I travelled all the way to Mexico City last month in search of the best chilaquiles, tacos and quesadillas I could find. I found all of the above, plus quite a few new-to-me Mexican combinations of cheese, flatbread and cactus or mushrooms.
On our last morning there, I walked to the loveliest French-Mexican café down the street called Lardo and ordered chilaquiles verdes. Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican breakfast made with tortilla chips simmered in sauce (green or red). I happily sat at the bar solo, sipping my cappuccino, admiring all of the copper design details, eavesdropping on the American family nearby, and imagining how fun it might be to travel with my own family someday.
Then my chilaquiles arrived, and all focus shifted to the gorgeous food placed before me. I didn’t know that tortilla chips and salsa could be so beautiful, but these were piled high and covered with dollops of queso fresco, fresh green cilantro leaves and lots of creamy diced avocado. (No egg; apparently I was supposed to order that separately, but I loved them as is).
The chips were perfectly tender, not soggy or too poky. The salsa tasted super fresh, and wasn’t overpowered by the flavor of fried chips. I’ve read that the sauce for chilaquiles varies by region (sometimes it’s red), but I think that green sauce is more traditional in Mexico City. Those chilaquiles tasted as good as they looked, and I vowed to recreate them promptly when I got home.
Which I did, opting to bake my tortilla chips rather than using store-bought or frying my own (big pots of oil scare me). I also made my favorite salsa verde. I tried a variety of toppings and landed on a combination of feta (in lieu of queso fresco or Cotija), red onion (for some color and heat), fresh cilantro, fried eggs (optional), and, of course, avocado.
I carefully picked out just-ripe avocado at the store, and then I forgot to add it for the photos. I went all the way to Mexico City for this chilaquiles recipe, and I forgot to add the avocado. Head smack!
I might redo these photos soon to add the avocado. It’s more essential than the eggs! If you’d like to go the extra mile and dollop some of the best guacamole ever on top, I don’t think you’ll regret it. Would you like to see a chilaquiles rojos recipe (chilaquiles with red sauce) sometime?
Chilaquiles Verdes with Baked Tortilla Chips
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Breakfast
- Cuisine: Mexican
This delicious Mexican chilaquiles verdes recipe is made lighter with freshly baked tortilla chips! Add salsa verde, fried eggs (optional), and fresh garnishes for an epic breakfast, brunch or dinner. Recipe yields 4 servings.
Baked Tortilla Chips
- 16 corn tortillas
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt or 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cups (24 ounces) salsa verde—either homemade* or store-bought**
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 4 fried eggs (optional)
- 1 avocado, diced
- ⅓ cup crumbled Cotija, queso fresco or feta cheese
- 3 tablespoons chopped red onion or green onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- To bake the chips: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
- Brush both sides of each tortilla lightly with oil. Stack the tortillas, 4 at once, and slice them into 8 wedges. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Divide the wedges between the two baking sheets and arrange them evenly across the pans (it’s ok if the chips overlap; they’ll shrink significantly as they bake). Sprinkle half the salt over one pan and half over the other.
- Bake, swapping the pans on their racks every 5 minutes, until the chips are curling up at the edges and some are starting to turn golden on the edges. Keep an eye on the top rack especially, as those tend to finish baking first. Once you see the chips on the top rack turn golden on the edges, remove that pan and move the pan on the lower rack up to the top. Bake until those chips start turning golden on the edges, then remove from the oven.
- Once the chips are out of the oven, warm the olive oil in a large, non-reactive (stainless steel, enameled cast iron or non-stick) skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Once it’s shimmering, add the salsa verde, being careful to avoid splatters.
- Raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a simmer, then remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the tortilla chips and cilantro until all of the chips are lightly coated, then cover and let the mixture rest (off the heat) until the chips have softened slightly, about 2 to 5 minutes.
- Uncover the pot and add the toppings of your choice, then divide the chilaquiles onto individual plates. The chips will continue softening with time, so chilaquiles are best served promptly (do not re-cover the pan to preserve heat; the chips will get far too soggy).