Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos
If you want to make a dinner out of nachos, this is how.
They’re loaded with avocado chunks, juicy tomatoes and corn, and bbq sauce-smothered chicken nuggets.
Or in my case, chicken-less chicken nuggets, and you can use vegan cheese to keep them vegan.
They’ll be a guaranteed hit with who ever is lucky enough to indulge in this melty cheese fest, and they’re ready in 30 minutes.
Begin by dicing the nuggets and tossing them with bbq sauce. I used Trader Joe’s chicken-less nuggets, or try Morningstar, real chicken nuggets, or leftover shredded chicken. Whatever chicken option used, it needs a healthy soak in a bbq sauce bath for flavor, and so nuggets stay juicy and saucy during baking.
I used TJ’s Carolina Gold bbq sauce, which is new to me. There’s a touch of molasses, and it’s a little sweet with a slight kick. My not quite 7-year old doesn’t like sauces that are too hot and this one wasn’t.
After the nuggets are marinating, add corn tortilla chips in a pie dish, cover with shredded (vegan) cheese, top with tomato, avocado, corn, and then add the sauced up nuggets.
Sprinkle with a little more cheese and bake until the cheese is melted. So easy.
The recipe is highly adaptable and if you want to add a handful of black beans, refried beans, jalepenos, bell peppers, bean and corn salsa, or anything else you love on your nachos, go for it. Don’t like avocado? Omit.
I don’t think they need sour cream, salsa, pico de gallo, guac, or other dippers because there’s already so many great flavors, but it can’t hurt if you hoard condiments like I do and have any or all on hand.
Some of the chips stayed perfectly crisp, while others softened from the melted cheese, juicy tomatoes and corn, and the saucy nuggets. The balance of crispy and crunchy, tempered with soft and chewy, is just perfect. Every bite is total comfort food, and I’ll happily skip dinner for these.
I love eating food that’s rich in color, and the pops of green, orange, and red draw me in. And the subtle texture from the avocado, corn, and tomato are welcome against the soft, gooey cheese.
Having some ‘vegetables’ at every meal is a good thing, too. That is, if you can call corn a vegetable. And avocado and tomatoes are really fruits, but who’s counting. Especially when you’re having nachos for dinner.
The flavor from the bbq sauce gently permeates the dish, and everything takes on a smoky yet slightly sweet with heat quality. Make sure you like the bbq you choose and I loved this one.
My daughter’s favorite part was picking off the chicken-less nuggets. I’ve never met a kid who didn’t like nuggets.
Or most adults. Especially ones who watch games. This is perfect Superbowl food.
Loaded BBQ Chicken Nugget Nachos (with vegan/GF options)
You can make a dinner out of these nachos. They're loaded with avocado chunks, juicy tomatoes and corn, and bbq sauce-smothered chicken(less) nuggets. Some of the chips stayed perfectly crisp, while others soften from the melted cheese, juicy tomatoes and corn, and saucy nuggets. The balance of crispy and crunchy, tempered with soft and chewy, is wonderful. The flavor from the bbq sauce gently permeates the nachos, and everything takes on a smoky yet slightly sweet with heat quality. The recipe is highly adaptable and if you want to add a handful of black beans, refried beans, jalepenos, bell peppers, or salsa, feel free. The recipe can be kept vegan by using chickenless/faux nuggets and vegan cheese. The recipe can be kept gluten-free by using a protein without breading provided corn chips are GF.
Yield: one 9-inch round pie dish, 4 meal-sized portions
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: about 18 minutes
Total Time: about 30 minutes
8 ounces chicken(less) nuggets, thawed and diced into 1/2-inch pieces (shredded chicken may be substituted)
about 1 cup bbq sauce
4 to 5 cups corn tortilla chips, or enough to cover pie dish base with some overlapping
6 ounces shredded (vegan) cheese, divided
1 medium ripe tomato, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium ripe avocado, peeled, de-seeded, and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)
1/2 cup black beans, jalepenos, black olives, or diced bell peppers, all optional
cilantro, sour cream, salsa, guac, pico de gallo, all are optional for garnishing and serving
- Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly spray a 9-inch round pie dish with cooking spray; set aside.
- Thaw and then dice the chicken nuggets into 1/2-inch pieces.
- Place nuggets in a medium bowl, cover with about 1 cup bbq sauce, and toss gently to evenly coat. Use enough bbq sauce so the nuggets are really juicy and well-coated. Set bowl aside while assembling the nachos; nuggets will soak up some of the bbq sauce.
- Add corn chips to prepared pie dish, arranging chips so the base of pie dish is completely covered. Chips need to overlap in places so there aren't gaps. I made a double-layer of chips.
- Evenly sprinkle about 4 ounces cheese over chips.
- Evenly sprinkle the tomato, avocado, corn, and any optional toppings.
- Evenly sprinkle with the chicken nuggets. My nuggets were very moist and drippy, and I drizzled on of the residual bbq sauce from the marinating bowl.
- Evenly sprinkle with the remaining cheese, about 2 ounces.
- Bake for about 18 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly, melted, and nachos are done. Baking times may vary widely based on brand and type of cheese used, juiciness of nuggets, moisture level in tomato, avo, corn, if optional ingredients were used, climate and oven variance, etc. Watch your nachos, not the clock.
- Optionally, garnish and serve nachos with cilantro, sour cream, salsa, guac, pico de gallo. Nachos are best fresh and warm.
Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
Chips and Cheese Chili Casserole (vegetarian/vegan, GF) – Chips are baked right into this easy and cheesy filling casserole. A hit with kids, busy moms, and football fans alike
Creamy Baked Double Cheese and Onion Dip (gluten-free) – One of my favorite dips and I used to think I hated onions. Stir it together in one bowl in minutes and bake for cheesy comfort food
One-Hour Sweet with Heat Tomato and Pepper Chutney (vegan, GF) – The best tomato chutney that’s like a sweet-with-heat salsa meets chunky marinara
Loaded Baked Tater Tot Dip – Favorite baked potato fixings baked together in a dip
Double Melted Cheese and Red Pepper Dip (GF) – aka Queso Dip or Ro-Tel Dip – Comes together in five minutes in the microwave. Creamy, cheesy, with just a bit of heat
Lightened Up Spinach and Artichoke Dip (Fat-Free, Vegan, Gluten-Free)
Macaroni and Cheese Baked Cheese Balls – A perfect use for the leftover macaroni that gets cold and stiff in your refrigerator. Bread it, bake it, devour it
Corn and Double Cheese Dip (vegan, GF, fat free, serve warm or cold) – A five-minute dip to toss together and full of texture from the corn and peppers. It can also be baked like today’s dip if you have extra time
Cheater’s Guacaomole (vegan, GF) – Nothing to dice, mince, or chop in this easy guac
Cheesy Taco Casserole (gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan) – Like tacos, but baked into casserole form, complete with rice and beans. Makes planned leftovers that can be frozen for those nights you need a shortcut