After my daughter suddenly stopped wanting to eat our regular Tuesday enchiladas, I needed to change things up on our Mexican dinner nights. I know that she doesn't always love chunks of veggies mixed into her meat, so I decided to slow cook chicken in a flavorful sauce. This way, we'd all still get the vitamins and fiber I was after, but without any of the drama.
This slow cooker recipe is easy to put together and it makes enough for some leftovers the following day if you have a smaller family. It's exactly the type of thing that I like to cook during the week since there is so little hands on time. (You can even chop the veggies on the weekend when you have more time and let them hang out in the fridge in an airtight container until the day you're ready to make this if you want!) The sauce sort of reminds me of enchilada sauce, but thicker and with more veggies packed in. We serve this to L as deconstructed tacos so she can easily eat the meal and my husband and I like it as regular tacos—or over a whole grain like brown rice or quinoa.
Now, I can't say that this dinner will be mess-free since the sauce will likely get all over the place, but I do think that it's one of those times when it's totally worth the mess.
Veggie-Packed Slow Cooker Chicken and Bean Tacos
The combination of vegetables listed below delivers really nice flavor and consistency to the sauce, but if you want to simplify, I'd suggest keeping the onion, carrot, and sweet potato and omitting the bell pepper.
Serves about 6
- 2 cups diced veggies such as onion, carrot, red/yellow/orange bell pepper, and/or sweet potato
- 3/4 cup mild salsa
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 lb chicken thighs
- 2 cups (or one 14.5 ounce can) garbanzo, black, or pinto beans
- Tortillas, cheese, salsa, avocado for serving
- Add the vegetables, salsa, cumin, and salt to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Spread the chicken thighs over the top in a single layer. Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours.
- Remove chicken, set aside on a plate, and shred with 2 forks. Puree the vegetable mixture with an immersion blender or by transferring to a regular blender. Return to the slow cooker with the chicken. Add the beans and stir to combine. Cover and let sit on warm until ready to serve.
Skip the beans, reduce the salsa to 1/2 cup and make this with just chicken. (It will serve slightly less people this way.)
Use chicken tenders instead of thighs.
Serve over rice or quinoa as taco bowls.