“Hidden-Veggie” Saucy Chicken Taco Filling will please any palate. Adding beans and chopped veggies to chicken taco meat not only stretches the meat but it adds protein and rich saucy flavor to chicken taco night. You’ll want to make a double batch of this saucy chicken taco filling for nights when you need a quick and easy meal from the freezer. Read on to find my slightly sneaky tips for hiding veggies from your pickiest eaters!
- 1 lb. chicken thighs
- 1 bell pepper- chopped
- 1 small onion- chopped
- 2-4 cloves garlic- finely chopped
- 1 can chili beans- drained
- 1 C bone or vegetable broth
- 2 T. chili powder
- 1 t. Salt
- 1/2 t. ground black pepper
- 1 T. oregano
- 1 t. cumin
- Sourdough, corn or flour tortillas, nacho chips or over cooked rice
- Add lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, salsa, avocado, black olives, whatever you have on hand!
- Heat 2-3 tablespoons oil in a cast-iron skillet on Medium/High heat.
- Once heated, add the chicken thighs to sear them on all sides.
- While the chicken sears, chop the onion, garlic, and bell pepper to a small dice.
- Once the chicken is browned on both sides, you can remove it to a plate and set it aside. It does not need to be fully cooked at this point.
- After removing the chicken, reduce the heat of the pan to medium. Add in the chopped veggies and saute in the oil and chicken fat.
- Once the veggies are softened, add in the taco seasoning mix and stir to combine.
- Place the chicken back into the pan and add the beans and broth.
- Stir together, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove the seared bits.
- Lid the pan and reduce to a slow simmer for 20-25 minutes. It can go longer if you like.
- After simmering, shred the chicken with 2 forks, mix with the sauce and serve.
* I use the same "Taco Seasoning" mixture anytime I'm preparing Mexican style food like taco meat, nachos, etc. It's simple to whip up a large batch of this if you'd like to keep it on hand at all times.
* Adding beans to the protein really stretches the meal. Instead of ending up with a skimpy pan of chicken, you'll end up with a big pan of taco "filling" that your family will love. Also, it's easy to sneak veggies into a "filling". 😉 More on that in my TIPS below!
* This recipe is a great one to batch cook in advance. When you have the chicken taco filling on hand everyone can choose how they want to enjoy it. For example, I eat mine in toasty corn tortillas with lettuce and cheese. My son loves to make a burrito with a big flour tortilla and all his yummy toppings. My husband is into nachos so he'll add his to chips and cheese. This filling is super versatile!
* This recipe freezes very well. Make a double or triple batch, divide it into 2-3 freezer containers or bags. Cool completely before freezing.
* After the chicken and beans have simmered, I usually go through with a fork and mash some of the beans to thicken the sauce a bit.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 399Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 1109mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 6gSugar: 5gProtein: 25g
Tips for hiding veggies:
Maybe you have only moderately picky people like me. For me, that means, no large chunks of vegetables, tomatoes, etc. should be seen in the food. However, small and not-crunchy veggies are mostly tolerated by my teens and husband. That means it’s not terribly hard for me to get some veggies in them by dicing things very finely, cooking them well, and crossing my fingers for luck.
On the other hand, some of you I’m sure have littles or just more profoundly picky eaters in your home. In that case, you get more creative.
For this recipe that means you’ll want to blend the sauce before simmering it with the chicken. Remember too that you must be covert in chopping the veggies as well, lest your people turn their nose up before you even serve them dinner! (Ask me how I know…) 😉
I love my immersion blender for this type of blending. It takes most of the mess out of blending something and makes it SO fast. I’ll link to the little stick blender that I use. It’s a lifesaver!
How I serve Hidden-Veggie Saucy Chicken Taco Filling
This taco filling is super versatile. Consider making a double-batch so that you can store it in the freezer for later.
I have served this in several ways. Personally, I almost exclusively go for charred corn tortillas because I’m basic that way. However, it’s excellent as a burrito, crunchy taco, topping for a taco salad, nachos, a rice bowl… I think I could go on and on!
Before you begin, don’t forget to gather up your favorite fresh taco toppings for serving. Here are some of my favorites:
- shredded cheese
- avocado slices
- pickled or fresh jalapeno slices
- shredded lettuce
- chopped tomatoes
- sliced black olives
- sour cream
- fresh cilantro leaves
Find more OHL Recipes here.
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