Taco Bell’s New Cantina Chicken Menu Makes a Great Lunch Party

Come for the tacos, stay for the chill vibes (and aguas frescas).

TB Cantina Block Party Selects Header 1208x1080 Chicken

​​*This article includes mentions of merchants or brands who are partners of DoorDash, and DoorDash may receive a commission if you choose to make a purchase from these merchants or brands.

Welcome to Make/Buy/Zhuzh, a series where we plan a dinner party with three components: one thing you make from scratch, one thing you buy straight off the shelf, and one thing you accessorize to completion.

Who says entertaining needs to be hard work? This no-stress taco lunch hang is a delightfully simple way to gather friends or family for a deliciously fun, casual meal with just a few minutes of prep. 

The epitome of fun food, tacos practically declare, “Kick up your feet! Break out the napkins! It’s time to relax and enjoy!” — especially when you leave the cooking to Taco Bell and its New Cantina Chicken Menu. 

TB Cantina Block Party Selects In-text 1208x1080 3 Products

Deciding how many tacos to order is the hardest part of planning this party. Best to get plenty of both the Cantina Chicken Crispy Tacos and the Cantina Chicken Soft Tacos — so no one has to choose between the joys of biting into a crispy, freshly fried white corn shell taco or a tender flour tortilla.

After that, all that’s left to do to get the afternoon started is to round out the menu: Stir up a refreshing and thirst-quenching pineapple agua fresca. Then toss together a super quick black bean salad. In less than 20 minutes, you’ll have a festive spread to serve and plenty of time and energy to enjoy your company. 

Here’s how to make this couldn’t-be-easier lunch fest happen:

Make: Pineapple Agua Fresca

Agua fresca is fun and foolproof: Add one or more ingredients, blend, strain, and serve! The literal translation of agua fresca is “fresh water.” But the Spanish term is more colloquially used for water-based drinks made with fruit, flowers (like hibiscus), cereals (like rice, a la horchata), or seeds blended with sugar and water. 

Once you have the hang of making agua fresca, you can get creative. But for ease, bright flavor, and year-round fruit availability, start with pineapple. This recipe serves 4, but you can easily scale up to serve a bigger crowd.

In a blender, combine 2 cups water and 4 cups fresh or thawed frozen pineapple*. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Strain — unless you like pulp — transfer to a pitcher, stir in 2 more cups of water, and add sugar to taste (2 to 4 tablespoons). If desired, add some finely diced pineapple chunks for a boba-like surprise and garnish glasses with a pineapple wedge or chunk. 

*If you want to go fancier, you can add a little something extra to the blender, like 4 basil leaves, a cup of mango, or a squeeze of fresh lime juice for extra zing. 

Buy: Taco Bell’s Cantina Chicken Crispy Tacos and Cantina Chicken Soft Tacos. Plus, Burritos!

TB Cantina Block Party Selects In-text 1208x1080 SoftTacos

Both the Cantina Chicken Crispy Taco and the Cantina Chicken Soft Taco star flavorful new slow-roasted chicken. The difference between the two, besides the tortilla, lies in the fixin’s. Cantina Chicken Crispy Tacos are crispy-gooey with cheese on the inside and grilled on the outside (cheese in every bite!) and perky Avocado Verde Salsa Packet on the side. The Cantina Chicken Soft Taco is loaded with flavorful fillings, as in freshly prepared pico de gallo, shredded purple cabbage (optimal crunch factor alert!), and creamy avocado ranch sauce. 

While you’re at it, you might want to add Taco Bell New Cantina’s Chicken Burritos to your order; they’re similarly filled with that new slow-roasted chicken, shredded purple cabbage, and pico de gallo, then grilled to order. 

Zhuzh: Black Bean Salad

TB Cantina Block Party Selects In-text 1208x1080 Quesadilla

Aside from its zesty and colorful character, the beauty of this salad is that it takes about five minutes to make. And, you can enhance it with all kinds of extras you may have in your fridge or freezer. 

To start, rinse and drain two 15-ounce cans of black beans, transfer to a mixing bowl, and combine with ½ cup finely chopped red onion, and ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro. Then, flavor with lime juice, Taco Bell’s new Avocado Verde Salsa Packet and salt to taste, mixing thoroughly. From there, you can transfer it to a serving bowl and party on. Or, add more more mix-ins, such as corn kernels, avocado chunks, halved cherry tomatoes, diced red bell pepper or jalapeño, or all of the above, adding more dressing and salt to taste as you go. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Taco Bell