Want restaurant quality tacos from the comfort of home? If so, these Flank Steak Tacos with Chimichurri are calling your name!Jump to Recipe
The Best Homemade Steak Tacos
Some dishes just taste better at a restaurant. Tacos are usually one of them- key word here is usually. I’ve found most homemade tacos lack flavor components and dimension. A good taco needs a protein and vegetable, like minced cilantro or corn. But a great taco needs so much more.
Think about the best taco you’ve ever had. It probably had a perfectly cooked and seasoned protein, along with three to five other components. Tacos need a balance of spice, crunch, and vibrant flavor in order to go from good to great. And these Flank Steak Tacos with Chimichurri have it all!
First, a tender steak that’s been cooked for only minutes on a cast iron skillet. Second, a vibrant chimichurri that is packed with refreshing herbs. Third, red cabbage that gives the taco a crunchy element. And finally, the spicy chipotle lime crema that balanced with zesty lime juice. Together, these components come together to make for the best homemade taco recipe!
Choosing & Preparing the Tortillas
If you’re gluten-free, the tortilla choice is easy. Flour tortillas aren’t gluten-free, so I always use corn tortillas for my recipes. While I love Siete Foods Tortillas for quesadillas or burritos, I’ve found that you can’t beat a classic corn tortilla when it comes to tacos. Corn tortillas are a little hardier; furthermore, they hold up better with a large taco.
You can’t just serve a plain corn tortilla though. First, you need to warm the tortilla and give it a little bit of char. Burning the tortilla, ever so slightly, will add more flavor to the taco and pair beautifully with the steak. The best way to do so is to heat a cast iron skillet over high heat. Give the skillet three to five minutes to warm up before adding the tortilla. This ensures that the skillet will already be hot and ready to go.
I like to toast each side of my tortilla for about 45 seconds. The tortilla should begin to smell “toasty”, or even slightly burnt. When you flip the tortilla, there should be a few darkened spots. If the whole tortilla begins to burn, reduce the heat to medium-high and flip the tortilla after 30 seconds. While it’s best to warm the tortillas right before you serve the tacos, you can also wrap them in aluminum foil to keep them warm before serving.
How to Make Chipotle Lime Crema
Crema is a thinner sour cream with a hint of tang, thanks to the use of lime juice or zest. Traditional Mexican crema also uses heavy cream or buttermilk, and it’s often served with tacos or enchiladas. While you can find it in grocery stores, it couldn’t be easier to make at home! This chipotle lime crema has only five ingredients and comes together in less than five minutes. All you need is:
- Sour cream: Although you can opt for plain Greek yogurt, Greek yogurt actually has a stronger flavor than sour cream and is thicker. I recommend sticking with sour cream here.
- Chipotle Peppers: You’ll need to use canned chipotle peppers in the adobo sauce. The adobo sauce is made from dried chiles, spices and vinegar. It adds more flavor to the crema, and a little bit goes a long ways here!
- Lime: This recipe calls for lime juice and lime zest to help balance out the spice that the chipotle peppers in the adobo sauce brings to the crema.
- Garlic: Skip the garlic powder and mince on garlic clove for a stronger, more authentic flavor.
- Salt & Pepper: A dash of each seasoning will tie the recipe together!
After you diced the chipotle peppers and mince the garlic, all you need to do is combine all of the ingredients. The chipotle lime crema should be a light orange color after you’ve mixed the ingredients together. Be sure to taste before serving as the chipotle peppers can really pack a punch. If you need to balance the heat, add more lime juice or sour cream to the crema.
Chimichurri: History & Recipe Steps
This traditional South American sauce is an uncooked condiment that often accompanies meat. It can be found primarily in Argentina, Uruguay and Nicaragua. Chimichurri is made with freshly minced parsley, diced garlic, olive oil, oregano, red pepper flakes and red wine vinegar. In the United States, shallots are also sometimes used in the sauce. Chimichurri has a bright flavor profile with a hint of spice on the backend. As it is very herb forward, it works beautifully as a refreshing component to otherwise heavy dishes.
Chimichurri is actually very straight forward to make! Just follow this step-by-step process:
- Trim any dead leaves and the stems off of one bunch of parsley. Wash and dry with paper towels before placing on a chopping board. Use a sharp knife to finely mince the parsley before adding it to a medium-sized bowl.
- Peel and carefully dice three large garlic cloves. If you would like more of a garlic forward flavor, use the back of a large knife to smash the diced garlic against the cutting board to create a paste. Then, add to the bowl with the minced herbs.
- Drizzle in 1/4 cup of olive oil with two tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Whisk together to combine with the herbs and garlic.
