I first shared this recipe on The Slow Roasted Italian where I am a contributor. BBQ Chicken Salad is all about the toppings. Get in your greens by topping them with all your favorite foods found at a barbecue in just 25 minutes.
I’ve been living off salads this summer and this BBQ Chicken Salad has been in my rotation. I love barbecue sauce so much I could drink it! I just can’t get enough of it, especially when covering a juicy and tender piece of grilled meat. A barbecue meal isn’t usually the healthiest but this BBQ Chicken Salad sure is! It’s filled with lean cut BBQ chicken and loads of veggies. If you have a hard time eating your veggies and getting enough fiber, put this salad on the menu. Seriously. This will turn you into a veggie lover!
Lunches are hard for me. I don’t usually want what my kids eat and I’m busy chasing them around and getting projects done that I hate to stop and prepare a healthy meal. To avoid missing lunch and snacking on crap all day, I try to prep the components of a salad so that at lunch time all I have to do it throw it together. No chopping, draining, shredding. Just dump and mix. I love that I get something that fills me up, makes me feel good, and still has a lot of my favorite things like cheese, bacon, and avocado which makes me want to eat salad. I think you’ll be just as excited to eat this salad as I am!
How to Crisp Lettuce:
Limp lettuce is no good. Romaine lettuce should be crisp not floppy and wilted. Even if it seems a little limp and lifeless you can bring that baby back to life! Stick the lettuce in a large bowl of cold water (for ease, I put it in my salad spinner). If your tap water doesn’t get very cold, toss a couple ice cubes in. Let the lettuce sit in the water for 5 minutes. You can put the whole head in, just the leaves you need, or already chopped lettuce (this is what I do if I’m using it for a salad). Drain off the water. Since I put my lettuce straight in my spinner, I just lift the slotted colander part up, empty the bowl, place the colander of lettuce back in and spin it dry. Voila! Crisp lettuce once again.
How to Keep Romaine Lettuce Fresh:
After crisping your lettuce, place it in an air tight bag, chopped or as large leaves. Squeeze all of the air tight so it is almost vacuum tight and then place in vegetable drawer in fridge. Any time you take lettuce out of the bag, reseal it being sure to remove as much air as possible. By storing my lettuce this way I’m able to have my chopped Romaine lettuce last me 2 weeks! Having the lettuce all prepped and ready to toss with some other veggies definitely helps me eat healthier throughout the week.
How to make BBQ Chicken Salad:
- Get your lettuce ready by chopping and then soaking in cold water for 5 minutes. Then drain and dry it in a salad spinner.
- Drain and rinse your beans and corn.
- Don’t toss with dressing until ready to serve. Dressing causes lettuce to wilt so it’s best to only apply dressing to what you are going to be eating right away.
- Meal prep this by cooking the bacon and chicken ahead of time and chopping up all the veggies. When ready to eat, just dump it all together in a bowl.
- If grilling a day or two before, cook the chicken on the grill and then refrigerate until ready to make the salad.
TOOLS USED TO MAKE THIS BBQ CHICKEN SALAD:
- Salad Spinner– Got this as a wedding gift 8+ years ago and it’s still spinning strong. Drying lettuce couldn’t be any easier.
- Cheese Grater– Freshly grated cheese is so much better and this grater is the best! I love that it has two sides, folds up, and stands sturdy when grating.
- Knife Set– I got this when I got married too and it has met all my cooking needs. I use them multiple times a day and they’re still going strong! The key is to hone your knives regularly.
HERE ARE A FEW MORE SALAD RECIPES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
- Chicken Waldorf Salad
- Autumn Poppy Seed Spinach Salad
- Italian Tortellini Rainbow Salad
- Blackberry Balsamic Grilled Chicken Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Chopped Salad
BBQ Chicken Salad
- 6 slices bacon diced
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (1 inch thick)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 heads romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 can corn drained (15 ounce)
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed (15 ounce)
- 2 avocados
- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes halved
- 1 cup monterey jack cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup red onion diced
- 3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
- Lite Ranch Dressing
Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Drain on a paper towel lined plate. Remove fat from pan, leaving about 1 tablespoon in.
Mix together paprika, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle over boths sides chicken breasts. Cook chicken in skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, flip, brush with half of the barbecue sauce and cook another 5-6 minutes until chicken is done (165 degrees F). (Or you can cook chicken on the grill.) Remove from pan and brush the remaining barbecue sauce on the bottom side. Cool for 10 minutes and then slice.
Assemble salad with lettuce, corn, black beans, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, onion, chicken, and bacon. Add desired amount of ranch dressing, toss, and serve.