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Easy Navajo Tacos with Veggies and Indian Fry Bread

Easy Navajo Tacos (Indian Fry Bread) topped with seasoned meat, veggies and cheese. Fry bread takes ordinary tacos to the next level!

Course Dinner, lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword family meal, fry bread, scones, Tacos
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

For Fry Bread (see recipe notes for fry bread made with yeast)

  • 3-3 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus about 1/2 cup for shaping
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 cups very warm water
  • canola or vegetable oil for frying

For Taco Filling:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
  • 1 14-15 oz can small red beans, kidney beans, garbanzo or refried beans (optional)

Toppings:

  • Lettuce
  • Cheese
  • Tomato
  • Olives
  • Sour Cream
  • Avocado
  • sour cream or plain unsweetened Greek yogurt

Instructions

For Fry Bread:

  1. Place 3 cups flour, baking powder and salt into large bowl. Mix.

  2. Add 1 1/4 cups very warm water to bowl and stir with a large spoon just until combined.

  3. The mixture should be soft, but not sticky. If the dough is wet and sticky, add more flour, a little at a time until dough is still soft, but not wet. 

  4. Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Pat out on clean floured surface or between hands that have been dusted with flour. At this point I let the dough rest while cooking the meat filling and preparing the other toppings.

  5. Heat oil in pan to 350 degrees. The oil should be at least 2 inches deep in the pan. Make sure to use a pan that is fairly deep to prevent the oil from bubbling over the edge!

  6. When oil is heated, carefully place the dough into the hot oil one at a time. Make sure the temperature does not drop too much. If placing a piece of dough into the oil makes it stop bubbling, wait to add another piece of dough. I cook two pieces of dough at a time.

  7. Cook on each side until golden. Remove from oil to a paper towel or piece of parchment paper. 

For Tacos:

  1. Cook the ground beef in a skillet over medium heat. Drain any grease from pan and discard. 

  2. Add chopped onion and all seasonings. Cook until onion is softened. 

  3. Add one can of beans (small red beans, chili beans, kidney beans or even refried beans).  After the meat and bean mixture has cooked a few mintues, use a potato masher and smash down about 1/2 of the beans (optional).

  4. Cook until mixture is heated through. Remove from heat and cover until ready to assemble. This may also be made a day or two ahead and then simply reheated when ready to serve.

  5. Chop all of the topping ingredients and set aside in bowls for easy assembly.

Assembly:

  1. Place warm fry bread on each plate. Let each person place desired toppings to make their own Navajo taco. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Navajo Tacos are traditionally made with baking powder as the leavening, but many people make them with yeast. Here is the yeast version of Navajo Tacos we like, made with a modified scone dough that is perfect for topping with honey butter or butter and jam, Nutella or  just sprinkled with powdered sugar. I recommend using a stand mixer with the paddle or bread hook attachment to make this dough. 

Fry Bread (with yeast) 

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/3 cup of canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 1/2* cups all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling or patting out
  • Directions:
  • Place warm water, yeast and one tablespoon of sugar in a large bowl.
  •  Let yeast bubble and rise. 
  • Add rest of sugar (2 tablespoons) oil, salt, and egg. Blend with whisk. 
  • Add 3 cups of all purpose flour and mix with large spoon. slowly add the additional 1/2 cup just until the dough is no longer sticky. This will vary according to the humidity. In Utah, I add less flour, in Spain, a little more! The dough should have a matte finish. 
  • Let rest for about 30-45 minutes covered (or up to 1 1/2 hours), or until the dough is nearly doubled in size. 
  • When ready to fry, divide the dough into 12 pieces. I use 6 for tacos and 6 for dessert fry bread. 
  • Follow recipe directions frying dough and for topping fry bread.