Gluten-Free Mexican Pulled Chicken

For me, one of the ultimate joys in life is cooking a wonderful meal for my friends or family. I am always inviting people over for dinner so I can cook for them. And if that doesn’t tell you enough, I even cooked my own birthday dinner this year. I made my birthday cake too. It was delightful.

Anyway, I came across this easy recipe a few months ago when I was looking for a delicious dish to serve for company. And by easy, I mean super duper ridiculously easy.

All you have to do is pop your chicken in the slow cooker to spend a relaxing day bathing in salsa, spices, and broth. After that, the chicken will be incredibly tender and juicy. At that point, you need only shred it, give it a stir, and you’re done! You’ll end up with delicious pulled chicken that can star in a variety of Mexican dishes.

I’ve served it on corn tortillas to make some tasty chicken tacos. I’ve also used it to make an absolutely amazing batch of chicken enchiladas with made-from-scratch green enchilada sauce. You could also easily use this as a filling for quesadillas or burritos or as a topping for a heaping pile of nachos.

The salsa that you choose will make a huge difference. First of all, make sure the salsa you choose is fat-free; they often are, but be sure to double-check. As for the taste, I am a huge fan of the combination of salsa verde and chicken. I also think the salsa verde pairs nicely with green enchilada sauce if you want to go that route. However, feel free to switch it up! If you want to use regular salsa, go for it. If you want spicy chicken, choose a spicy salsa. If you can’t do spicy, go for mild. Salsa verde typically comes in medium, so it’s a happy medium (pun intended) for those who like spicy and those who like mild (a.k.a., Tim and I).

Now, a few words of caution about the ingredients: Make sure your chicken broth is gluten-free. Weirdly enough, it not always is. I have faithfully used Swanson Natural Goodness since my diagnosis, which is listed on Campbell’s Gluten-Free Product List. Not only is it fat-free and all-natural, it’s also reduced-sodium so you have more control over the saltiness of your dishes. Salsa is something you should watch out for as well. Check your label to make sure it’s gluten-free. All-natural salsas are usually good choices because there are no weird, questionable ingredients that could be hiding gluten. The same goes for taco seasoning – check your label. Or, feel free to substitute your own homemade seasoning mix!

Gluten-Free Mexican Pulled Chicken
adapted from Celiac Family’s Slow-Cooked Shredded Chicken

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3-4 small or medium breasts)
1 packet of chicken taco seasoning mix (1 ounce/4 tablespoons)
1 cup fat-free salsa verde (more or less to taste)
1 cup fat-free chicken broth

Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of your slow cooker; avoid overlapping them if possible. Sprinkle the chicken taco seasoning evenly over the chicken. Top the chicken breasts with the salsa. Slowly pour in the chicken broth around the chicken, not directly onto them. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

Turn the heat off on your slow cooker and remove the cover. Do not drain! The broth is now infused with all kinds of flavor and you don’t want to lose it. Using two forks, pull or shred the chicken completely. Stir well to coat the chicken with the spices and broth. Place the cover back on your slow cooker to keep the chicken warm while you prepare the rest of your meal.

Makes 4 servings (4 points+ per serving).