFitnessPal.com with 4 - 3 ounce servings of lamb.
See post for more tips.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 241Total Fat: 17gCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 21g