Navajo tacos is a “traditional” Navajo recipe. Basically take any variety of beans or chili and layer on top of a scone or fry bread. Typical topics include any usual taco topping, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, avocado, or whatever else sounds good. If you skip the beans you can slather it in honey butter and it is equally good.
A brief history on Navajo Tacos
This recipe was created in response to the rations the US government allocated the Native Americans after they were displaced from their Native lands. Essentially the US government would give them flour, beans and lard and this recipe was created from the ingredients they had available. This was the history we got in Idaho history when I was in elementary school. I think it’s interesting to know the stories of how we got our recipe.
My personal recipe is adapted from my families recipe; my dear aunt Cathy included it in a recipe book she gave to my mom. Aunt Cathy scrapbooks and gifts recipe books and my own is a treasured possession.
I include the recipe for our Navajo taco beans (chili) but really any version of chili or beans will work with this. I also typically make my chili in my pressure cooker because it’s so much faster than this several hour long recipe. When you beans are about half hour away from being finished you’ll want to start your fry bread.
Fry bread is a quick dough made of milk (or water), flour, baking powder, and salt. It takes a few minutes to knead or mix with a stand mixer. Then simply shape a golf ball sized lump of dough into an approximate circle. The outside of the circle is a little thicker than the center which creates a bowl shape as the dough fries in hot oil.
Place fry bread on paper towels to cool. When ready to serve, pile on beans and whatever taco toppings desired. Enjoy your Navajo tacos!
Partnership with ButcherBox
The last time I made this recipe I used beef I received from Butcherbox and I was very happy with the quality. I’m pretty picky about the quality of the ingredients I use so I love that Butcherbox’s beef is 100% grass-fed and finished, pasture-raised. Until May 30th new customers get $100 off ($20 for 5 months), no code required!
- 3 cups dry beans
- 7 cups water
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp seasoning salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- 4 cups water
- 2 tsps chili powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- Soak beans over night in 7 cups of water
- Heat and cook for 2 to 3 hours until beans are semi soft.
- In skillet fry beef, onion, and first set of seasonings. Cook until beef is cooked through.
- Drain beans and rinse, put beans back in pan.
- Add tomato sauce to beans, 4 cups water, and second set of spices.
- Add meat to bean mixture.
- Simmer for 2 to 3 hours until beans are tender. Add water as needed, stir often.
- 4 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Stir all dry ingredients together.
- Stir in milk until a soft dough forms.
- Knead and shape into flat rounds.
- Fry in hot oil turning once. Bread is done when it is a light brown.
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