Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Nightshade-Free Chicken Taco Recipe (corn-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)

I've got an easy, nourishing main dish recipe for you today! These Nightshade-Free Chicken Tacos are super easy to prepare and perfect if you are following our Elimination Diet or another special diet such as an autoimmune diet or a diet specific for arthritis. My children also love this recipe! The chicken taco filling is cooked in a Crockpot making the prep time less than 10 minutes. I like to serve the taco filling with my Plantain Tortillas (pictured here) or my gluten-free brown rice flour tortillas. The filling is also wonderful served inside of a baked half of a kabocha or delicata squash, topped with greens and sprouts of course!

Need a little more assistance in the kitchen creating this meal? Then check out the elimination diet video cooking series I created on how to make plantain tortillas and this chicken taco filling, plus a few more easy and delicious elimination diet recipes. You can sign up here to watch the videos.

Use this recipe for Phase 2 of our Elimination Diet program. Not quite sure what an elimination diet is? An elimination diet is a powerful tool to get to the root of most diseases and disorders. Why? Because most disease begins in the gut. The gut has the highest concentration of immune cells, and the most common thing that the immune cells will react to is food.

When you are constantly in pain, moody, and fatigued, your body is inflamed. In other words, your immune cells are being irritated by something in your environment. What is the most likely suspect that is irritating you? Surprisingly, it’s your food.

Odds are that foods you are eating every day are leaving you sick and tired. How do you find out which ones? The Elimination Diet. This foundational tool of Functional Medicine has been used for centuries to discover which foods are making you ill and which ones can make you feel incredible.

The Elimination Diet is a simple process of removing all potentially problematic foods from your diet until your symptoms subside—usually a few weeks. Then you slowly reintroduce foods back into your diet, one by one, to see which ones bring your symptoms back. By finding the foods that are behind your suffering, you can completely turn your health around and elevate your quality of life. 

If you are curious about trying an elimination diet and not sure where to begin then check out our online Elimination Diet Support Program and Elimination Diet book, both of which provide excellent tools that walk you through each step of the elimination diet.

What if these new tools helped you to become a better you? A lighter, more energetic, happier you! That's what doing an elimination diet is all about.

While on an elimination diet, you'll find that many of the foods you are accustomed to eating every day are off limits. You'll get to experience new flavors and new foods that promote healing at the cellular level. And you can start right now with these nightshade-free chicken tacos.

Nightshade-Free Chicken Tacos

This recipe is designed for your slow cooker and takes just minutes to prepare! You can put it together in the morning then set your slow cooker to low and you will have a meal ready when you get home from work. Use Plantain Tortillas, Homemade Brown Rice Tortillas, or fresh collard greens for your taco shells. I initially created this recipe using pure, unsweetened pomegranate juice, but now prefer to use unsweetened 100% tart cherry juice. I like the bolder, tarter flavors that the cherry juice provides. You just need to make sure you are buying 100% tart cherry juice and not a mix of cherry and apple juices. This is the brand I like to use, which can be found at most local health food stores. Although my original recipe (which can be found in the Elimination Diet book) uses garlic and onions, I don't even add them anymore, mostly to save time in the preparation. I think the flavor is wonderful either way.

Chicken Taco Filling:
1 ½ to 2 pounds organic boneless chicken (breast or thigh meat)
1 ½ cups organic tart cherry juice or pure pomegranate juice
1 small onion, cut into half moons (optional)
2 to 3 garlic cloves, crushed (optional)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons Herbamare or sea salt
½ to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Other Ingredients:
homemade plantain tortillas or brown rice flour tortillas
collard greens (to use as a tortilla if desired)
thinly sliced napa cabbage or romaine lettuce
sliced avocados
shredded carrots

chopped cilantro
lacto-fermented vegetables

Place all ingredients for the chicken taco filling into a 3-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours. Then remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place onto a plate. Use two forks to shred the chicken, then place the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker and mix into the juices. Let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes more.

To assemble the tacos, place a scoop of the shredded chicken into the center of each tortilla or collard green, then add a small handful of napa cabbage or lettuce, a few slices of avocado, and a spoonful of lacto-fermented vegetables if desired!

More Nightshade-Free Elimination Diet Recipes:
Masala Chicken and Vegetable Stew (Phase 2)
Quinoa-Salmon Burgers (Phase 2)
Dairy-Free Sour Cream (All Phases)

PS: Our next LIVE interactive online Elimination Diet Support Program begins on January 6th, 2018! The online program is here to better support you in letting go of the foods that do not serve you while helping you to learn new ways to nourish yourself through our videos, audio files, PDF downloads, and live interactive webinars with us during key points in the diet. If you are ready to make some positive, long-lasting shifts in your well-being then sign up today. Hope to see you online. :)

PPS: Interested in learning even more about how certain foods and chemicals can affect your immune system and how the Elimination Diet can help? Want to get to the root of why you have joint pain, migraines, autoimmunity, sluggishness, anxiety, GERD, or GI upset? We have a selection of podcasts and media appearances that you can dive into to help answer these questions on our Media page here.

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. Plantain tortilla recipe?

    1. Hi there,

      You can find the Plantain Tortilla recipe on page 357 of my Nourishing Meals book:


      In an Elimination Diet cooking video series I did that you can sign up to watch here:

      The tortilla recipe is grain-free, nut-free, and vegan. Enjoy! :)

  2. Any tips for modifying this to the oven?

    1. Hi Kate,

      Yes! You can add all of the ingredients into an ovenproof dish with a lid....I prefer to use LeCreuset pots for this (enamel-lined cast iron pots). Just pop in the oven at 300 degrees F for 3 to 4 hours, then shred chicken with two forks, and then either simmer on the stove on low for about 10 minutes or place back into the oven for 10 to 20 minutes, and then serve. :)

  3. Gearing up for beginning this elimination test next week! I know the power of it, I did it once fifteen years ago when healing from fibromyalgia. Now it is time again, after slipping back into terrible eating, and getting my husband to do it too. Hoping it will help his allergies and sinus trouble. (If we can't get his nasal breathing open, he can't try a CPAP for apnea.)

    Thank you so much for this site and the free recipes! It is encouraging, unlike all the depressing sites that only say what not to eat.
    Thank you for this recipe! I have to test nightshade, as those are my most craved foods. And husband is allergic to raw potatoes and carrots. Easy substitution here with fermented carrots instead of raw. And thank you for saying you can just leave out onions and garlic. I have a sensitivity to these! ! So will have to adapt all recipes that include them. It will probably take months, if ever, for that one to go away. :-( I hate not being able to eat such powerful healthy food, that is a base for so many recipes.
    Do you have any recommendations for flavor boosters when these are left out? Just bump up the other spices?

  4. This recipe was delish! It looked way too simple to be good, but it was amazing. Thank you.


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)