Looking for a Healthy Tex-Mex Alternative in Austin? Give these 6 dishes a try!

We all want to eat better, live more healthy, and enrich our lives. Maudie’s believes in offering those on this life mission an opportunity to enjoy a tex-mex restaurant in Austin without hassle. Many Mexican restaurants don’t offer vegetarian, gluten-free, or alternative dishes to those focused on living a healthier life. After 25 years of serving the greater Austin area with seven locations, Maudie’s understands the most important thing in life is family. We support ours with a friendly environment and great food.

Tex-mex chicken enchiladas

Enchiladas are a great option if you’re looking for a healthier dish at a Mexican restaurant. Maudie’s offers their enchiladas with hand-crafted sauces, cheese, onions, and your meat of choice. Keep things healthy by asking for grilled chicken, to hold the cheese, and getting the sauce on the side.

Tex-mex quesadilla

Some people think a quesadilla is an unhealthy option because of all the cheese. Nonetheless, there are alternatives to cheese. Consider ordering a quesadilla with grilled chicken. Hold the cheese. Order Guacamole on the side. Then you can dip your chicken-tortilla in the guacamole and create a healthier Tex-Mex dish.

Tex-mex sauces

Although Maudie’s tex-mex hand-crafted sauces are delicious, get them on the side or hold them off your dish entirely. If you want to add flavor to your dish, consider guacamole or pico-de-gallo as an alternative to sauces.

Vegetarian tex-mex

An easy way to keep healthy is to order off the vegetarian menu. Tex-mex restaurants which offer veggie dishes tend to keep the offerings lean and health friendly. For those with specific dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free, they can order certain dishes at Maudie’s on request, or find the dishes which are gluten-free without request.

Some of Maudie’s selections are as follows:
Veggie Chile Relleno
Spinach Tomatado Enchiladas
Vegetable Burrito
Veggie Fajita

Tex-mex burrito

It may surprise you that burritos are a healthy option. Similar to enchiladas, ask for no cheese. Order the sauce on the side. Try to get your chicken grilled instead of fried.

Tex-mex taco

Tacos are a great option for healthy eating at tex-mex restaurants. Typically, the tacos come as an entree, but at Maudie’s, the tacos are a la carte, which means you can order as few or as many as you like without cheese and sauce on the side.

Authentic tex-mex

You can eat healthy at a tex-mex restaurant in Austin. It’s simply a matter of knowing what you’re ordering and adjusting it to meet your dietary needs. Remember that authentic tex-mex is rooted in the Mexican culture and steeped in Texas ranch life, dating back as far as the 1800s. The mixture of culture resulted in the dishes you see on Maudie’s menu. The flavors, sauces, and spices all culminate in various dishes to give your taste buds a wonderful experience.

With all this in mind, you can enjoy traditional tex-mex while sticking to your health-food decisions.

Maudie’s has been serving the greater Austin area for over 25 years. Want to eat healthy tex-mex? Can’t’ find a healthy or vegetarian alternative in Austin? Maudie’s has got you covered. Visit us at any one of our seven locations and enjoy a delicious meal.

The Origins of Street Tacos

It’s not good to look a gift horse in the mouth, which is why no one has looked into the vast history of the taco. One of the most beautiful things about a taco, and believe us there are many, is the simplicity of the food. Its merits include the absolute deliciousness of it, so no one really put too much thought into their origins until a professor of history from Minnesota who delved into the history of greatest food to grace our taste buds. After all, you have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.

Tacos Begin

It is hypothesized the taco was created in the mid 18th-century. Presumably, Mexican workers in the silver mines in Mexico created them as “taco” is how they referred to the charges they would use to gain access to the silver ore. However, the first actual reference to a taco using the word taco appeared in the 1800s. This specifically referenced taco was called the “taco de minero” or miner’s taco. Thus, the taco was born and go onto to forge a bigger, and better world that it would rule.

