Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Slow Cooker Spicy Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos (or Tostadas) Recipe with Avocado Salsa (Low-Carb)

Love this Spicy Shredded Chicken cooked in the slow cooker and then made into lettuce wrap tacos or tostadas!

Slow Cooker Spicy Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos or Tostadas found on

These Spicy Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos are one of those recipes that every slow cooker fan will appreciate because once you've made the spicy shredded chicken, there are endless ways to use it.  I experimented a few times with the slow cooker part of the recipe to get the chicken flavored just like I wanted it, and we made lettuce wrap tacos and tasty chicken tostadas, but you could also use this shredded chicken to make regular tacos, nachos, burritos, or even enchiladas.  And don't skip the avocado salsa, which was the perfect thing to go with the spicy meat.

Trim four boneless-skinless chicken breasts, and then cut each one in half lengthwise.

Arrange the chicken in a slow cooker that you've sprayed with olive oil or non-stick spray.  (I used my Crock-Pot 3-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker, and you need one that's close to this size.)

Mix together the salsa, onion powder, diced green chiles, Cholula hot sauce, and lime juice.

Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken in the slow cooker.

Cook on low for about 5 hours, or until chicken is very tender.  (I did experiment cooking it on high for a shorter time and the chicken was much more tender when cooked on low.)

Remove chicken from slow cooker, and let it cool; then shred chicken apart with your fingers.  (Turn the slow cooker to high and leave the lid partly off while chicken cools and you're shredding it.)

Then put the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker, stir to combine with the sauce, and let it heat up again while you prep your other ingredients.

For these lettuce wraps, we liked Iceberg lettuce best.  I cut a head of lettuce in half and wash it in the salad spinner before I break it apart for the lettuce wraps, but some lettuce may not need to be washed.

Combine the chopped avocado, chopped red onion, chopped cilantro, and lime juice to make the salsa.

To make the lettuce wrap tacos, peel off two pieces of lettuce, fill with some shredded chicken, and put a generous scoop of avocado salsa on top.  Fold over the lettuce and eat with your hands.

If you'd rather make tostadas, crisp flour tortillas in the toaster oven for 2-3 minutes, turning a few times.

Spread some of the chicken over the top of the tortilla.

Then spread a layer of salsa over that.

We liked tomatoes on the tostadas, and you could use some on the tacos as well.

Slow Cooker Spicy Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos (or Tostadas) with Avocado Salsa
(Makes about 8 tacos or tostadas; recipe created by Kalyn)

I used my Crock-Pot 3-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker to make the chicken in this recipe.  You will need a slow cooker that's close to this size.

Ingredients for Spicy Chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in half lengthwise (about 2 lbs. boneless chicken)
1 cup mild or medium tomato salsa (homemade or from a jar)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 can ( 4 oz.) diced green chiles, not drained (Anaheim chiles)
1-2 T Cholula hot sauce, or other Mexican hot sauce of your choice
2 T fresh-squeezed lime juice

Avocado Salsa Ingredients:
2 medium or large avocados, diced into small pieces
3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice

For Lettuce Wrap Tacos:
2 large heads iceberg lettuce, washed if needed

For Tostadas: 
8 medium-sized flour tortillas (use whole wheat or low-carb tortillas for South Beach Diet)
chopped tomatoes (optional but good)

Trim visible fat and other unwanted parts from chicken breasts and cut each one in half lengthwise.  Spray the inside of the slow cooker with olive oil or non-stick spray and arrange the chicken strips in the bottom.  Mix together the tomato salsa, onion powder, diced green chiles with juice, Cholula hot sauce and lime juice.  (Start with 1 tablespoon of hot sauce and taste the mixture on your finger to see if you want more.)  Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and cook on low for about 5 hours, or until chicken is very tender.  (You can cook for a shorter time on high, but I thought cooking on low gave more tender chicken.)

When the chicken is done, remove each piece with a slotted spoon and lay it on a cutting board to cool.  Turn the slow cooker to high and leave the lid partly off so steam can evaporate.  When the chicken has cooled enough to handle it, use your clean hands to pull it apart into shredded chicken pieces.  Put the chicken back into the slow cooker, stir to combine with the sauce, and let it heat back up while you prepare other ingredients.   (If there seems to be a lot of sauce in the slow cooker, you can drain the chicken when you use it, but I just scooped chicken out with a slotted spoon.)

Peel and dice the avocados and toss with the lime juice (in a bowl that's big enough for all the salsa ingredients.)  Add the chopped cilantro and chopped red onion and stir to combine.

For tacos, cut iceberg lettuce heads in half and wash in salad spinner if needed.  Peel off two pieces of lettuce and fill with a scoop of chicken mixture and a scoop of avocado salsa.  Eat tacos with your hands.

For tostadas, toast flour tortillas 2-3 minutes in an oven or toaster oven preheated to 400F/200C, turning them over a few times.  Spread a layer of spicy shredded chicken on teach tortilla, followed by a layer of avocado salsa and chopped tomatoes if desired.  Pick up and eat with your fingers or eat with a knife and fork.

The spicy shredded chicken can also be used to make regular tacos, burritos, nachos, or enchiladas.

