Indigenous Tacos Recipe

Enjoy a delicious and healthy alternative to fast food Indian tacos with this authentic recipe for Indigenous tacos.

From “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen”
September 2018

  • indigenous tacos
    Indigenous tacos is a super healthy alternative to the fry bread and commodity hamburger version of Indian tacos.
    Photo by Eliesa Johnson
  • book cover
    “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen” by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley is an introduction and education of indigenous culture and foods. Readers explore boldly seasoned foods that are healthy, flavorful, and easily made using indigenous fruits and vegetables, wild and foraged grains, game, and fish.
    Cover courtesy University of Minnesota Press
  • indigenous tacos
  • book cover

Yield: 6-8 servings

The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley is an introduction and education to the indigenous cuisine of the Dakota and Minnesota territories with an intent to expand beyond these borders. Part of the education includes dispelling notions about Native American food such as fry bread or Indian tacos. Readers are instead educated on the truth and areas of focus about which types of wild game and produce are embraced like venison, rabbit, duck, blueberries, sumac, wild turnips, and plums.

You can purchase this book from the Heirloom Gardener store: The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen

When we launched the Tatanka Truck, we took the idea of the fast food — Indian Tacos — and slowed it down with authentic ingredients. This is a delicious and super healthy alternative to the; fry bread and commodity hamburger version. Use leftover Cedar-Braised Bison, or Cedar-Braised Beans, or Griddled Maple Squash, in lieu of the ground bison in this recipe. The recipe is easily expanded to feed a crowd.


  • 2 to 3 pounds ground bison
  • Generous pinch salt
  • Generous pinch juniper
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 4 wild onions or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup Corn or Wild Rice Stock
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup to taste
  • Corn Cakes,
  • Wojape,
  • Corn Nuts,
  • Chopped sorrel for garnish (optional)


  1. Season the bison with the salt and juniper.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat and add the onions.
  3. Cook until softened and lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  4. Add the bison and sage, and cook until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the meat.
  5. Add the stock, bring to a simmer, and cook until the liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 3 minutes. Season with the maple syrup.
  6. Serve over the corn cakes and drizzle with Wojape.
  7. Garnish with sorrel and top with corn nuts for a nice crunch.
  8. Chef’s Note: For vegetarian and vegan tacos, replace the bison with Cedar-Braised Beans.

Tanka Bar

Native American Natural Foods, LLC, Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota, produces buffalo-based packaged foods that are delicious, nutritious, healthy, and sustainable. The company's mission is to support the region's natural buffalo herd, employ members of the tribe, and contribute to the local economy. The Tanka Bar, made with buffalo, dried fruit, and natural seasonings, is wildly popular. It contains no artificial ingredients and is low-carbohydrate, sugar-free, and gluten-free. In a pinch, we substitute these products for Wasna.

The mission of the company, founded by Karlene Hunter and Mark Tilsen in 2006, is to produce foods that add to the restoration and preservation of our lands and the ecosystem. Because they are made with natural, healthful ingredients, they may help to reverse chronic food-related illnesses such as obesity and diabetes. These are foods that align with the ways Native Americans lived just a century ago."Tanka" speaks to the ability to 'Live Life Powerfully and to acknowledge 'Mitakuye Oyasin'— we are all related."

More from The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen:

From The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) Copyright 2017 Ghost Dancer, LLC. All rights reserved. Used by permission of the University of Minnesota Press.

sioux chef's indigenous kitchen

Indigenous Recipes

Sean Sherman, the Oglala Lakota chef and founder of The Sioux Chef, in his breakout book, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, shares his approach to creating boldly seasoned foods that are vibrant, healthful, at once elegant and easy. Sherman dispels outdated notions of Native American fare. There’s no fry bread or Indian tacos here, and no European staples such as wheat flour, dairy products, sugar, or domestic pork and beef. These healthful plates embrace venison and rabbit, river and lake trout, duck and quail, wild turkey, blueberries, sage, sumac, timpsula or wild turnip, plums, purslane, and abundant wildflowers. Contemporary and authentic, his dishes feature cedar-braised bison, griddled wild rice cakes, amaranth crackers with smoked white bean paste, three sisters salad, deviled duck eggs, smoked turkey soup, dried meats, roasted corn sorbet, and hazelnut–maple bites. The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen is a rich education and a delectable introduction to modern indigenous cuisine of the Dakota and Minnesota territories, with a vision and approach to food that travels well beyond those borders. Order from the Heirloom Gardener Store or by calling 800-456-5835.

Subscribe today

Heirloom GardenerCultivate your love of historic plant varieties and traditional recipes with a subscription to Heirloom Gardener magazine today!

Don’t miss a single issue of Heirloom Gardener. Published by the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Heirloom Gardener provides decades of organic gardening experience from the most trusted voices in the field. Subscribe today and save as much as 38% off the newsstand price! Get one year (4 issues) for only $24.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube

click me