The Evolution

Tacos would expand after that, tackling regions at a time and attracting the population with its beautiful simplicity and coordinated combination of exploding flavor. Taquerias began popping up around the towns, mostly in working-class neighborhoods, to provide the masses with more easily acquired tacos. This expansion is attributed to the migration of women to Mexico City because of the light industry. These women brought their taco recipes with them into the city where they traded notes and started making tacos progressively better. This development in the food industry of their main city became somewhat political at times. Because Mexican food, including tacos, was considered to be Native food and not European it was considered lesser in some circles. However, the Mexican nationalists pushed Mexican cuisine as a patriot’s dish and avoided crossover recipes or concoctions that included European elements and Native elements. With all of this in mind, it’s interesting to note that the Mexican cuisine we know of now eventually developed into a melting pot of the two cooking styles because of the Mexican people coming to terms with their mixed routes. Some identified as Natives and others identified as the descendants of the Aztecs and Conquistadors, but they started to meet in the middle about their food choices as the gained unity as a people. Once the taco, probably, unified the people of Mexico, it turned its eye to the North.

The Taco Moves To The U.S

Upon arriving in the United States, the taco quickly associated itself with the Tex-Mex culture. The taco accompanied Mexican migrants that were working on mines and railroads as they entered the U.S. looking for work. Here, it became known as the street taco because Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine became known as “street food” or lower-class food. In fact, the previously mentioned Chili Queens who are given quite a bit of credit in regard to the origins of Tex-Mex and widespread Mexican cuisine. From the Chili Queens sprouted ideas for tamale push carts that then popped up in Southern California. These foods seemed exotic because of the association of danger that Mexico held, even back then. The Chili Queens and pushcarts offered a safe way to sample that little bit of danger, without actually having to experience it. It was exotic, it was exciting, it was delicious, it was the taco based cuisine personified, blazing a trail through the west like a road runner. This view of the exotic, nearly dangerous nature of Mexican food has carried into the modern day, with many thinking that it’s too exciting or spicy for their delicate taste buds.

Jumping In The Mainstream

Mexican food edged away from its exotic roots as the children of immigrants started rising in society. They were veterans, they’re claiming rights and are becoming citizens and with them, their customs are becoming more familiar to the general populace. The taco begins to alter slightly, looking more like the Tex-Mex version of itself. It consists of melty cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato, and ground beef now instead of its simple origins. Then Lebanese immigrants start to adjust the recipe of the taco. They adapt their shawarma recipes and instead of lamb on pita bread, try pork in a tortilla and then maybe throw a pineapple in with it. Suddenly tacos al pastor has surfaced alongside tacos arabes, standard Mexican dishes are changing and gaining variety and popularity in a new light.  

Franchising Tacos

There was once a man named Glen Bell, who everyone attributed with creating tacos, but if you’ve had real Tex-Mex from a place like Maudie’s, then you know that just can’t be true. However, he is attributed to pioneering the commercial taco. Instead of being pinned down close to the border, or rattling around in little push carts in plazas, the taco now had a true to form a business that could spread easily under its dominion. He started the franchise Taco Bell,  the first business name with the word “taco” in it. Obviously smaller businesses here and there sold tacos, but the word taco was how a non-Mexican would be sold a taco. Thus, this establishment was able to offer Mexican food to other ethnicities around the U.S.

If you’re now craving quality, zesty tacos like we are head over to Maudie’s Tex-Mex and have a margarita with a taco. Besides, would you rather have a nice wine paired with some sort of fish, or would you have the ultimate pairing? Everyone prefers a food that has transcended time and race to come to us 200 years later and make our lives better. Partake in a traditional Tacos Al Pastor or a Carnitas Taco and change your perspective on what food is supposed to be.

Can you believe there’s more history to the success of the taco? Join us next time to learn about the difference between a regular taco, and it’s distinguished brother, the soft shell street taco as well as the final steps of the journey from miners lunch box food to culinary greatness.

The Origins of Tex-Mex

We all know that Tex-Mex is the food group that people have waited for for centuries. It’s both comfort food and healthy, it’s simple and easy to make at home, and it’s delicious. We’d even go so far as to say nothing tastes quite like Tex-Mex—it’s spicy, it’s exciting, it’s enthralling. And yet, Tex-Mex has struggled to be regarded as a respected regional cuisine. Most people think of Tex-Mex as some sort of rip off of traditional Mexican food. This is a false assessment, however, as no one states that everyone who came after The Smiths ripped them off, even if they did. Tex-Mex is original, known for its roots in Native American and Spanish influences, and it’s marked by much more than a single influencing factor.

