Spice things up this Taco Tuesday, or any day of the week, with Caribbean inspired tacos. These slightly spicy and sweet chicken tacos are served with a homemade coleslaw and pineapple salsa.
Tacos made quite a few appearances when I was growing up.
Mom used to make tacos from time to time. She would buy the kits that included hard shells, a seasoning packet, and some taco sauce, which just resembled watery salsa. We would add loads of cheese and sour cream and called it a day. Then, one faithful evening, I had dinner over at my best friends place, and their mom made soft tacos, and I forever said good-bye to the hard taco shell. Then came summer camp, where I had my first taco salad, and decided that I kinda didn’t mind the hard shells/tortilla chips after all. For a few summers in high school, I worked at a local waterpark, which meant getting paid to get a tan, and it was a sweet gig. At the canteen, they made taco in a bag, which solidified my love affair with tacos.
As much as I love beef tacos, I find chicken or fish tacos far more appealing, largely because they offer much more variety. I also prefer to limit my red meat intake, and leaner options, like chicken, fill the void. This recipe for Caribbean spiced chicken tacos is our new favourite. The spice blend isn’t too hot, but can definitely be made spicy if that’s your thing. It’s influenced by the flavours of the Caribbean, which showcase spices such as allspice, ginger, and cayenne pepper. The pineapple salsa might be my favourite part of the whole dish. I love making grilled teriyaki chicken breast topped with this salsa, and it works wonders for these tacos as well. It’s bright, fresh, and sweet, which balances the spices on the chicken. Growing up slathering tacos in sour cream has resulted in the desire for some sort of creaminess on my tacos, so for these, I made a quick, classic coleslaw. The coleslaw adds great crunchy texture and really balances the whole taco. If you make your tacos spicy, the creamy coleslaw will help cut through the heat.
These Caribbean Spiced Chicken Tacos have quickly become a family favourite. They’re quick and easy to make, packed full of bright, fresh flavours, and are super delicious!
Caribbean Spiced Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lime juice
Caribbean Spice Blend
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning blend
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
- 1/2 tsp smoked sweet paprika or smoked hot if you like extra heat
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 2 cups coleslaw mix *I use the store-bought bags that are a mix of carrots and cabbage
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tsp vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast cut into strips
- 8 flour or corn tortillas
- lime wedges for serving
- cilantro for serving
Mix pineapple, onion, red pepper, salt, and lime juice together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together all the spices and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together mayo, vinegar and sugar. Stir in the coleslaw mix until it's fully coated. It might be a little on the saucy side after it sits for a bit. Feel free to add more coleslaw mix right before serving.
To make the tacos
Place the sliced chicken into a bowl and sprinkle chicken with about 1 tbsp of the seasoning blend. Toss or stir to coat. Sprinkle with another 1 tbsp or so of the seasoning and toss or stir again until all the chicken is well coated. You will not need all of the seasoning blend.
Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook the chicken for 5 minutes on one side (refrain from moving the chicken once it's in the pan. The undisrupted contact with the pan will help the chicken cook faster, and caramelize). After 5 minutes, flip, and cook for another 3 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (internal temperature should be 165°F).
Fill each tortilla with some coleslaw, a few strips of chicken, and pineapple salsa. Serve immediately. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro, if desired.
Recipe adapted from Creme De La Crumb