It doesn’t take a lot for me to be impressed with food. I love food so much that I try not to discriminate against anything—except for my hatred of coconut and mango but that’s a story for another time—so I’ll essentially eat everything that is presented to me and I’ll thoroughly enjoy it too. I tend to get really excited over the simplest of dishes. They don’t necessarily have to be super fancy with a million ingredients, half of which I can’t even pronounce, in order for me to like it. Where’s the fun in that? Good food can be simple and you don’t have to sell your arm or your leg to get it either. I’m all for trying new things and expanding palate because I’m a firm believer of having to try everything at least once before writing it off as something I do not care for. How else will you know if you like something or not, if you don’t try it? There’s nothing more unnerving, or scary for that matter, then when I overhear people say they don’t like a certain dish or ingredient, yet they’ve never tried it before and refuse to give it a chance. Come on, let’s be more adventurous. Food isn’t scary. Food is delicious.
A few weeks ago I visited a Mediterranean restaurant by my place—we’ve made a promise to venture out and explore our neighborhood more because there are so many options close by to us and yet we always end up going to the same restaurants—and they make the very best Greek-style street food around. I decided to try something new and picked the Mediterranean Taquitos, although if I’m being honest I probably would’ve picked the taquitos regardless because I happen to really love taquitos. But that’s not the point of this story. They were incredible and I couldn’t stop talking about them all night so Julian eventually told me to make them for my blog, mainly because he wanted some at home but also because I’m sure he wanted me to stop talking about them. Little did he know that I’d still be talking about them till this day and now I’m mentioning them even more because I’ve just barely shared them with you.
I’ll be talking about these taquitos for a while, and no one can stop me. Can you blame me though? I know that when you give them a try yourself, you’ll be talking about them too. Go ahead and make them already so we can have a discussion around the water cooler. There’s so much to talk about, like the delicious yogurt-marinated chicken filling, the flaky lavash and of course that creamy feta and olive sauce on top of a crisp Greek-salad topping. It doesn’t get any better than that.
We’re going to start by marinating the chicken in a bunch of awesome flavors. Mediterranean inspired flavors, to go with this whole theme I got going on.
**Tip: For an extra added level of flavor, I’m using chicken thighs, but feel free to use chicken breast if you prefer white meat.**
In a medium bowl, combine the boneless chicken, Greek yogurt, olive oil, garlic, red onion, fresh parsley, fresh oregano, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cumin, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, all-spice, ground coriander, tumeric, garlic powder, onion powder, and crushed red pepper flakes.
Toss to evenly combine, making sure that every piece of the chicken is evenly coated in the delicious marinade. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill out for a bit.
**Note: The longer the chicken sits, the better. So if you can let it sit overnight, that’s great. At the very least, let it sit for an hour. The flavors need time to penetrate the chicken. **
Once you’re ready to cook the chicken, you can either grill it on a stovetop grill or on an outdoor grill, cooking for about 5 to 7 minutes on the first side and then flipping it over and cooking it for another 2 to 3 minutes on the second side. Or you can place it on a baking sheet (lined with foil for easy clean up) and roast it in the oven for about 20 minutes.
While the chicken cooks, let’s make a quick sauce for the taquitos. It’s a creamy feta and olive sauce and you’re going to love it.
In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the sour cream, mayo, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, red onion, olives, lemon juice, feta, salt, pepper and fresh oregano.
**Tip: Julian is growing fresh oregano for me in our garden so I’m lucky to be able to have it on hand, but if you can’t find it, use the dried stuff. Just remember that with dried spices less is more because they tend to be more potent at times.**
Pulse until smooth. Give it a taste and adjust seasonings accordingly, adding more salt or pepper if needed. Transfer to a bowl and place in the fridge, covered, until ready to eat.
**Note: The feta and olives are salty so you might not even need that little bit of extra salt, if you’re not a fan of it. Just leave it out.**
Once the chicken has cooked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool down. Then chop it into small pieces and get ready to fill and roll the taquitos. Traditional taquitos are made with tortillas, I’m sure you know, but since these are Mediterranean taquitos, we’re going to be making them with lavash which is a Middle Eastern flatbread. Cut them into rectangles and fill with the chopped up chicken.
Roll into a tight log and secure the seam with a couple of toothpicks.
**Note: The tootpicks will ensure that the taquitos don’t open up during frying, causing all of the chicken to come out and create splatter in the oil.**
Heat a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat with about 3 inches of vegetable oil. Once hot, slowly and oh so carefully, drop in the taquitos a few at a time. Fry for about 1 to 2 minutes on the first side. Flip over and fry for another minute until golden brown. Place the fried taquitos on a plate, lined with paper towels to catch the excess oil. Then transfer to a wire rack set over a baking sheet.
Once they’ve all been fried, you’re ready to top them with all sorts of goodies.
Right before serving, top with shredded lettuce, chopped olives, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, feta and of course, don’t forget about that sauce we made earlier! It’s almost like traditional taquitos which are usually topped with sour cream, guacamole, lettuce and cheese. We’re mimicking those flavors.
These get perfectly crunchy and crispy, just like the traditional taquitos that use tortillas. The lavash gets super flaky which is a nice texture compared to the chicken filling and the crisp fresh toppings. The creamy sauce we took time to make balances everything out and takes them over the edge. Am I doing a good job convincing you?
You can actually fry these ahead of time and when you’re ready to serve and reheat, you can place them on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and rewarm them in the oven. They’ll get crispy once again and it’ll save you a bunch of time frying later on.
If you’re not a big chicken fan, you can keep things vegetarian by spooning hummus and roasted or grilled veggies (onion, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, red bell pepper) in the lavash instead! Or try it with beef or lamb. All great options for these Mediterranean Taquitos, so there’s not excuse to not make them.
These are rather quick to make, so they’re perfect for a weeknight dinner. Sure they’re fried, but we can at least feel a little less guilty because of the healthy fresh salad on top, right? Let’s have a little fun with our food and make some taquitos tonight…you won’t regret it. Enjoy!
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice,
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon tumeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
- 4 sheets lavash, cut in half
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 cup shredded lettuce
- ½ cup tomatoes, diced
- ½ cup cucumber, diced
- ¼ cup black olives, diced
- ¼ cup red onion, diced
- ¼ cup feta, crumbled
- creamy feta olive sauce, recipe follows
- ¼ cup mayo
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 3 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tablespoons black olives, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
- ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 tablespoons red onion diced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- To marinade the chicken, in a large bowl, combine the chicken, yogurt, red onion, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, herbs and spices to fully incorporate. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Place the chicken on the baking sheet, in an even layer and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until crispy and cooked through. Remove from oven and allow to cool down. Then cut into small pieces with a large knife or shred with your fingers.
- Heat a large skillet over pot over medium heat with about 3-inches of vegetable oil. Cut the lavash in half so you end up with 8 rectangles. Fill one end with chicken and roll into a tight log, securing the edges with a few toothpicks to keep it formed. Once the oil is hot, carefully drop in the taquitos, a few at a time, and fry for about 1 to 2 minutes on the first side. Flip over and fry for another minute or until golden brown and crispy. Place on a plate or platter lined with paper towels and then transfer the taquitos to a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Continue frying until all the taquitos are done. Rewarm in the oven.
- To make the sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until creamy and smooth.
- Right before serving, top the taquitos with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, feta, onion, olives and the sauce. Enjoy!
- yields: 8 taquitos