How to Make Healthier Baked Chicken Flautas
I am a recipe collector. My main focus is finding recipes that are "classics" and then revamping them to make them healthier.
Not that I am a food snob by any means—I just like to make sure I'm creating food at home for the most part that is a healthier version of something that we love to eat.
I was fairly skeptical about this recipe that I found on Cooks.com because I could not believe that you could truly achieve a great flauta without deep-frying it—or at the very least, pan-frying it!
However, with a little revamping on my own, I have found that this recipe is not only quick and easy, but it is absolutely delicious. It is definitely a healthier version of a tried and true Latin American dish.
- Canola or olive oil (or vegetable spray)
- 3 whole chicken breasts split, boned, skinned
- 1 cup picante sauce
- 4 tablespoons or more chopped green onion
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 8 (7-8 inch) flour tortillas, heated
- 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese (use lower fat/lower calorie cheese)
- Heat oven to 350 degrees to heat tortillas.
- Heat tortillas while chicken is cooking. Stack or wrap in foil. Heat in 350-degree oven for about 15 minutes. (OR heat tortillas in microwave: wrap stack loosely in paper towels. Cook on high heat for about 1/2 to 1 minute.)
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a large cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with vegetable spray.
- Pound chicken to 1/2 inch thickness. Brush with oil; then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over hot coals about 6-8 minutes or until just cooked through, turn once partway through.
- Cut chicken into 1/4-inch strips/slices. Combine chicken, picante sauce, green onion and cumin. Mix well.
- Spoon about 1/2 cup chicken mixture down the center of warmed tortillas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of cheese on top.
- Roll tightly. Place seam-side down on the pan. Secure each flauta with 1 toothpick to hold together.
- Lightly spray with cooking spray or brush with olive or canola oil lightly.
- Cook 18-20 minutes or until crisp. Remove toothpicks.
- Serve with guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, and salsa or picante sauce.
Suggested Substitutions and Additions
No recipe would become one of my favorites if I couldn't mess with it! I've already found the following things are great changes or additions.
By the way, the recipe did not call for spraying the tops of the flautas or brushing on a little oil, but I found it made them crispier that way.
- Use thin corn tortillas instead
- I used homemade pico de gallo instead of picante sauce
- I used thick, thick, thick picante sauce!
- Use leftover shredded turkey instead of chicken breast
- Use shredded beef instead of chicken breast
- Substitute mashed black beans for the meat
- Substitute mashed pinto beans for the meat
- Use shredded pork roast for the chicken breast
- Try shrimp, other shellfish or another firm white fish
- Top flautas with red or green enchilada sauce
- Substitute fontina or other cheeses for the cheddar or Monterey Jack
A great presentation for serving flautas is to cut them in half and then put salsa, guacamole or salsa in the center in a small mound or small bowl. Fan out the flautas in a star shape around the center (see photo below).
Summing It Up
Flautas are a great dinner menu item. Serve them with fresh cooked pinto or black beans cooked whole (rancho beans) and homemade Spanish rice! You'll have a hit for a meal.
They also make a fantastic appetizer. Make smaller ones or cut into halves or thirds and stack up. Watch them disappear!
This recipe is so simple that I made it up in about 10 minutes flat. I cooked the chicken breast on a George Foreman grill and it took just a few minutes to be perfectly grilled.
Shredded meats of any kind or beans are equally good in this dish just as substituting thin corn tortillas worked great.
In short, let your imagination be your guide and enjoy!
This is one super easy fix to an already delicious snack or dinner menu item. It has definitely become one of my favorite healthy recipes.