Snacks are my favorite.
Namely, things like cheese and crackers, popcorn, tzatziki and veggies, a piece or two of dark chocolate, or these chicken ranch nachos. You may remember me talking about them a few months ago and confessing that they are a full-on addiction in our house. Like, it’s a fix that is needed, no, REQUIRED, once a week.
We recently have cut back (most unenthusiastically, of course), because well, you can’t live on chips and cheese forever, right? Or can you? If someone knows the secret to that magic, please share.
We are so obsessed with the flavor and texture combination of those nachos, however, that I am constantly trying to come up with new, lighter ways to get our fix. I’ve made the nachos into a salad, which is basically all the ingredients minus the chips and cheese. Tasty but not as…satisfying. I have made them into enchiladas (recipe coming your way soonish!), but when it comes to caloric concerns, enchiladas are not much better than nachos. Whomp whomp.
I decided it was time to layer all the flavors and textures of our beloved nachos in avocados! Yup! Little taco-stuffed avocado boats, if you will.
Not only were these more satisfying than my salad version, but they were ALMOST as good as the actual nachos themselves. Almost. It feels slightly blasphemous to suggest anything coming that close. I’ll have to pay my respects to the Nacho Gods after I publish this post.
The buttery avocado was a great substitute for the cheesy chip layer of the nachos. There’s still a LITTLE cheese going on here, but nothing to write home about. Cheese is life, people. I have to include it in SOME capacity, or a little piece of me dies. The extra heft (and good fat!) that the avocado adds here is wonderful. These kept us full long after the fact and with a fraction of the guilt we would often feel after polishing off a whole tray of the nachos (between two people, mind you. Not exactly something you want to be doing once or twice a week).
These nachos substitutes are awesome for this time of year. Not only are a lot of people pushing the reset button on their eating habits, but it’s still football season! Our Eagles are still in the playoffs (pinch me), and coming up with ways to snack during the games without feeling like an absolute walrus after the fact is a challenge! These taco-stuffed avocados have been a lifesaver these past few weeks! I find myself actually craving them over the usual pizza, wings, or buffalo chicken dip.
I will be nervously watching the Eagles game this weekend, and I plan on having a tray of these at the ready. Not only to satisfy the ever-present nacho craving, but also because I’ll likely be stress-eating throughout the entire game.
Send good vibes (and beer!), please!
2 teaspoons canola oil
½ lb ground chicken breast
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and pepper, to taste
The cooked taco-spice chicken
1½ cups shredded or finely chopped romaine lettuce
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
½ tablespoon finely chopped pickled jalapeños (or to taste)
½ cup halved or quartered cherry tomatoes
2 scallions, chopped
½ cup grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese (or a combo of the two)
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon ranch dressing, plus more for serving
4 ripe but firm avocados, halved and pitted
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once it is hot, add the chicken and begin breaking it up with a wooden spoon or spatula.
Add the spices and pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 3-5 minutes, tossing almost constantly, or until all the chicken is crumbled up and cooked through. If the skillet gets too dry, add a splash of water during the cooking process.
Remove the chicken from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Add the chicken mixture to a mixing bowl. Add in the lettuce, onion, jalapeños, tomatoes, scallions, and cheese.
Stir the ingredients together gently until they are evenly combined.
Juice in the lime and add the ranch dressing and toss everything to evenly coat.
Spoon the mixture into the avocado halves and spritz again with lime juice. Drizzle with additional ranch (optional) and serve!
To make this even easier, you can use store-bought pre-packaged taco spice mix instead of the individual spices. It’s cheaper to make your own mix at home, but in a pinch, store-bought is certainly fine!
Feel free to make these your own! Add your favorite nacho/taco ingredients. There's a lot of room for creativity here.