Chicken Carne Asada Tacos with Pickled Onions


I love a good taco – in fact, I often crave a good taco.  Not one with a crunchy shell, but one with a deliciously soft corn tortilla that is stuffed with shredded chicken or pork, a fresh tomato salsa made with cilantro, and to top it off a delicious dollop of guacamole made with fresh avocado.  Even just chunks of avocado will do just fine.

The best tacos are usually found at the taco trucks, although I have to say I had one of the best tacos in my life in Los Angeles at the Farmer’s Market.  Thinking about them right now makes me want to get on an airplane and go straight there.   Lately we have been having taco night more and more, now that my kids are getting into it.  They love all the bowls of condiments I put on the table – and the fact that they can pick and choose, and basically make their own dinner.

I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, and I had to give it a try.  What interested me the most were the pickled onions – and they were a fantastic addition to the tacos.  They were sweet, yet tangy and crunchy – they went so well with the avocado and chicken, and that warm corn tortilla that it was wrapped in.  The recipe made a lot of pickled onions, so you will have plenty left-over to enjoy in other ways – like on salad or just grilled chicken.  I need a taco!


  • 1/2  cup  fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
  • 1/3  cup  fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1  teaspoon  sugar
  • 1  teaspoon  cumin seeds
  • 1  medium red onion, thinly vertically sliced
  • 1 1/2  pounds  skinless, boneless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into thin strips
  • 1  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 3/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 8  (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 1  cup  diced peeled avocado (about 1 avocado)
  • 1/2  cup  (2 ounces) crumbled Cotija cheese
  • Lime wedges (optional)


Combine first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring until sugar dissolves. Place onion in a small saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; drain and plunge onion in ice water. Drain onion; add to juice mixture. Chill until ready to serve.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Sprinkle chicken with oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper; toss to coat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 4 minutes or until browned and done, stirring occasionally.

Heat tortillas according to package directions. Divide chicken evenly among tortillas. Drain onion; divide evenly among tortillas. Top each tortilla with 2 tablespoons avocado and 1 tablespoon cheese; fold over. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chicken Carne Asada Tacos with Pickled Onions

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