- Sprinkle in one tablespoon of dried oregano, one teaspoon of red pepper flakes, half a teaspoon of black pepper and a pinch of salt.
- Whisk again to combine before refrigerating until you’re ready to serve.
If you would like, you can also add the parsley and garlic cloves to a food processor instead of mincing them. This creates more of a “rough” texture. As well, you can add shallot to the food processor. This will add more of an onion flavor to the chimichurri; which, compliments the steak nicely!
The Steak Marinade
Flank steak is high in protein and low in fat. This means that it needs to be marinated in order to yield a tender piece of meat. Without the marinade, the final result will be chewy and bland. The marinade is such an important aspect because it imparts so much flavor into the steak. While some marinades have an endless list of ingredients, it’s not necessary. You really just need…
- Neutral Oil: The oil keeps the flank steak subtle and juicy.
- Acidic Aspect: The acidity tenderizes and flavors the steak.
- Salty Element: While this helps tenderize the meat as well, it is also a key seasoning component.
- Sweet Element: In order to balance out the salt and acid, you need a sweet component.
Together, this simple marinade yields a perfectly tender flank steak! It’s recommended that you marinate your flank steak for at least 30 minutes or as long as two hours. I think the perfect middle ground is one hour though. Refrigerate in the marinade for one hour before cooking it for best results.
Cooking the Steak, Sans Grill
Although you can grill this flank steak, you can also use a hot cast iron skillet. It just depends what flavor you would like. The grill will give the steak a little more char with a slightly caramelized crust. Cooking the flank steak in a cast iron skillet will really lock in those flavors from the marinade. The choice is yours but for this recipe I opted for a cast iron skillet.
After the steak has marinated, remove from the refrigerator and allow to reach room temperature. While the steak is sitting at room temperature, heat the cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of olive to the skillet to prevent the meat from sticking to the pan. Once the steak has reached room temperature and the oil in the skillet is sizzling, use tongs to carefully transfer the steak to the skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and cook on each size for three minutes.
Then, remove the steak and place it on a cutting board. Check the temperature before covering with aluminum foil. The temperature should read 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the meat to rest for five to ten minutes. This time will keep the meat tender because cutting too soon would release the juices, leading to a dried out piece of meat. Finally, use a sharp carving knife to cut against the grain of the meat.
Assembling the Tacos
Yes, there is a right way to assemble the tacos! Start by taking your warm corn tortillas and spreading a thin layer of chimichurri over the tortilla. Then, take two slices of the flank steak and place on top of the chimichurri. Add a small handful of sliced red cabbage. The red cabbage will add the perfect crunch to the taco! Finally, garnish with a teaspoon or two of the chipotle lime crema! Then all that’s left to do is take a bite and enjoy.
Flank Steak Tacos with ChimichurriCourse: Dinner, Lunch, Side, AppetizersDifficulty: Easy
These Flank Steak Tacos with Chimichurri are a must make for summer!
- For the Chipotle Lime Crema
3/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, diced
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1 garlic clove, finely minced
Pinch of salt and pepper
- For the Chimichurri
1 bunch of fresh parsley, washed and dried
3 large garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
- For the Steak & Marinade
1.5 lbs of flank steak
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon tamari or gluten-free soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
- For the Tacos
6-8 corn tortillas, toasted
1 1/2 cups of red cabbage, sliced
- For the Chipotle Lime Crema
- Add the sour cream to a small bowl with the minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, lime juice, lime zest, minced garlic, and the seasonings.
- Mix to combine, then refrigerate until ready to serve.
- For the Chimichurri
- Remove the stems from the parsley and add to the food processor with the peeled garlic cloves. Pulse on high until roughly chopped, then add to a medium-sized bowl.
- Whisk in the olive oil and red vine vinegar. Then, add the seasonings and whisk again to combine.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- For the Steak
- Pat the steak dry with paper towels and trim off any fat. Then, place in a large baking dish.
- In a small bowl, combine the orange juice, olive oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Whisk together before pouring over the steak. Refrigerate for one hour.
- After the allotted time, remove the steak from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature.
- Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a large cast iron skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
- Once the steak has reached room temperature at the oil in the skillet is sizzling, use tongs to carefully transfer the meat to the pan.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook on each side for three minutes.
- Then, carefully transfer to a cutting board and cover with foil. Rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing against the grain ad serving!
- To Assemble the Tacos
- Spread a thin layer of chimichurri over the toasted corn tortilla. Place two slices of steak on top of the chimichurri, then garnish with a small handful of red cabbage. Add a teaspoon or two of the chipotle lime crema and enjoy!