The Origins

The Native American roots of the cuisine are certainly something of note, as it’s one of the truly unique factors. As you may have guessed, Native Americans existed in the area where Texas is now for thousands of years. The first European settlers arrived in the early 1500s, and they stuck a flag in the ground to name the region a Spanish colony. Texas and Mexico were both part of a specific colony by the name of “New Spain.” In fact, the heavy use of cumin in Tex-Mex compared to Mexican is attributed to the Spanish roots of the cuisine. This is because of the Spanish bringing Moroccan workers to the San Antonio region, who brought an appreciation for cumin with them. Texas and Mexico remained linked in this same fashion until 1821, then they separated from Spain, and Texas won its independence from their union in 1845. Throughout their union and the years following, Tex-Mex was created and started to become the landmark cuisine that it is today.

It was first created by the Tejanos occupying post-independence Texas. The people that went by this name were the individuals of Mexican descent still living in Texas. The name is derivative of the nickname Texans gave them, “Tex-Mex”, which would go on to encompass the entire cuisine that they crafted.

The Food Innovations From Mexican Food

The Chili Queens lived in San Antonio in the 1880s and were known far and wide for their affordable, delicious food. They’d serve you a bowl of chili con carne with bread and water for a dime in the city plaza. And thus began widespread Tex-Mex success. The cuisine was capable of drawing tourists and locals like flies to honey—they all wanted a taste of the completely unique food. One of these tourists was a German man who had recently moved into the San Antonio area and  was struck by the simplicity of the recipes and decadent results. He was inspired and created his own brand of chili powder by the name of Gebhardt Eagle Chili Powder. It consisted of ground ancho chilies, cumin, oregano, and black pepper, and made Tex-Mex accessible in-home to the citizens of Texas.

Then came the combo plate, a beloved Tex-Mex standard. A man in Chicago started selling an entree alongside beans and rice; he called it “the regular”. Texas, of course, expanded on this principle and started offering sour cream, melted cheese, and guacamole on the side of their plates to add to and compliment the flavors already present. You’ll notice a similar menu item at Maudie’s Tex-Mex called “Regular Dinner” that includes a delicious beef taco, cheese enchiladas with chile con carne, diced onions, and that old familiar rice and beans.

Everyone’s favorite part of Tex-Mex, the nachos have a debatable origin story. According to some, a gaggle of military wives from Eagle Pass took a day trip to Coahuila in Mexico. They stopped at the old El Moderno (depending on the source, the place where this happened differs), where they were greeted by Ignacio Anaya, nicknamed “Nacho”. Since there was no one in the kitchen, Nacho decided to throw together a plate of corn chips topped with melted cheese and jalapeno. Obviously, the military wives were amazed at the result and started spreading the word about the amazing concoction which they dubbed “Nacho’s Especial.”  

Although the origins of these stay holds of Tex-Mex have been firmly established, people around the United States still regard things like chile con carne and nachos as just plain Mexican food. This changed in the 70s when Diana Kennedy turned Tex-Mex into its own, distinctive cuisine. She drew a line in the sand in her cookbook between Mexican food and Tex-Mex. Although many were insulted by the way she described Tex-Mex at the time, she is regarded as the one who chose to differentiate the two cuisines.     

Enjoy Some Tex-Mex

If you’re interested in partaking in authentic Tex-Mex cuisine, then you need Maudie’s Tex-Mex. Our plates are carefully crafted to stay true to our origins while enhancing the flavors and tastes we’re all so familiar with. Try our delicious fajitas or unparalleled taco plates that will surely satisfy your hunger and your expectations. Or give some of our incredible takes on the traditional Nachos Especial, including our fajita nachos and our Nachos Supreme with savory beans, melted, gooey cheese, and chunky fresh guacamole.

After all, when you’re eating Tex-Mex, it’s not just food—it’s a slice of Texas history. You’re partaking in a unique Texas forged food full of the same amount of individuality as Texas itself. Come and celebrate food and our richly furnished home state.