Shredded Chicken Tacos with Watermelon Salsa


I have a little bit of a rant in addition to a recipe today. If you are not interested in the rant, feel free to skip down a few paragraphs.

Being gluten-free is a drag. Seriously. I’m doing everything I can to put a positive spin on it but, at the end of the day, we all know it’s hard not to be able to eat whatever you want without worrying about getting sick.

My son, Jeremy, who has celiac as well, has been amazing. He is so aware of what he can and can’t have and is very careful in and out of the house. I am careful too. However, for some reason, it doesn’t stop us from getting sick sometimes. I think we are so sensitive, either because we have celiac, because we have not eaten gluten at all or some combination of factors, we can get symptoms from cross-contamination very easily.

When I have that knowing ache on the left side of my abdomen and experience days of major discomfort in addition to other symptoms or when my son is obviously suffering, I get so frustrated and perplexed. It’s not like we “cheated” and had a slice of pizza or a cupcake. We are always trying to be so careful. That’s the part about having celiac disease that really upsets me. Does a gluten-free diet actually cure this disease?

I spoke to a writer at Allergic Living about this today, Lisa Fitterman. She has written some really great articles about celiac disease and is looking into this issue. I am really looking forward to reading her story.

In the meantime, I will continue to eat and live gluten-free and enjoy the days when we see the benefits of knowing we have celiac disease and feeling well. For those of you who are wondering if you should try this “diet” on for size. I highly recommend you don’t unless you truly have to do so. I promise, it is not as glamorous as some Hollywood stars are making it out to be and my guess is, if you eliminate gluten from your diet for a while, you may start getting sick when you put it back in from time to time. Just a guess…curious to know some of your thoughts and/or experiences with this.

Ok. Enough of my rant. Now onto the recipe. I’m so excited to do another cooking demo at Whole Foods in Yonkers on Saturday, June 14th. I hope you will join us! This time, they asked me to come up with a kid-friendly recipe. My kids love tacos. The best part about them is setting up the fix-ins on the table and letting everyone design their own. It’s one meal that works for everyone from your pickiest eater to your most adventurous.

I used a rotisserie chicken in this recipe in order to make it a quick and easy weeknight meal any busy family can enjoy. The watermelon salsa is so refreshing and can be used as a topping on your taco or a side fruit salad.  I put some guacamole and cheddar cheese on my chicken taco and loved it. I’m sure sour cream would be great too.

Watermelon Salsa

Shredded Chicken Tacos with Watermelon Salsa
Cuisine: Main Dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 2 cups, watermelon, cubed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 scallions, white parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp mint, thinly sliced into ribbons or chopped
  • ½ lime, juiced
  • ¼ tsp turbinado sugar
  • 2 tbsp avocado or canola oil, divided
  • 1 whole rotisserie chicken, meat pulled and shredded
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 Italian pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, chopped, plus extra for garnish
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 corn tortillas, warmed
  • Additional Optional Toppings:
  • sharp cheddar cheese
  • guacamole
  • sour cream
  1. Toss all ingredients for watermelon salsa together in a serving bowl and refrigerate while preparing other ingredients (about 10-15 minutes) to allow the flavors to marry.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add shredded chicken , garlic salt, chili powder and cumin
  3. Once chicken begins to brown slightly, add chicken stock, bring to a boil and reduce to simmering for about 3-5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed
  4. Remove chicken to a serving dish and heat remaining tbsp oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add red onion, Italian and red peppers and sauté until starting to brown but not too soft, about 3-4 minutes. Add sliced garlic and cilantro and sauté for 1 more minute, until fragrant. Season with salt and pepper and remove to a separate serving bowl.
  5. Serve family-style with warm tortillas, additional optional toppings and enjoy!




