Shredded chicken tacos with crunchy coleslaw

Some say the taco craze is winding down but I beg to differ. There’s something so fun about piling tasty toppings on a fresh tortilla and then devouring it in just a few gloriously messy bites. I love the layering of flavours that you can achieve with tacos – spicy, sweet, salty and sour. Until a few weeks ago, I had never attempted to make my own (gluten-free) corn tortillas; now that I have knocked them off my culinary bucket list, there’s no going back. I just might have to invest in a tortilla press, because I suspect Taco Tuesdays might be turning into Taco Thursdays as well. This recipe was inspired by one in the Winter 2015 issue of Food & Drink magazine. You can make the shredded chicken filling ahead of time – it freezes beautifully. The coleslaw, which offers a nice cooling touch in contrast to the spicy chicken, is best eaten within 24 hours of preparation and the tortillas should be cooked right before serving if making them from scratch.

Chicken cooked in a simple, flavourful sauce, then topped with crisp, lime-flavoured coleslaw makes for some mighty tasty tacos.

Chicken cooked in a simple, flavourful sauce, then topped with crisp, lime and yogurt-dressed coleslaw makes for some mighty tasty tacos.


Shredded Chicken

  • 3 tablespoons (45 mL) canola oil
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.25 lbs / 525 g)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 – 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped (these add the heat so adjust to your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) ground cumin
  • 1 cup (250 mL) canned diced tomatoes and their liquid
  • 1 cup (250 mL) beer (I chose a mild-flavoured ale but you could also try a darker beer for some interesting flavour notes)

Crunchy coleslaw

  • 3 cups (750 mL) finely shredded green cabbage (about half a regular sized head of cabbage)
  • ½ large red pepper, slivered
  • ½ cup (125 mL) unflavoured Greek yogurt
  • Grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon (15 mL) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon (1.25 mL) each salt and pepper


  • Heat 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the oil on medium heat, in a medium sized, heavy duty pot (a Dutch oven is great for this).
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown it, a few pieces at a time, in the hot oil. Remove the chicken when it is browned on both sides and set on a clean plate.
  • Reduce heat to medium low and add the remaining tablespoon (15 mL) of oil and the onions to the pan; cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, chipotle peppers, oregano and cumin. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and beer; stir to combine and turn heat up so that the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Return the chicken and any juice that has accumulated on the plate to the pot, using a spoon to snuggle the chicken pieces down into the liquid. Reduce heat so it is just simmering and put a lid on the pot.
  • Cook over low heat for about 35 – 40 minutes, or until chicken is tender and falling apart.
  • While chicken is cooking, combine the yogurt with the lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper to make the dressing for the coleslaw.
  • Put the cabbage and red peppers in a bowl, drizzle dressing over top and toss to combine well. Refrigerate until serving time.
  • With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pot to a cutting board.
  • Turn up the heat on the pot and remove the lid so the mixture will reduce slightly as it cooks for 5 minutes.
  • Shred the chicken using two forks and then return the meat to the pot.
  • To serve, place warm tortillas on a platter or individual serving plates.
  • With a slotted spoon, top with some of the chicken mixture, then add a heaping spoonful of coleslaw.
  • Garnish each taco with a few cilantro leaves and serve with a lime wedge.

Serves 4 – 6.

About Paula Roy

Welcome to my kitchen! I play with words and with food. I love simple dishes prepared with passion and am always seeking to find new methods to make food as fun and flavourful as possible. I'm also an enthusiastic explorer of faraway lands and cuisines.
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2 Responses to Shredded chicken tacos with crunchy coleslaw

  1. Janice Saunders says:

    Hi Paula, Happy New Year! I hope you had a great holiday. Thank you so much for posting all of these great recipes and your wonderful comments. They definitely give me inspiration for dinner time when it is very hard to find anything to feed my gang. Thank you and keep them coming!

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