Love and Olive Oil

Coriander Chicken Tostadas with Refried Beans and Grilled Fennel

Coriander Chicken Tostadas with Refried Beans and Grilled Fennel

Am I the only one that thinks coriander tastes like fruit loops? Or, more likely, the fruitiness of coriander is used as a primary flavoring in the cereal of my youth (in combination with a number of other, not so natural flavorings I’m sure). I swear, every time I’m grinding up a batch of the spice it’s like déjà vu, which is probably why coriander is one of my all-time favorite spices.

Take this recipe for example: you might as well be eating fruit loop crusted chicken, without all the sugar. And dyes. And preservatives. And probably a heck of a lot healthier too.

The combination of the fruity and fragrantly spiced chicken, rich caramelized fennel, and the hearty white bean mixture makes for a unique meal. It’s an unexpected pairing of flavors and textures that just works. We left off the radishes because, well, after that episode last summer with the contaminated daikon, we just haven’t had any taste for them. No loss there.

Something else I’ve learned about myself and life in general: tostadas are silly. They are impossible to eat. You end up breaking the flat shell into pieces and eating the dish like it was a plate of nachos. So not cool. So while chicken tostadas might sound exotic, I may suggest using tortillas or taco shells instead. That’s what we did the 2nd time we made this. Much more practical. And I’m all about practical.

Coriander Chicken Tostadas with Refried Beans and Grilled Fennel

Did you make this recipe?


2 15-ounce cans pinto beans (preferably organic), liquid drained and reserved
1/2 cup chopped white onion
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse kosher salt

1 large fresh fennel bulb, trimmed, cut through core into 1/3-inch-thick slices (some slices will separate)
6 tablespoons safflower oil, divided
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1/3 cup coriander seeds (about 1 ounce), coarsely crushed in plastic bag

6 purchased corn tostada shells (or soft corn tortillas lightly pan fried in oil)
3 cups thinly sliced romaine lettuce
6 radishes, trimmed, thinly sliced (optional)
6 fresh cilantro sprigs
Lime wedges


To prepare beans:
Place beans, onion, oregano, garlic, chiles, and cumin in processor; blend to chunky puree.

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add bean mixture and 1/2 cup reserved bean liquid. Stir over medium-low heat until warmed through, adding more bean liquid if dry, about 5 minutes. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Rewarm before using.)

To prepare topping:
Brush fennel slices with 11/2 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add fennel slices. Sear until lightly browned and crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to plate. Cut into strips. Reserve skillet.

Using rolling pin or a meat mallet, flatten chicken between sheets of plastic wrap to 1/4- to 1/3-inch-thick cutlets. Spread out coriander seeds on sheet of foil. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; coat with coriander seeds.

Heat 4 1/2 tablespoons oil in reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, if necessary, add chicken to skillet. Sauté until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to work surface. Cool 5 minutes. Cut chicken in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/3-inch-wide strips.

To assemble: top each tostada shell with beans, lettuce, radishes, fennel, chicken, and cilantro sprig. Serve with lime wedges.

Recipe from Bon Appetit.

All images and text © / Love & Olive Oil

Did you make this recipe?

Let us know what you think!
Leave a Comment below or share a photo and tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #loveandoliveoil.

There may be affiliate links in this post. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I always think of Fruit Loops whenever I’m grinding freshly toasted coriander seed! I found your website while Googling this very subject. How funny. :-)

  2. This sounds/looks DELICIOUS! Thanks for posting. Will be trying soon.

  3. Grilled fennel, that sounds so interesting! These look beautiful and yummy.

  4. This looks like something I must try. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. I love your site and I love coriander. Never having been a fan of fruit loops it’s hard for me to make the comparison. So nice meeting you tonight at Whole Foods, see you in the morning.

  6. I made tostadas a few weeks ago, and I love them!! I used the homemade style tortillas, so they ended up a little soft (still crunchy on the outside). I really liked them that way, and they were a little easier to eat.

  7. Thank you for this recipe! The fennel was delicious and so aromatic. I subbed leeks for the onion and it added great sweetness/butteriness.

  8. For some reason, I just can’t picture how this would taste. I guess that’s a good reason to try it, right? Looks delish!

    P.S. I totally agree…tostadas ARE silly.

  9. Grilled fennel is one of my favorite things in the world to eat. I find it so delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  10. Love the addition of the grilled fennel! These look like they are packed with great flavors – a must make! Enjoy your week ahead!

  11. This is perfect I just picked up a bag of coriander and put it in my spice rack. It looks awesome but I had no idea what to do with it. This is definitely a great recipe I will try it!

  12. Haha, I can’t agree with the coriander-Froot Loop comparison, but TOTALLY with you on the tostada! Too messy- just go ahead and make nachos instead!

  13. Too funny, I just ripped out this recipe last night! It was like deja vu when you popped up in my reader :) Can’t wait to give these a try!

  14. Coriander is my favourite herb – I had to giggle at you describing that it tastes like fruit loops. My aunt says it tastes like what tree bugs smell like – oh dear!
    Great recipe – minus the fennel for me though.
    :-) Mandy

  15. Yummm this looks so good

    I have to say that I have never connected fruit loops with coriander.. Ill have to think about it next time I’m using it

  16. Froot loops and chicken. Sounds fascinating…. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I discovered roasted fennel this winter but have yet to try it grilled. This sounds like a great recipe to try when the weather gets warm here in New Jersey. If it ever does.

  17. Hm…I can see what you mean with the coriander. I love it — I use it in my chana masala, which I must make every Saturday. Grilled fennel is one of my favorite things in the world to eat. So delicious.

  18. I’ve actually never used coriander, but if it tastes like fruit loops, count me in! :)

Did you make this recipe? Leave a Review »