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Crispy Shell Tacos with Shredded Chicken, Avocado + Slaw

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
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Why we love it:

Taking the extra step of oven-frying soft corn tortillas with the filling inside is so worth it for a special twist on tacos. It ends up feeling like a simple way to make taquitos without having to set up a frying station. I highly recommend making extras because these hold up well in the fridge and are simple to reheat in a toaster oven.


  • 2 cups Chicken (cooked and shredded - see substitutions for info)
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 12 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 112 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 15-ounce can Pinto Beans
  • 2 cups Monterey Jack Cheese (or cheddar, or Mexican blend)
  • 12 Corn Tortillas (6 inch “regular” size)
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil (divided)
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
  • 12 head Green Cabbage
  • 12 teaspoon White Sugar
  • 1 Lime (zest and juice)
  • 1 Avocado
  • 14 cup Sour Cream

Cooking Instructions


    Place one of the racks near the bottom 3rd of the oven.


    Place the shredded cooked chicken in a bowl. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano and ½ of the salt. If needed, add a teaspoon or so of water to help the spices coat the chicken well.

  • 3. BEANS

    Drain the beans and use a fork to coarsely mash them up. Fold into the chicken mixture.

    If needed grate the cheese.


    Lay out the tortillas on a work surface and evenly divide the filling onto each, focusing on half of the tortilla. Top with cheese then fold over and press pretty firmly so it sticks. If your tortillas feel dry or seem like they’ll crack, warm them for about 25 - 60 seconds in the oven before filling. Older tortillas will be drier.

    Generously rub each taco with canola oil and place on an unlined, rimmed baking sheet. You really want a good amount of oil, don’t skimp. Dot with butter, even underneath the tortillas. You might need 2 pans or make 2 batches.

  • 5. BAKE

    Place in the oven on the bottom rack. Bake for about 6 - 8 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown. Flip and bake for another 5 - 6 minutes until the second side is very golden and crunchy.

    If you have a second pan, repeat cooking instructions. Don’t try to cook the second pan on a higher oven rack or they won’t get golden brown quickly enough.

  • 6. CABBAGE

    Meanwhile, remove the core from the cabbage and finely shred it. Place in a large bowl. In a small bowl, place the sugar, a ½ teaspoon or so of salt, and add the zest and juice of the lime and about 1 teaspoon of oil. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Pour over the cabbage and gently massage it to coat and start to help wilt the cabbage.

  • 7. SERVING

    Serve the tacos with cabbage slaw, sliced avocado and a dollop of sour cream, to taste.

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    use your favorite DF cheese or just leave it out
    a little dollop of garlic herb goat cheese will be amazing, really creamy and perfect texture
    if you didn’t make chicken stock for the soup this week you will need chicken. OPTION 1 - sauté ground turkey or chicken with the spices listed to make a ground filling OPTION 2 - use rotisserie chicken and shred it OPTION 3- finely dice a chicken breast and sauté it with the spices listed OPTION 4 - poach 1 pound chicken breast or boneless thighs, just covered with water, until cooked - then cool and shred. Proceed with the recipe
    hredded beef or pork would obviously be delicious. I think you could do this with flaked fish or shrimp too, but I haven’t tried it
    also great with black beans. If allergic, omit beans, possibly add more chicken or cheese, or don’t, they can just be thinner

Kid Friendly Version

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • adjust filling for kids. I’ve folded cooked rice into these as my kids love rice, bean and cheese filling. Or you can leave the components separate for them to make their own tacos if they prefer rolling it up or putting the avocado inside. Serve with steamed broccoli or green beans if you need a veggie

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Make the chicken filling, with or without beans at this point
  2. Prep the cabbage mixture and the dressing but don’t toss them together for more than 36 hours or it will wilt too much
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