Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. managed by NCBA, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. I received compensation, but all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that keep the Shaw Kitchen running!
Looking for a simple, nutritious, and convenient meal to make in your air fryer? Then these Beef Air Fryer Taquitos are for you! These make the perfect handheld meal (or snack) to grab when you’re busy nursing an infant, running after a toddler, or simply just trying to eat something satisfying and healthy! Find out why adding nutrient-rich beef is an excellent addition to your diet with these simple Air Fryer Taquitos below!
It’s no secret: nutrition is SO important throughout the lifespan as evidenced by the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans. From the second you begin to think about having a baby (aka, the preconception period) to older adulthood, nutrition plays a crucial role in building the foundation for a healthy life.
As a dietitian and mom, I take great pride in making sure moms (and moms in the making) are given the facts about what nutrients they need to ensure they have in their diet throughout the prenatal and postpartum journey.
If you don’t remember, I chatted all about the importance of iron in the prenatal period here, and then I dove into the crucial nutrients infants need during that first 1000 days of life here with my family-friendly Baby Meatball Recipe!
But, I’ve yet to talk about the important nutrients you need postpartum, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Which leads me to today’s post: why beef is such an important food to supply nutrition for nursing moms and these delicious Air Fryer Taquitos (aka the easiest, nutrient-rich handheld recipe to have on hand!)
Nutrient Needs That Increase with Breastfeeding
Did you know that while many nutrient needs (like iron) increase during the prenatal period, there are some nutrient requirements that increase even further postpartum with breastfeeding?
Yes, I’m not kidding! Some of the nutrient requirements that increase while nursing include: Here are six nutrients that increase while nursing:
- Vitamin A: 1300 mg
- Vitamin K: 90 mg
- Vitamin C: 120 mg
- Choline: 550 mg
- Selenium: 70 mg
- Zinc: 12 mg
Now, don’t fret if you’re not sure if you’re meeting these! While I definitely encourage all my new mamas to continue taking a prenatal (or postnatal) vitamin as a safety net, there are many foods you can incorporate into your diet that help you to meet your nutrient requirements contain these nutrients and are super convenient, like beef.
Beef is a nutrient powerhouse that contains high quality protein, iron, zinc, and choline that support growing bodies and healthy brain development in babies and toddlers.
A 3-ounce portion of beef provides in varying quantities all of the nutrients you need postpartum, but specifically meets the following:
- 13% Daily Value of Choline
- 48% Daily Value of Selenium
- 53% Daily Value of Zinc
- 14% Daily Value of Iron
While incorporating foods that meet these nutrients are important, it’s also crucial to remember that your body actually needs more nutrition now than before (you’re producing food to sustain another life!)
With that said, the USDA recommends a well-balanced diet during your postpartum breastfeeding journey that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and calcium-rich foods (like dairy.) By eating the “rainbow” of veggies and incorporating high-quality protein like beef, you are not only providing yourself solid energy, but also providing your baby with crucial building blocks for healthy brain development as well as helping shape their future veggie loving taste buds!
What You Need to Make this Recipe
- I prefer to use a 93% lean Ground Beef in this recipe, but you can also use the Ground Beef lean/fat% you prefer. If using less lean varieties of Ground Beef, I recommend simply straining out the fat after sauteing to help lower the total fat of the dish.
- Thawed ground beef! If you forgot to take it out the night before, don’t worry. Follow this guide here to help thaw your ground beef safely.
- I have made this recipe a few different times using the produce I had on hand. While I love the added vitamin D mushrooms provide, as well as the antioxidants in the bell peppers, you can certainly swap diced tomatoes and riced cauliflower into the beef as well for extra nutrition.
- Vary the spices and seasonings to your liking! A pre-made low-sodium taco mix works well, or a do-it-yourself seasoning combo that suits your taste (and spice) preference.
- Omit cheese if dairy-free, or swap in a nutritional yeast.
How To Make this Recipe
Steps 1 + 2:
Begin by sauteing onions and garlic in oil for about 3 to 4 minutes. Then, add in the Ground Beef, mushrooms, bell peppers, and spices and continue to cook over medium heat on the stovetop. Sauté until beef is browned and fully cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (about 10 minutes.)
*Note, if using less lean varieties of Ground Beef, sauté the beef first, then strain the fat out, and sauté the other ingredients in the oil then add back in the beef at the end.
Steps 3 + 4:
Using a slotted spoon, portion out the Ground Beef mixture onto your tortillas in the center. Leave about 1-inch space on the sides to allow the tortilla to roll into the taquito form. Sprinkle cheese on top.
