Why fry when you can bake? These oven-baked chicken chimichangas are easy to make and healthier than the original, fried recipe.
A chimichanga is essentially a fried burrito, and although its exact origins have not been confirmed, some say it was invented in Tucson, Arizona in the 1920s.
For this recipe, we took a healthy detour from the original dish and decided to oven-bake our chicken chimichangas. I prefer this version, and it's so much healthier. The chimichangas are crispy and tasty, and you'll have a hard time not going back for seconds!
I never ate chimichangas as a child because I grew up in Mexico City, and this dish is actually Tex-Mex. But they are such a decadent treat. I've tried them with all kinds of fillings (shredded beef, pork, rice, beans, you name it!), and I have yet to eat one that I didn't enjoy. That being said, I prefer my chimichangas partially garnished with sour cream, guacamole and green onions, whereas the real deal is fully drenched in salsa. Both variations are delicious; it's just a matter of taste.
Mix the chicken, hot sauce or salsa, cumin, dried oregano leaves, cheese and green onions.
Place about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla.
Fold opposite sides over filling.
Roll up from bottom and set seam-side down.
Heat a skillet over medium heat, add a drop of olive oil, and then sear the chimichangas for 3 minutes on each side.
Once they're nice and crispy, place in a baking dish or casserole. Bake at 350° F for 20 minutes or until golden. Take out of the oven, garnish with cheese and bake for 5 more minutes.
Garnish with green onion, avocado and your favorite salsa, or my quick salsa casera.
If preparing the quick red salsa casera, mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth and serve! No need to cook this version because of the canned tomatoes. Otherwise, use 1 cup of the salsa of your choice.