Cocoa Chili Flank Steak

Feb 19, 2019

Cocoa & Ancho Chili Flank Steak Tacos!  For taco Tuesday? 

You are going to have to trust me on this one, because these cocoa and ancho chili flank steak tacos are the bomb!  I get it we’re past Valentine’s day.  Why am I still adding chocolate to everything?  Because chocolate is amazing!  Which means these tacos are out of this world!⁣

Alright, I’m done ranting and raving about this flavor combination… for now. 

I am all about getting in the kitchen and seeing what possible flavor combinations work well together.  This usually consists of some trial and error.  However, if you follow a few simple rules even you can come up with your own flavor combinations.  

The Five Main Flavor Profiles

  • Sweet
  • Salty
  • Bitter
  • Sour
  • Umami (savory)

These are the five main flavor profiles that are perceived by our mouth via our taste buds.  Some flavor combinations balance or enhance each other such as sweet and salty or sweet and sour.  Playing around with a bit of ingredients from each of these categories in a dish can balance out the dish’s overall flavor and taste perception.

Balancing and Enhancing

One way I play with flavor is by choosing my main flavor highlight of the dish.  In this recipe’s case it was cocoa powder.  To balance out the bitterness of the cocoa I chose to add ancho chili powder.  Ancho chili powder is mild in heat level and has a slight amount of sweetness that pairs well with the bitter flavor from cocoa powder.

Traditional Seasonings and Spices

I also like to think about traditional flavors and seasonings used in the type of dish I am making.  When we think of tacos chili powder and cumin come to mind.  By adding a familiar seasoning such as cumin to the rub we instantly know this is a Mexican taco dish.  Cinnamon is also used to enhance many Mexican dishes, so I added a tad of that.  Studying traditional spices and seasonings used in certain cuisines can be a huge game changer.

What flavor combos do you like to experiment with?  Let me know! 

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Cocoa Chili Flank Steak

Cocoa Chili Flank Steak

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  • Author: Heather Lasco, RD
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


Serving up a delicious taco Tuesday with these cocoa chili flank steak tacos!



Steak Rub:

  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 11.5 lbs flank steak
  • 1 tbsp Cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp Ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 + cayenne pepper
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

For the tacos:

  • Tortillas
  • 1 Avocado, diced
  • 2 Tomatos, diced
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • Cilantro
  • 1Lime, quartered


  1. Heat a pan to medium-high heat with high heat oil such as avocado oil.
  2. Mix the steak rub seasonings together in a small bowl. Dry the steak completely before rubbing both sides of the steak generously with the seasoning mixture.
  3. Place the steak in the heated pan and heat for 7 minutes. Flip the steak and heat for another 5-7 minutes.
  4. Remove steak from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Cut into slices against the grain.
  5. Assemble tacos and enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Dinner, Tacos
  • Cuisine: Mexican


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heather lasco confidently nourished dietitian

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