This baked chicken taquitos recipe might not be exactly like your traditional, authentic kind. But we want to show you that food can be made healthier and eating healthy does not have to be bland or boring. Imagine that!
What are taquitos?
“Taquito” (pronunciation: /ta’kito/) literally translates to “small taco” in Spanish. It is a type of Mexican food made by wrapping the desired filling inside a small corn tortilla. The filling can be beef or chicken and cheese. Traditionally, the stuffed tortilla rolls are deep-fried.
You can pair taquitos with other popular Mexican side dishes such as pico de gallo, guacamole, and queso fresco or sour cream to add more depth of flavor (or if you fancy, a little bit of everything!)
There are variations of taquitos where the filling contains drained black beans, vegan meat, and vegan cheese, making the dish plant-based and vegan-friendly.
Side note: if you love Mexican food, check out our healthy chicken carnitas recipe or visit our recipes section for more. You won’t be disappointed!
Are taquitos healthy?
I wouldn’t say that they are. Traditionally, to make taquitos, you will deep-fry them. It is a cooking method that requires submerging food in hot oil to cook until it is crispy. By doing so, the food absorbs a significant amount of fat, thus increasing its calorie content. Eating deep-fried foods can increase your fat and calorie intake tremendously.
Another thing to keep in mind is that fried foods are often cooked in highly processed oils. When heated to high temperatures, the chemical structure of fats in these oils changes and forms trans fats. Deep-fried foods are more likely to contain trans fat, and eating them can lead to a number of health problems and increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, cancer, etc.
“So does that mean we should stop eating fried food in general?” you may wonder.
Not quite. Fortunately, with some food, baking gives relatively the same results as frying. You can still get that crispiness without the excessive amount of trans fats and the potential health problems.
So, to answer the question, we’d say: taquitos can be made healthy. The recipe below is made to be as beneficial for your health as possible. But before you start cooking, here’s a quick folding lesson.
How Do You Fold A Taquito?
The proper technique in making a taquito should be “rolling”. Here’s how to roll a taquito:
- Place a tortilla sheet on a cutting board.
- Scoop a generous amount of your chosen filling and put it on top of the tortilla.
- Spread the filling horizontally on the bottom half of the tortilla.
- Pull the bottom end of the tortilla over the filling and roll it up tightly into a cigar shape. Place the taquito on a baking pan, seam side down, and repeat.
Pro tip: if your taquitos cannot hold their shape, try using egg whites as glue to keep them intact.
One thing to keep in mind while making taquitos is to warm up your tortillas beforehand. Keep them warm and covered in a clean kitchen towel so that they won’t dry out or crack when you roll them. Also, don’t freak out when your first taquito cracks or falls apart. It takes a few practice runs to get them nice and uniform.
Chicken Taquitos Recipe
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 8 oz onions finely diced
- 2 tsp unsalted chili powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 12 oz skinless boneless chicken breast ground
- 5.3 oz zucchini grated
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 oz cheddar cheese grated
- 8 6-inch corn tortillas
- 1.5 oz Mozzarella cheese grated
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley optional
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Heat up a large skillet over medium heat. Add unsalted butter and onions. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chili powder and ground cumin; mix in with the onions. Add chicken and salt. Break down the chicken chunks into small pieces with a spoon or heat-proof spatula. Cook for 4 minutes. Add zucchini and mix in with the chicken. Cook for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Place tortilla sheets on a baking tray, overlapping one another. Bake for 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover with a dampened kitchen towel.
- Set up a work station: put a cutting board right in front of you. Place the tortillas, chicken mixture, and 2 bowls of grated Mozzarella and cheddar cheese around the cutting board. Have a baking dish right next to you.
- Roll the taquitos: take one tortilla sheet and put it on the cutting board. Spread 3 heaping tablespoons of the chicken mixture on the tortilla. Sprinkle the 2 types of cheese on top. Roll the tortilla into a cigar shape and place it on the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Brush with olive oil and bake for about 15 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle chopped parsley to garnish.
- You may want to work quickly when you fold the taquitos because corn tortillas dry out very fast. A good tip to keep them from hardening is to cover them with a dampened kitchen towel.
- If they do dry out, however, you can sprinkle a bit of water on them and bake for 1 minute to make them pliable again.