Tocaya Organica offers a healthy spin on Mexican cuisine

By Dena Roché

Tocaya Organica offers a healthy spin on Mexican cuisine

So much Mexican cuisine in Arizona is an Americanized version dripping with yellow cheese. Not authentic and not healthy. Tocaya Organica changes all that with a healthy spin on this popular ethnic eat.

The fast-casual concept opened its first Arizona location at Kierland Commons late last year. The menu uses traditional Mexican recipes prepared with locally sourced, organic ingredients. Vegans, vegetarians and gluten-free diners will find plenty of options, while the menu also offers grass-fed meats, free-range chicken and fish that is never frozen.

The menu features bowls, salads, tacos and burritos and allows diners to choose their favorite protein and queso to add to each.

Tocaya Venice Bowl

On a recent visit I tried the Venice Bowl, a healthy concoction of sweet potato bravas, lentils, roasted cauliflower, pickled onions with a cilantro-curry sauce. I added the achiote chicken, an orange spice marinated chopped grilled chicken breast to round out the dish. My friend opted for the Fajita Del Rey, one of the most popular dishes on the menu. The bowl is comprised of sautéed poblano peppers and onions, cilantro lime rice, and black beans with a vegan chipotle crema, guacamole and pico de gallo. She added the chicken tinga, shredded chicken breast stewed with chipotle en adobo, tomatoes, onions and pasilla chiles and topped with a queso fresco.

I was impressed by the many flavors and textures in the dish. I don’t normally like Mexican food, but I’m sold on this healthier version. Other popular menu items include the shredded kale and quinoa salad, barrio taco and Mexicana burrito. The Keto Bowl with Spanish-style cauliflower rice, sautéed tri-color peppers, avocado, sautéed garlic brussels sprouts with roma tomatoes, black olives, and arbol salsa, debuts next week.

In addition to the two types of chicken, other protein choices are; carne asada, carne molida, turkey picante, halibut and vegan picadillo. Queso options besides the traditional fresco are; queso manchego, jalapeno jack, vegan mozzarella and a vegan chipotle jack.

Unlike many fast-casual concepts, Tocaya Organica serves margaritas, wine and beer in addition to Agua Frescas and fresh juices.

The restaurant’s décor is bright, casual and comfortable. Phoenix-based Porter Barn Wood hand-crafted the tabletops. A large outdoor patio boasts fire pits and seating for 85.

Another location outside the new luxury wing at Scottsdale Fashion Square is slated to open later this year.