ALL THE BEST SPOTS FOR HEALTHY-ISH TACOS IN PORTLAND

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CARLY MANNING

APR 15, 2019

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IMAGE VIA @TIGHTTACOS | INSTAGRAM

If there’s one thing Portlandians can all agree on, it’s how great their city’s food scene is. Known for food trucks and street eats from around the globe, it’s no surprise the taco game is strong, too. While you’ll certainly find some queso-drenched options, this is Portland we’re talking about, so count on some healthy(ish) handhelds to hold as well. Whether you’re gluten-free, paleo, vegan, vegetarian, or omnivore, you’ll find somewhere on this list to get your Mexican food fix.

With their great selection of street-style tacos, the menu at Stella Taco is sure to please all taco enthusiasts. Vegans and vegetarians can rejoice as their shops in both NE and SE offer tasty options that are a lot more exciting than a boring old bean and cheese taco. Say hello to fried avocado tacos! Not only is this place tasty AF, it’s also easy on the pocket. During happy hour you can grab $2 tacos, and $1 off margaritas and draft beers.

Potentially Portland’s most talked about Mexican joint, ¿Por Qué No? certainly lives up to the hype. Our favorite thing about this hole-in-the-wall restaurant is their support of the community, using fresh, local and seasonal ingredients where possible. With tons of taco options on fresh housemade tortillas, trust us — you’ll want to taco’bout it. Come get a taste on Hawthorne or N. Mississippi.

For all our plant-based taco-loving friends out there, this is your spot! Alberta’s El Nutri Taco is one (two if you count their new Woodstock spot) of the healthiest and most veg-friendly taco places you’ll find, offering animal-free substitutions for just about everything. We’re talking dairy-free sour cream, soy- and dairy-free cheese, veganaise, soy curls, tempeh, chicken-free chicken, and more. No need to feel left out, omnivores — they dish up delicious meat-based tacos, too.

True to their word, Tight Tacos has been ‘serving Portland’s most grammable tacos since June 2016’. But more than just a pretty face, their California-style tacos will seriously satisfy your taste buds with the likes of healthyish fillings like shredded chicken and cauliflower. You will find this little food truck parked in SE Portland, but you can also catch them at events around the city like the Portland Night Markets and Portland Flea.

This healthy food chain boasts 10 Portland locations. So, no matter what part of the city you’re in, you won’t have to venture far to sample the goods that Laughing Planet Cafe has to offer. With a simple, straightforward approach to food, the menu is full of local, fresh ingredients like smart black beans and pasture-raised beef. Their DIY tacos are sure to hit the spot!

It won’t come as a surprise that that joint made it’s name for tasty tamales. But Tamale Boy’s tacos options are definitely not to be skipped. Choose from traditional filling options like tinga de res (beef), tinga de pollo (chicken), carnitas (pork), or hongo y epazote (vegetarian). What we love most about their two taquerias—one in Eliot and one in Woodlawn—is their seasonally-changing menu, which highlights cuisine from various regions throughout Mexico.

This vegan tiki bar on Mississippi is a plant-based paradise, serving up delicious Mexican- and island-inspired dishes. Beginning as a food truck in Seattle, No Bones Beach Club received so many requests to expand to Portland that they set up shop here in 2017. And their fried avocado tacos and jackfruit flautas are perfect when you’re in the mood for comfort food that’s not quite so naughty.

Like others on this list, Los Gorditos is classic Mexican street food which caters to meat-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans alike. Beginning as a single food truck (typical PDX), they reached cult status, particularly among vegans. And today, they are operating in six locations across the city. As healthy(ish) as their regular taco menu is, if you’re feeling like having a serious cheat day, you could always try their famous deep fried burrito.

Bored of beans? Sick of salsa? At Cruzroom in the Alberta Arts District, you’ll find tacos with a serious twist! No traditional Mexican favorites here. Instead, choose from unusual (and fun) fillings like British-style fish and chips, cornflake-crusted tofu, and Thai chicken in coconut milk, just to name a few.

If you’re looking for a guilt-free meal that still satisfies, then try this vegan favorite in NE. They’re not a Mexican restaurant, but their black bean and quinoa tacos sure are mexcellent! Soy-free and gluten-free, they are served with mango salsa, cabbage slaw, pickled jalapeño-onion condimento, cashew sour crema, and cilantro in soft corn tortillas. Now, just remember to wipe that drool off your face!

Verde Cocina is all about combining traditional Mexican flavors with Pacific Northwest bounty. Ingredients are locally sourced, and there are gluten-free, paleo, vegan, and vegetarian options aplenty. Their tacos are stuffed with veggies straight from the farmers market, on freshly made tortillas no less. Their three eateries around town are truly passionate about making healthy food accessible and delicious — and we dig it!

These bright and cheery taquerias, both in NE, are really something. As the name suggests, they began as a tricycle-based food cart roaming the streets of Portland in 2011. Their two brick-and-mortar locations are now focused on dishing up tantalizing tacos using all-natural meats and locally sourced produce. If you weren’t impressed enough, Taco Pedaler serves all their food on compostable and biodegradable paper products to leave as little of a environmental footprint as possible.

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