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Spicy BBQ Chicken Taco Boats

May 2, 2017 by Nicole Collins

Happy Taco Tuesday!

Do you guys remember when Taco Tuesday fell on Cinco de Mayo a couple years back? It was pretty much the best thing to ever happen to Tuesday. So, since this is Cinco de Mayo week, we have to do something special for Taco Tuesday.

I definitely don't need a reason or a designated day of the week to eat tacos. And I certainly don't need a holiday to tell me to shove Mexican flavored goodness in my face. I pretty much live for tacos...and nachos...and guac...and margaritas. If I had to pick one thing to eat for the rest of my life, there's a good chance my answer would be tacos.

Today, we're switching it up a little bit and we're eating our taco in a boat. I know! I saw these adorable taco boats staring up at me from the store shelf, and I instantly knew that I had to stuff them with delicious things.

Here's the thing though...truth be told, as gorgeous as these taco bowls are when they're all put together, I had no idea the proper way to eat them. Do you fork and knife it? Do you pick it up like a taco and stuff your face with it? I experimented with both, and here's what I can tell you. If you're in the presence of others, the fork and knife method is the way to go. These are stuffed so full of deliciousness, it was definitely not very lady like when I picked these up and went face first in to the boat. It really doesn't matter how you eat these, as long as you do it asap! You could totally avoid the issue completely and just use a flour tortilla shell, but that wouldn't be nearly as entertaining.

So, here's the line up...we start with a little shredded romaine lettuce to line the bed of the boats. Next, we layer on some spicy bbq chicken. After that goes the pineapple corn salsa. Then, we top it all with some shredded pepperjack cheese and some avocado ranch sauce.

These boats hit us on ALL levels...spicy, sweet, creamy, crunchy, soft, tangy. I can't even make you understand how amazing they are! Using your favorite BBQ sauce allows you to control the spice level from the get go, while still adding a little kick to it when we mix in some adobo sauce. The salsa almost didn't make it to the boats, because it was so incredible, I was just eating it on its own with a spoon. But that avocado ranch seals the deal. It's the perfect lite sauce to tie everything together.

And if these indulgent boats couldn't get any better, they're totally healthy! I think that sounds like the permission we need to have some extra chips and margaritas. Sound like a plan?

I hope these boats make an appearance on your Taco Tuesday menu AND your Cinco de Mayo menu this year. You might just make these your “only thing to eat for the rest of forever”.

Let's eat!


Spicy BBQ Chicken Taco Boat

Serves: 4 Print


For the Spicy BBQ Chicken:

  • 2 cups cooked chicken, shredded

  • ½ cup barbecue sauce

  • 1 tbsp adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle chiles)

  • juice of 1 lime

For the Pineapple Corn Salsa:

  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, diced

  • ½ jalapeno, finely diced

  • ¼ cup red onion, diced

  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped

  • ½ cup corn, cooked (fresh or frozen is fine)

  • 1/8 tsp salt

For Avocado Ranch:

  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted

  • ½ cup sour cream

  • 2 tsp ranch dip mix

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tbsp milk

  • juice of 1 lime

For the Taco Bowl:

  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, shredded

  • 8 whole wheat taco bowls

  • ½ cup shredded pepperjack cheese


  1. Make the chicken: Mix all ingredients for the chicken in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds to blend the flavors. Stir the mix again to make sure it's all combined. Set aside.

  2. Make the salsa: Toss all ingredients for salsa in a bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.

  3. Make the avocado ranch: Add all ingredients for sauce in a food processor. Blend until smooth.

  4. To assemble, evenly divide all ingredients between each taco bowl. Start by layering lettuce on the bottom of the boat, top with chicken, then salsa, then cheese. Drizzle with avocado ranch sauce, to taste.

Recipe notes:

*If you can't find or don't want to use taco boats, flour tortillas will work too. You can also use regular taco boats instead of whole wheat boats, if you prefer.

*You'll have plenty of avocado ranch left, so it's a great dipper for some veggies.

*Fresh pineapple works best in this. Canned pineapple tends to hold more moisture which makes the salsa a little wet, but it would certainly work in a pinch.

*Use your favorite BBQ sauce for this. I used a sweet and spicy bbq sauce to add an extra kick.

*To make your sauce drizzle pretty, spoon some sauce in to a sandwich bag, snip one corner, and use the sandwich bag as a piping tool to control the distribution of the sauce.

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