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South Beach Diet / Low-Carb Diet Suggestions:
The Spicy Shredded Chicken made with this recipe would be approved for all phases of the South Beach Diet and most other low-carb eating plans.  You could eat the lettuce wrap tacos for any phase South Beach.  For Tostadas, burritos, enchiladas, nachos, or regular tacos, be sure to use low-carb tortillas for South Beach diet.  Those dishes that use tortillas would be limited to Phase 2 or 3. 

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Spicy Flavors in the Slow Cooker:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos from Gimme Some Oven

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos with Spicy Slaw and Avocado from Kalyn's Kitchen

Slow Cooked Carnitas Tacos from Recipe Girl

Slow Cooker Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos with Lime from Kalyn's Kitchen

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef from The Kitchn  

(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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More to Chew On:


  1. All that spice would make me so happy! You've suddenly got me craving tostadas.

  2. This is a very unique recipe. We love cooking with our slow cooker and this recipe looks absolutely delicious. Bookmarking this now. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I would never skip the avocado salsa! These look fantastic! YUM!

  4. Thanks Joanne. I am loving the Cholula hot sauce.

    Zane and Van, glad you like it.

    Shawn, me neither!

  5. Oh, Kalyn.... wouldn't you know, when I moved, I gave my crockpot away, as this kitchen is a lot smaller, and... well, you know how it goes...

    and of course, now I see recipes popping everywhere that calls for the crockpot! This one is a definite winner, I just made a tomatillo avocado salsa the other day, your chicken would be perfect with it too. I guess I could use a low oven (sigh)

  6. Oh my, I could never get by without my crockpots! You could get a really small one and just do 2 chicken breasts, or just simmer it on very low heat.

  7. This is the type of dish I'm having so much fun making in my slow cooker. I freeze the cooked shredded chicken in small containers, to provide many meals during the week (or beyond).

  8. I used my crockpot the other day for baked beans; must try this chicken. My husband has prepared chicken that way, but it will be new for me.

  9. Have you ever made double the recipe in a large crock pot? Would love to try it!

  10. My kids love tacos and anything with guacamole salsa on top - definitely trying this!

  11. Lydia, I agree. I almost like this kind of dish where you can get creative with the results more than I do a set recipe that's more limited!

    Mimi, hope you try it, loved it here!

    Nicole, you can definitely double it for a bigger crockpot. The cooking time might be slightly longer, although probably not much.

    Jeanette, hope the kids like it!

  12. I need to get a slow cooker!! This looks fantastic!

  13. I am absolutely making this recipe! Love anything with a slow cooker!

  14. Cathleen and Elizabeth, couldn't imagine not having my slow cooker. I'd start with a middle sized one 3.5 or 4 quarts unless you have a big family to cook for.

  15. We love lettuce wraps and the spice in this recipe would go over well here. I need a smaller slow cooker for the two of us. Mine is HUGE. : /

  16. Kelly, don't gasp but I have 10 slow cookers! Every size imaginable. I do love this small 3.5 quart size though.

  17. Ive get use to Mexican food in US. But now Im back at home and unfortunately there is no Mexican restaurant around. So Im going try this one because it looks so good.

  18. Perfect!! I use lettuce wraps for larb, but never have used them for a Mexican dish!

  19. Food with a Mexican style is right up my alley... I love the heat, I love the flavor. This recipe is perfection because for me, it's guilt-free when it's served on lettuce leaves. I love that!

    Thank you for sharing such a terrific recipe. Who knows... I might even break down and make it with some tortillas! Yummers-ville!

  20. I recently tried using the paddle attachment on my stand mixer to shred chicken. On the fence about the convenience of lugging out the big mixer, but I think I will use this method again when I'm making a big batch for multiple meals. The Avocado salsa looks really great - can't wait to try. Thanks for all the work you do. Your kitchen is a real inspiration!

  21. Kudzususan, thanks for the nice thoughts about the blog. Interesting idea! I know a lot of people shred with forks, but I just use my hands!

  22. Just tried and loved the recipe, and my family did as well. Big success!

  23. This is great! I goofed and put the sauce ingredients in the crockpot instead of mixing it in a bowl and it still came out fine. I also used a chipotle hot sauce instead of the usual and it was excellent. Definitely a keeper!

  24. I made this yesterday and it turned out great! I didn't cut the chicken breasts in half because I knew I was going to be cooking them a lot longer than 5 hrs and didn't want the chicken to be dry. It was delicious. I did cut back on the lime in the avocado salsa because I didn't have that many limes, but I think it turned out pretty great so I'll probably continue to use less lime next time. Thank you so much for sharing!

  25. Elizabeth, so glad you enjoyed it!

  26. How many pounds of raw meat is this? 1 lb.? 2 lbs.? Thanks for any help!

  27. This is about 2 pounds of meat. (Luckily I had a chicken breast in the fridge, so I just weighed it!) Great question, I will edit the recipe.

  28. This looks so yummy! I'm going to try to make it for dinner tonight, and I don't have quite 5 hours. How long would you cook it on high?

  29. You'll probably need at least 3 hours on high, maybe a little more depending on your slow cooker.

  30. I cannot WAIT to try these! They look and sound delectable!

  31. Making these in my crock pot now...this is the 4th time I've made them and now I've got my sister in law trying them too!! So delicious and healthy! We especially LOVE the avocado salsa. Since making this for the first time months ago, I've also had your chickpea salad with avocado. MY OH MY. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing such wonderful and healthy recipes. I just love your food!

  32. Sara, thanks for the nice comments! Comments like that really make my day.


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