I have mentioned before, we LOVE Mexican food in this house.
Or really…ANY Mexican food…100% of the time.
And usually it is at least HALF of their allotted request list! I’ve taken to letting them know that I do indeed get it…no need to include any Mexican food in their requests…I already KNOW!!
What is a chimichanga?
These gluten free baked chicken chimichangas are basically our tacos (and all our versions thereof!!), made into a crunchy burrito!
Officially, and traditionally, they are a flour tortilla filled with any assortment of beans and meat, then crisped up to deep fried perfection in a vat of hot oil.
I LOVE chimis, but there is no way you will ever find me deep frying: a BIG hassle! It uses SO much oil (and healthy fats like coconut and avocado that I would fry in are expensive!). Plus, I am more interested in a lighter chimichanga….one a bit healthier!
So how do you create an extra crunchy, crisp exterior without the deep fryer?
I’ll teach you!!
Consider this oven baked chimichanga recipe a technique lesson and do all the fillings of your own choosing!
Baked beef chimichanga and additional filling ideas:
Your fillings can be whatever you want, but THIS time, I used my Spanish rice recipe, my refried bean recipe, and some rotisserie chicken that needed to be used up.
I have also made this with ground beef taco filling a gazillion times too..
These are some additional taco meats we rotate through:
Baked chicken chimichanga prep time note:
It’s also noteworthy that this meal usually takes me about 30-45 minutes (depending on how many garnishes I prepare and how many times I scramble to find another exciting wooden spoon for the baby to chew on!)
It looks like a lot, but it’s really not so bad (but it WILL use a lot of pots!).
And once the chimichangas are in the oven, you have time to clean up before dinner!
And if you are reusing leftover taco ingredients, prep time is cut in half!
How do you store unused tomato paste?
To save unused tomato paste for another use, I open both ends of the can with a can opener. I then push ONE lid all the way through to the other side to deposit to whole cylinder of paste onto a piece of waiting plastic wrap or parchment paper, roll it up and finally, freeze it.
I find this quite handy as so many recipes only call for a tablespoon here or there, and I hate any food to go to waste!
When I am ready to use some tomato paste, I first remove it from the freezer, then slice off the portion of frozen paste as I need!
Gluten Free Baked Chimichanga Recipe:
This is a family favorite recipe for so many reasons! Whether you fill these baked chimichangas with your taco leftovers or the below recipes, these crunchy burritos will be a big hit!
If you try this recipe, please come back to leave a comment and a rating!
Oven Baked Chimichangas
- 2 cups chicken thighs cooked, shredded or chopped
- 2/3 cup salsa I use Trader Joe's red or green salsas
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 cup Daiya cheese or favorite shredded cheese
- 2 green onions chopped
- 6 brown rice tortillas
- 1 cup shredded cheese Daiya, or any allowed cheddar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Start your rice. Heat oil over medium high heat in a pot with a tight fitting lid. Add in the rice and stir to coat with the oil. Continue to cook and stir every minute or two to toast the rice (see picture above). When it looks like mine, you're ready to move on. This normally takes about 5 minutes or so. Add in the salt, garlic, paste and cumin, stirring to blend. Add in the chicken broth, stirring to blend again. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until rice is tender.
Meanwhile, cook your beans! Saute the bacon in a small pot until crisp and browned. Pour in the whole can of beans with their liquid, and add the spices. Partially mash the beans with a potato masher or fork. Simmer while you prep the remaining items.
Stir together all your chicken filling ingredients.
Heat a teaspoon or two of oil/fat in a pan large enough to accommodate the brown rice tortilla. (As a side note, anyone who had used these knows, if you try to roll them up cold, they will break. I have also had NO luck using the microwave to heat them for rolling. By heating the tortilla in fat, you are adding the oil to make the tortillas super crunchy in the oven too) Heat the tortilla until soft and pliable, about a minute, remove.
First spread some beans, then the chicken. There is no science to how much of each, you just want to make sure you can roll it up! Top with some cheese.
Once filled, roll the tortilla tightly up. I like to start a tight roll, after one turn, I then fold the outside edges in and THEN finish rolling the rest of the way. Placing seam side down on a cookie sheet. Make the remaining chimichangas. If you used no oil or flour tortillas, brush the chimichangas with oil before baking them.
Bake for about 25 minutes until crisp and golden. Garnish with any extra cheese, salsa, avocado, chopped lettuce, or hot sauce. Serve on a bed of Spanish rice.
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