chicken flautas & roasted corn salad
30 minutes to a weeknight fiesta
Click here for the WTC recipe index and scroll to the bottom of this post for a printer-friendly PDF of today’s recipe!
Cinco de Mayo is this Thursday — so we had to let Mexico inspire our recipe this week! As we all likely know by now, Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that we celebrate in the United States that they actually don’t even really acknowledge in Mexico. It gets a bad rap as a day when a bunch of ding dong Americans get tequila-drunk while wearing culturally exploitative sombreros — so let’s nix that, eh?
Sometimes you just need a reason to feel festive and excited, ya know? And I think that’s what Cinco de Mayo can be for all of us. An excuse to respectfully celebrate a culture and cuisine that we love so, so much.
Flautas are one of my favorite simple weeknight meals — my kids LOVE THEM. We call them baby burritos and they get demolished every single time. I shared these chipotle black bean flautas last April, so be sure to check those out if you’re a new subscriber. If you’re serving meat lovers and vegetarians, cook both! Don’t worry about having too many — flautas make the best leftovers. Just let them cool after cooking, pop them into a Ziploc, and freeze them!
chicken flautas & roasted corn salad
1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1/4 cup sour cream (or cream cheese or plain yogurt)
3 tablespoons salsa verde
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped, divided (you’ll use half for the flautas, half for the salad)
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Kosher salt (optional)
8 to 10 (8-inch) flour tortillas
Roasted Corn Salad:
4 ears of corn, shucked
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1 large avocado, cubed
Juice of 1 large lime
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Big pinch of kosher salt
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons salsa verde
Big pinch of salt
Alright team, if we work efficiently, we’re going to have a weeknight fiesta on the table in less than 30 minutes! Let’s do this.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken, 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese, 1/4 sour cream, 3 tablespoons salsa verde, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, and 1/4 teaspoon chili powder. We’re not adding salt yet because different rotisserie chickens and salsa brands have such different sodium levels.
Mix it all together and take a little nibble. Is it delicious? If so, proceed. Does it need a little more oomph? Stir in some salt and maybe some more chili powder, if you’re into that! Keep seasoning until it’s delicious.
Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture down the center of a tortilla, then roll it tightly and place it seam-side down onto the baking sheet. Repeat until all of the chicken filling is gone. Place 4 ears of corn on the baking sheet as well, then spray everything with cooking spray.
Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the flautas and corn and cook for an additional 3 to 6 minutes, until the flautas are golden and crispy all over and the corn is crisp-tender. Honestly, I skip this flipping step a lot of the time. They’re not crispy on the bottom, but no one ever seems to mind.
Meanwhile, let’s made the salad. In a pretty serving bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes, 1 large cubed avocado, the juice of 1 large lime, the remaining 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, and 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Set it aside.
Now let’s make the crema verde dipping sauce. In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons salsa verde, and a big pinch of salt. This should be very simple and delicious. If it’s not, add more salsa verde and perhaps a splash of lime juice or vinegar.
When the flautas and corn finish cooking, cut the corn off the cob (as soon as it’s cool enough to handle) and stir the kernels into the bowl of tomatoes and avocado. Add a big pinch of salt and stir gently to combine. Taste. Want it tangier? Add more lime juice or a splash of vinegar. Want it a bit creamier? Add more oil. And, of course, salt and pepper always do the trick!
Enjoy your flautas and roasted corn salad!
My favorite salsa verdes: The Hatch Valley Salsa Verde from TJ’s — but it’s spicy, so don’t do this one if you’re feeding spice wimps. I also love TJ’s plain Salsa Verde. My fave grocery store brand is La Victoria.
Vegetarian: Use 1 1/2 cups drained and rinsed black (or pinto!) beans in place of the chicken. Smash them up a bit so that they really absorb the salsa verde. You might also end up wanting to add a bit more salsa verde for more flavor. Alternatively, click here for a vegetarian flautas recipe I wrote last year.
Make ahead: Assemble the flautas and make the crema ahead of time, then bake them right before dinner. You’ll want to wait to make the salad just before you eat so that your avocado doesn’t turn brown, but you can shuck the corn ahead of time too.
What to cook when you really don’t feel like cooking: Skip the salad, and just serve roasted corn with butter, lime juice, and salt. Or if you want to make the salad, you can skip roasted fresh corn and just warm up a bag of frozen corn and use that — no shucking necessary! Another small hack: Buy pre-minced cilantro. If you do that and use frozen corn, it’ll be a no-chop situation.
Leftovers are a great thing: I just had leftover corn salad with leftover rotisserie chicken and goat cheese on top, with a drizzle of balsamic glaze, and goodness gracious it was heavenly. Flautas are also a perfect freezer meal, so just store those leftovers in a Ziploc after they’ve cooled. Reheat on a baking sheet in a 400°F oven for 10 to 15 minutes. If you have leftover flautas in the fridge, reheat them in the oven at 400°F for 5 to 10 minutes, they’ll crisp right back up!
Dairy-free: Use df sour cream in lieu of the regular sour cream. Either use your favorite non-dairy cheese OR omit the cheese and add a cup of refried beans to the chicken mixture for some creaminess and flavor.
Gluten-free: Corn tortillas work, but they’re more likely to break in the oven. To help prevent that, wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave for 45 seconds, or until very pliable. Roll and proceed, but know that a couple might crack! No biggie — still delicious.
Rotisserie chicken: You can put just about any meat in a flauta! Cooked ground beef, carnitas, and steak would all be great. See the “vegetarian” note above for plant-based protein swaps.
Shredded Mexican cheese: Pepper Jack, Jack, cheddar… pretty much any shredded — or freshly grated — cheese would be delish.
Sour cream: For the flautas: Cream cheese or plain yogurt would be best. Plain Greek yogurt would be fine, if it’s what you have. For the crema: Plain yogurt, OR if you have extra avocado, you could smash it up, add a big squirt of lime juice, a pinch of salt, and some chopped cilantro for a very simple and delicious guacamole to dip with instead!
Salsa verde: Tomatillo sauce/salsa or any other type of salsa
Fresh cilantro: It won’t taste quite as *fresh* without it but omit if you need to!
Chili powder: Taco seasoning, cumin, or paprika
Flour tortillas: You can use corn, but be sure to properly warm them before rolling (see “gluten-free” note above for how to do that). Almond flour tortillas, such as Siete or the TJ’s brand, will work well too!
Cooking spray: If you don’t have any spray, just drizzle some oil on top and rub it in with your fingers. Aim for oil that has a high smoke point like olive oil, grapeseed, or avocado oil (not EVOO).
Corn on the cob: Frozen corn! Just warm it according to package directions.
Cherry tomatoes: You can chop up big tomatoes, especially if you’re cooking this a few months from now when they’re in season. Or omit and make it a corn + avo salad instead.
Lime juice: Any light-colored vinegar
EVOO: Olive oil or another oil you like the taste of