Steps 5 + 6:
Repeat adding the meat mixture into the tortillas until all are tortillas are filled. Then, roll the tortilla up tightly, ensuring the opposite side is tightly tucked under the center. Lightly spray air fryer basket with an olive oil mist, then place rolled taquitos in the air fryer basket and set temperature to 370 degrees for 7 minutes.
*Note, if your air fryer requires a preheat, be sure to turn it on during the sauté period above.
Steps 7 + 8:
Once taquitos are golden brown, remove and let cool 2 to 3 minutes before serving. Repeat cooking with remaining taquitos depending on the size of your air fryer basket.
Garnish with desired toppings and serve with guacamole, salsa, and plain Greek yogurt as a nutrient-rich swap for sour cream.
This recipe is perfect for the entire family! Let’s take a look at how this recipe can be plated for adults and kids alike.
For busy parents, let’s be real! As nice as this would be to have the picture-perfect plate like this…
We are more often than not eating with one hand, like this…
But, no judgement here! These portable Air Fryer Taquitos pack solid nutrition inside thanks to lean beef and veggies so you don’t have to worry about eating a salad if you don’t have another hand.
Now, if you have a more advanced toddler eater, you can certainly use your best judgement on their chewing and swallowing progress to see if they are ready to have perhaps a taquito as made.
When my toddler was about 18-months and we started making this recipe, we would modify it slightly since the crispy, crunchy tortilla was a bit too hard for her to chew by deconstructing the taquito for her like this…
But, please remember If you have questions about solid foods with your child, consult a physician or health care provider.
Food Safety Reminders
Regardless of your age and stage of life, food safety is very important when handling raw meats. Remember these tips to keep you (and your family) safe!
- Wash hands thoroughly after handling raw meat.
- Use separate plates, cutting boards, utensils for raw vs. cooked foods to prevent cross contamination.
- Use an instant read thermometer to ensure beef is properly cooked. Follow USDA guidelines for proper cooking of beef:
Simple Postpartum Beef Meals to Add into Your Diet Plan
Save time (and sanity) by batch cooking your meals (and meats) to enjoy in a variety of ways all week long!
If you have a pressure cooker, I highly recommend adding these recipes into your rotation:
All of these come together in under an hour to provide you with a high-quality protein you can enjoy all week long in a whole grain wrap, on a sandwich, or over a salad if you’re lucky enough to sit down!
Air Fryer Taquitos with Beef
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 8 oz lean Ground Beef
- 8 oz finely chopped mushrooms
- 1 cup chopped bell peppers
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8-10 each whole wheat tortillas
- 1/4 cup shredded cheese optional
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt optional
- 1/3 cup guacamole optional
- 1/3 cup salsa optional
- Begin by sautéing onions and garlic in oil for about 3 to 4minutes. Then, add in the ground beef, mushrooms, bell peppers, and spices and continue to cook over medium heat on the stovetop. Sauté until beef is browned and fully cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (or for about 10minutes.) *Note, if using 80% lean/ 20% fat beef, sauté the beef first, then strain the fat out, and sauté the other ingredients in the oil then add back in the beef at the end.
- Using a slotted spoon, portion out the ground beef mixture onto your tortillas in the center. Leave about 1-inch space on the sides to allow the tortilla to roll into the taquito form. Sprinkle cheese on top.
- Repeat adding the meat mixture into the tortillas until all are filled. Then, roll the tortilla up tightly, ensuring the opposite side is tightly tucked under the center. Lightly spray air fryer basket with an olive oil mist, then place rolled taquitos in the air fryer basket and set temperature to 370 degrees for 7 minutes. *Note, if your air fryer requires a preheat, be sure to turn it on during the sauté period above.
- Once taquitos are golden brown, remove and let cool 2 to 3minutes before serving. Repeat cooking with remaining taquitos depending on the size of your air fryer basket.
- Garnish with desired toppings like plain Greek yogurt (a nutrient-rich swap for sour cream), guacamole, and/or salsa.
- While I haven’t tested this with a vegan cheese, if your child has a dairy allergy, consider making this sans cheese or using a dairy-free alternative to provide a similar taste.
- Air Fryer Taquitos are best stored in the refrigerator or freezer in an air-tight container. If in the refrigerator, use within 3 days for best quality, reheating in the air fryer at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes. I have not frozen these myself, however have done so with a similar taquito recipe in the past. If you want to freeze this recipe, I recommend allowing them to completely cool, wrapping them in a paper towel, and then placing in a sealed container and using within 1 month for best quality.
- Please remember If you have questions about starting solid foods, consult a physician or health care provider.
Nutrition Per Serving
For more information regarding beef and the important role it plays throughout the lifespan, be sure to visit Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner here!