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WHAT is Carne Asada?
Carne Asada is a traditional Mexican dish, typically made with skirt steak or flank steak that has been marinaded and grilled, then sliced very thinly for tacos. Typically carne asada tacos are topped with chopped onion, chopped cilantro and a lime wedge.
CaRne Asada Tacos | 60-sec Video
One of the best things about growing up in Southern California was its proximity to Mexico. Being able to drive over the border or hop on a quick flight allowed my family to visit many different areas and experience regional Mexican cuisine.My obsession with visiting Mexico is always the same – finding the best taco! After a day or two of serious reconnaissance work, it becomes clear which taco stands are the busiest and have the longest lines and draw the most locals… and that is where I camp out. There, tacos cost less than a dollar, tortillas and hot sauces are made from scratch, and ingredients are locally grown and ripened on the tree and vine – and this is why they taste so good.
CarNE Asada InGredients
- Flank Steak or skirt steak – grass fed and finished if possible
- Tortillas – 4-inch corn or flour tortillas, or a blend, or make your own!
- Traditional toppings: chopped onion, chopped cilantro and lime
- Our version: Chimichurri Sauce, Pickled Radishes, Grilled onions, Pico de Gallo
the BEST Carne Asada Marinade
- Fresh orange and lime
- Soy sauce
- Olive oil
- Fresh garlic cloves
- Chopped cilantro
- Spices: cumin, coriander, chili powder.
- Optional addition: 1-3 teaspoons adobo sauce (from canned chipotles) . This adds a nice smoky flavor!
How to Make Carne ASada Tacos
Step four: Thinly slice the steak across the grain, into thin bite-size strips and lay on a big cutting board, topped with a generous amount of the Chimichurri sauce. Place salsas, quick pickles, limes, crumbled cojita cheese, and grilled onions all around it.
Brian and I make this steak taco recipe together. I marinate the beef and make the sides. He is in charge of the grilling. It is fast and easy work with two people, and we can have most of it complete in 40 minutes, sometimes 30 if the meat is pre-marinated.
It’s a great meal to serve when having guests over.
A quick substitution for vegans and vegetarians is to use Mexican Spice-Rubbed Tofu (see recipe notes). Everything else can stay the same!
What to Serve with Carne Asada
- Chimichurri Sauce
- Pico de Gallo
- Guacamole (three ways!)
- Pickled Onions
- Delicious Peppery Pickled Jalapeños
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Mexican Slaw with Cilantro and Lime
- Pinto Beans
- 2 lbs Flank Steak (or pounded skirt steak, organic grass-fed is best)
- 1–2 large, sliced sweet onions for grilling (optional)
- 1 bunch scallions for grilling(optional)
Carne Asada Marinade:
- Juice of 1 orange ( 1/3 cup)
- Juice of 2 limes (1/4 cup)
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar ( optional)
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (stems ok)
- optional: 1/2 teaspoon of any or each cumin, coriander or chili powder.
- optional 1–3 teaspoons adobo sauce ( from canned chipotles) This adds a nicely smoky flavor!
- 1 bunch Cilantro or about 1 cup packed (small stems OK)
- 1 bunch Italian Parsley- about 1 cup packed (thin stems OK)
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (1-2 limes)
- 1/2 cup olive oil, or more
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 of one jalapeño pepper
Simple Pico De Gallo:
- 4 vine-ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
- 2 green onions, white and green parts, sliced
- 1 Serrano chili, minced
- 1 handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 limes, juiced
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Quick Pickles: ( or substitute Pickled Red Onions)
- 2 cups mix of sliced radishes, onion, or carrots, cauliflower, or whatever you like
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns or whole coriander seed
- A few sprigs of cilantro
Tortillas: 12 small tortillas. Homemade tortillas are nice! Or, try a Corn and Flour blend- my favorite!
- Steak Instructions: In a large bowl, mix together ingredients for the marinade. Place steak and onions in the bowl and toss with marinade. Let sit at room temp for at least 30 minutes, turning occasionally. (Or marinate for up to 3 hours in the fridge, bringing to room temp before grilling.) Pre-heat the grill to mediump-high heat. Grease the grill. Grill steak on med-high heat to the desired doneness. I usually cook to medium-rare, 5-7 mins each side. Grill the onions and scallions untio tender and charred. A little char is good on the steak here too. Let rest for 10 minutes, covered in foil, before thinly slicing the meat across the grain.
- Chimichurri Sauce: Either chop everything finely and place all ingredients in a bowl, or alternatively place all dry ingredients in a food processor, pulsing several times until chopped. Add oil, lime juice, cumin, coriander, and salt. Pulse repeatedly until combined, but not too smooth. Add more oil if you want a looser sauce. Set aside in a small serving bowl.
- Pico De Gallo Salsa: Finely dice tomato, onion, jalapeño and cilantro. Season with salt, pepper and lime. Sometimes I’ll add diced avocado and a couple splashes of Tapatio hot sauce. Place all in a bowl, mix and let sit for 15 min to 1 hour (makes 2 Cups)
- Quick Pickles: In a small saucepan, combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt and peppercorns or coriander seeds. Add your choice of sliced radishes, slivered onions, thinly sliced carrots or whatever else you like. Bring to a boil. Remove and place in freezer for 10-15 minutes (or refrigerate until cold). Remove and place in a serving bowl or jar. Top with a little fresh cilantro. Or you could make pickled red onions instead.
- Tortillas – lightly grill, until soft and pliable (or grill directly on a gas burner. flipping and turning for 30 seconds) wrap up in a towel, to prevent drying.
- Serve everything together, along with any additional garnishes.
- Vegan Option: Seared Mexican Rubbed Tofu: Use your favorite taco seasoning, or make your own using this spice rub recipe. Cut tofu into strips, coat with spice rub and sear all sides in a hot skillet with a little oil. I will often start with coating and searing one piece of tofu first,and test for salt.
- Serving Size: 1 taco
- Calories: 202
- Sugar: 3.6 g
- Sodium: 331.5 mg
- Fat: 8.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 2 g
- Carbohydrates: 17.5 g
- Fiber: 2.7 g
- Protein: 14.9 g
- Cholesterol: 34 mg
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