20 April 2009

Maui Tacos


There is a restaurant here in Hawaii(and apparently elsewhere across the US) called
Maui Tacos, and I will share some information on them with you, but tonight I made tacos for dinner. Well, a cross between tacos and burritos.

Typically burritos are made with the big flour tortillas, but being gluten-free I don't eat the flour tortillas. I eat corn, and I actually now have a preference for corn tortillas. My dad told me that there is a taco stand down the road from his house now, and that he always gets corn tortillas. The woman working at the stand asks him every time wether he'd prefer corn or flour. He tells her corn, and every time he tells her that she looks very confused but gives him the corn tortillas anyway. I guess most white American men prefer flour, or at least in her mind they do.

To get back to my tacorritos here is the recipe adapted from $5 dollar dinners.

Vegetarian Lentil Spinach Tacorritos
  • 1 cup brown rice, cooked (Leftover brown rice works great here to help make cooking this meal go much more quickly.)
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 teaspoon Goya Adobo powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 14 Mission corn tortillas
  • 1 cup Tillamook white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Sour cream or substitute, and salsa

x. Preheat your oven to 250F.

1. If you haven't already cooked up your rice, do so before beginning on the rest of your meal preparation. This could take you up to an hour or more depending on how you cook your brown rice.

2. Rinse the lentils, and then put them in a pot with water coming up to about an inch or so above them. Bring this to a boil, and then simmer it for 30 minutes, or until the lentils are soft and most of the water is absorbed. Drain off any unused water.

3. Put the lentils and brown rice into a large skillet with the diced tomatoes with green chiles.

4. Add in all of the spices, including salt and pepper, and mix well.

5. Tear up the spinach into bite sized pieces and place it into the skillet as well. Mix everything together well and let the spinach wilt for about 5 minutes. Heat all of the this through well.

6. Warm the corn tortillas in another skillet to make them more pliable. Then, add the filling to each tortilla. Add about a golf ball sized amount. Top the filling with the shredded cheese and roll the tortilla shut.

7. Repeat the above process until all of the filling is used. Place the tacorritos into a large baking dish and place the dish in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the tortillas reach the crispness you desire.

8. Top with sour cream or substitute, and salsa.

Now, to discuss Maui Tacos.

For those who are gluten-free, it's a pretty good restaurant to know about when you're on Maui.

Their website states:

Gluten Free Menu:
All items on our menu are gluten free, except for the items that include a flour tortilla. Our burritos always feature a flour tortilla, but you can order a burrito bowl instead. A bowl has all the same ingredients as a burrito except for the tortilla. All other items are made with corn. Our enchilada sauce also has some flour in it, but all salsas are gluten free. All meats, beans and rice are made gluten free.

I've never been made sick by eating their food, but you should be very clear in what you want when you order. But, this is true no matter where you dine.

They do something the website calls a "burrito bowl", but don't ask for that because they won't know what you're talking about. Just ask for a burrito, no tortilla. Then it's kind of like a taco salad. This is great for when you see something delicious on the burrito menu, but can't eat it because of the tortilla.

Their tacos are what I believe is pretty authentic for tacos. Anthony Bourdain dined at a near border taco stand on his trip to Mexico on his TV show, and those tacos were meat, soft corn tortillas, salsa verde, and cilantro. At Maui tacos, you get the soft corn tortillas, meat (or not), lettuce, and you can choose your own salsa and wether or not you want other additions at their salsa bar.

They used to use potato starch made utensils, but I think the economy drove them back to cheaper plastics. I was so jazzed when I first encountered the potato starch utensils, and I was heartbroken when I saw them replaced with the standard. Sorry earth, guess everyone's feeling too broke to care.

Here's an interesting note about Maui Tacos: their owner also owns a small Italian restaurant that offers gluten-free spaghetti for an additional dollar, and soy cheese for a dollar. I haven't had the opportunity to try it, but when I do I will most certainly blog about it.

For those of you who have been searching the web for gluten-free restaurant information, I hope this post and my post about Down to Earth help you out.



  1. I'll be there next week! Can't wait. Thanks for the write-up. : )

  2. I hope you enjoy your trip! Let me know if I can provide information on any other restaurants or stores for you.