Love tacos but don’t love the shells? Make these Taco-Less Tacos with fresh tomatillo sauce poured over lean shredded chicken and a healthy dose of shredded purple and green cabbage. This dish not only provides the protein you need to support working muscles, but it is also packed with antioxidants found in fresh tomatillos, healthy oils from avocados and vitamins from the centerpiece of the recipe: cabbage.
Unlike its less nutrient-rich cousin: iceberg lettuce, cabbage is filled with fiber and high amounts of vitamin C. Cabbage is also a good source of vitamin A, naturally fat free and super low in calories. Because of its high fiber content, cabbage is great for filling you up when you are getting into top “bikini” shape, need to drop a few extra pounds and are looking to stay on track without blowing it on high fat or late night snacks. Simply said, you will feel fuller, longer and guilt-free!
Often the overlooked vegetable, cabbage is versatile and easy to use. Steam it, sauté it or shred it and enjoy raw as in the accompanying recipe and season with a variety of flavors such as lemon and spices. Incorporate chopped cabbage into traditional greens for an extra crunchy vitamin and mineral change up to simple salads and discover why cabbage is the new re-discovered “it” green for spring.
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
½ cup plus ¼ cup water
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 yellow or white onions, diced
1 package taco seasoning such as McCormick’s
8 whole tomatillos, husks removed
1 avocado, sliced, seed discarded
½ cup nonfat sour cream
1 large bunch of fresh cilantro, large stems removed, plus ½ cup diced cilantro leaves
1 pinch cayenne pepper (about 1/8 teaspoon)
Juice of ½ lemon
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
½ head of purple cabbage, shredded
½ head of green cabbage, shredded
6 purple or green cabbage leaves for serving or to use as a taco “wrap”
4 Roma or hot house tomatoes, seeded and diced
1. Prepare the chicken by poaching in a saucepan over medium heat by combining the chicken breasts and ½ cup water in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat and cover with lid. Poach chicken until cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes, adding water in ¼ cup increments, if needed to prevent drying. Once chicken is cooked through, set aside to cool.
2. Once chicken is cooled, shred (using pulse mode) in a food processor, or do it by hand, chopping chicken finely using a chef knife.
3. In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add one of the diced onions and sauté about 1 minute. Add shredded chicken, remaining ¼ cup of water and taco seasoning and mix together until well combined and all is heated through. Set aside.
4. Separately, place tomatillos in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover the tomatillos. Add remaining diced onion and the bunch of cilantro (reserve the chopped leaves for serving). Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Drain but reserve 1 cup of the liquid. Working in batches, puree tomatillo, onion and cilantro with ¼ cup of the liquid, avocado, sour cream, cayenne pepper and lemon juice until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add additional reserved liquid only if necessary to thin out mixture.
5. In a separate bowl, toss together the purple and green shredded cabbage.
6. To serve, place whole (or half a leaf) cabbage leaf in a serving bowl. Top with 1 cup of shredded cabbage, ¼ cup of shredded chicken mixture, 2 to 3 tablespoons of tomatillo sauce, 1 to 2 tablespoons diced onion, and a pinch or two of chopped fresh cilantro leaves. Enjoy!