  • 1. Yum
    2. Could the rotisserie chicken be an issue for you? I stopped buying it because our Whole Foods couldn’t confirm it was GF.
    3 I buy organic chicken breast in bulk, boil them up with onions, carrots, celery. Then I season with GF taco seasoning, shred and freeze the chicken in portions so that my teens can make tacos whenever they want. I freeze the stock in individual portions too, so they can make a quick soup after school.
    3. Since my daughter was diagnosed celiac, I also went GF – trying to be supportive and since I carry the gene (but tested -ve) I thought it might be a good idea. Ha Ha. Well, I never had symptoms before, but now I am get symptoms akin to glutening, so your hypothesis about bringing on the disease, could be correct (or maybe I was a silent celiac or would have developed it anyway) I think it is all far more complicated than we realize. And I agree, with hindsight, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who doesn’t need to do it.

    • Hi Sarah!

      1. Thank you! 🙂

      2. I haven’t had an issue but to be fair, I did not specifically ask if it was free from cross-contamination. I just read the ingredients and assumed ok. I will have to look into it more. Appreciate the heads up.

      3. Love that idea!!! I actually boil whole chickens a lot and use the broth for adding flavor to soups, stews, etc…

      I really appreciate your comments and tips. Take care!


  • I needed to read this post today! You are so correct on how unglamorous this lifestyle really is. I am currently suffering left sided pain, headache, nausea and fatigue from a huge mistake at Red Robin on Saturday night. They put deep fried jalapeños on my burger (on a gluten free bun) instead of bacon. I had one bite. One stinking small bite that was so spicy my mouth was burning through three lemonades. I ate nothing for dinner that night, and I’ve been paying for it ever since. I don’t even know why I try anymore. Actually, I do know why I try… because sometimes you just get tired of cooking all your food from scratch and you’d really like to have someone cook a meal for you!
    Thanks so much for your recipes and ideas. You are amazing, and make my life delicious. I will certainly try this idea out, but like the previous poster, I’ve been so sick on rotisserie chicken that I just can’t trust it. Like everything else out there 🙁

    • Thanks, Therese!

      I’m sorry about that experience and yes, I totally get it. It is so nice to have someone else do the cooking from time to time but, I am getting to the point where the cons sometimes outweigh the pros.

      So happy my recipes are helpful. “Making your life delicious” is the best compliment ever! :)


  • Hello Jackie,

    my hubby is very sensitive ( he has celiac disease but he is also extremely intolerant to corn, soya, dairy). Looking at your recipe, I can point you in the direction of your spices. I wrote many, many companies about their spices bottling process and it is a rare one that can confirm that the spices are not in contact with gluten during the whole preparation in their plant. So far, only Costco and their brand Kirkland confirmed and that is the only salt, pepper that my hubby can use.
    Since you don’t have an issue with other allergen, I won’t say anything about the tacos, the cheese and the sour cream. 🙂 He can’t have any of those. It is a constant worry and it has been 6 months since we ate at a restaurant. I understand your frustration, trust me. Good luck and let’s keep praying for a cure.

  • Worse than that is getting “glutened” in your own home because not everyone “gets it”. Although I suffered for years I was recently diagnosed , my husband is 73yrs old and you are NOT teaching that old dog any new tricks!!!

  • Could you use DPP IV enzymes when out and about to guard against cross contamination. My daughter does not have celiac but is gfcfsfcf preservative and phenol and salycitate sensitive. It could be worse we have to safeguard her from perfumes and all chemical smells or sends her over the deep end (she has severe chemical sensitivity) Plain hamburgers and dried chicken are the only options that aren’t even a guarantee they will be safe for us. It truly sucks to live in a world that is not made for you.

  • rotisserie chicken is hard like the above comment only one I found safe was costco!

    I am sick at least every other week and I haven’t cheated in three years; since being diagnosed. I dont even purchase items made in the same facility that processes gluten and ive even changed all topical items as well- makeup/shampoo/soap so it’s pretty frustrating. ESPECIALLY when I hear how some celiacs actually do cheat! But if the symptoms are this bad when i’m good I don’t even want to imagine actually EATTING a slice of real gluten bread!

    But when being so CAREFUL and still getting sick you may want to look into other allergies to foods and it may not even be the gluten effecting you. For me its now Dairy that causes the issue.

    My GI advised though that if you don’t have gluten intolerance or Celiac when you get BACK on Gluten you will not have effects from going without… which he agrees is logical but it doesn’t happen.

    Thank you for the recipe!! GoodLuck
    to you & your son!!!

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