Sharing my new favorite tacos: steak tacos with chipotle sauce & roasted cabbage slaw. The steak is seared simply in a hot cast iron skillet, then piled into charred corn tortillas. The smoky slaw adds body to the tacos, while the vibrant, tangy sauce ties everything together. Add some crumbled queso fresco and you’ve got the tastiest tacos for any night of the week!
steak tacos with chipotle sauce & roasted cabbage slaw – the details
You’ll start these steak tacos off by roasting the vegetables for the slaw – purple cabbage as the base, red pepper for sweetness, poblano pepper for smokiness, and red onion to round it all out.
The cabbage becomes tender after roasting, with crisp edges that make for a really unique slaw texture. While a classic slaw is crisp and refreshing, this slaw is smoky and hearty. All of the vegetables get tossed with some of the chipotle sauce – a mixture of orange juice & zest, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, honey, and olive oil.
The sauce is bright and tangy, with lots of zesty orange flavor and plenty of rich heat from the chipotle peppers. All of the ingredients are simply blended up in a food processor until smooth. It’s a light sauce, but still adds creaminess to the tacos.
Once the cabbage slaw and chipotle sauce are made, you’re ready to cook the skirt steak and assemble the tacos! Skirt steak is one of my favorite cuts of meat to cook. It’s thin and cooks up really quickly in a hot skillet, developing a nice char on the outside while staying tender on the inside.
While the steak rests, you can char the corn tortillas by placing them directly over an open flame on your stovetop. After just a few seconds on each side, they’ll be soft, warm, and nicely charred around the edges.
Pile everything into those tortillas, along with an extra drizzle of sauce + queso fresco cheese, and dig in!Print
Steak Tacos with Chipotle Sauce & Roasted Cabbage Slaw
steak tacos in charred corn tortillas with chipotle sauce, roasted cabbage slaw, and queso fresco
servings: 4 (approximately 12 tacos)
- 1 ½ lbs skirt steak*
- 1 lb purple cabbage, cored + thinly sliced
- 1 large red pepper, halved + seeded
- 1 large poblano pepper, halved + seeded
- 1 red onion, cored + cut into ½” wedges
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 12 tortillas, charred over an open flame
- 6 oz queso fresco, crumbled
- ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 1 (7oz) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
- 2 tbsp honey
- ¾ cup neutral oil (such as safflower)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Place the halved peppers and red onion wedges onto a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Arrange the peppers and red onions cut-side down. Roast for 35-40 minutes. Toss the cabbage with a drizzle of olive oil on another sheet pan. Spread the cabbage into an even layer and season with a pinch of salt. Roast the cabbage for 25-30 minutes. Everything should be tender and caramelized.
- Pat the skirt steak dry and allow it to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, for the chipotle sauce, combine the orange juice, orange zest, chipotle peppers (with all of the adobo sauce), and honey in a food processor. Process until smooth. With the processor running, stream in the oil. Season with salt to taste and set aside.
- Allow the vegetables to cool slightly. Peel the skins off the peppers. Thinly slice the red pepper, finely chop the poblano pepper, and roughly chop the red onion. Add everything to a mixing bowl, along with the green onions and a ½ cup of the chipotle sauce. Toss to combine.
- Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough neutral oil to just coat the bottom of the skillet. Season the skirt steak generously with salt. Once the oil is hot, work in batches to sear the skirt steak for about 3-5 minutes per side (depending on the thickness of the meat), or until cooked to your desired doneness. Transfer the steak to a cutting board, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak against the grain into bite-sized pieces.
- Assemble the tacos in the charred tortillas with the slaw on the bottom, then a few slices of steak, a drizzle of sauce, and a sprinkle of queso fresco over top.
When you ask the butcher for skirt steak at most meat counters, the steak will come in really long strips. Typically, the steak will be too long to fit into a skillet. You can ask the butcher to cut the steak into more manageable pieces, ones that would fit into a 12” skillet. Or, you can cut the steak yourself by slicing it crosswise into 3 or 4 pieces.