|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 10 to 12|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 28g||36%|
|Saturated Fat 6g||32%|
|Total Carbohydrate 41g||15%|
|Dietary Fiber 7g||26%|
|Total Sugars 10g|
|Vitamin C 11mg||57%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
This BBQ chicken salad is a satisfying whole meal salad that is perfect for any day of the week. It's an excellent salad to take along to a cookout or potluck as well. This salad is a great choice for the warm weather and it's versatile because if there's an ingredient someone doesn't like, then you can omit it or replace it with something else.
The recipe includes a homemade cilantro and lime ranch-style dressing with freshly poached chicken breasts, but feel free to use a store-bought rotisserie chicken and bottled dressing if you're short on time. For a dynamite presentation, drizzle some of the dressing and barbecue sauce over the salad just before serving.
You can also prepare the dressing and chicken the day before—all you have to do to serve is simply chop a few vegetables and assemble the salad.
For the Chicken:
1 pound boneless chicken breasts
1 small onion, quartered
3 medium garlic cloves, crushed
1 large bay leaf
1 teaspoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
3/4 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite, plus more for serving)
For the Cilantro-Lime Ranch Dressing:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk (or as needed to thin)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
For the Salad:
6 to 8 cups torn lettuce
1 1/2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (canned or frozen and cooked)
1 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise and sliced into half-moons
3/4 cup diced red onion
1 1/2 cups corn chips (or tortilla strips)
4 ounces diced pepper jack cheese (or cheddar or Monterey Jack)
1 medium avocado, sliced or diced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
Steps to Make It
Prepare the Chicken
Gather the ingredients for the chicken.
Place the chicken, quartered onion, crushed garlic, bay leaf, chili powder, kosher salt, and oregano in a medium saucepan or Dutch oven. Add 3 cups of water or enough water to cover everything.
Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Cover the pan, then reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken, or until the chicken is cooked through to 165 F on an instant-read thermometer. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool slightly.
When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred or chop it. Toss the chicken with barbecue sauce. Cover and refrigerate until it's time to assemble the salad.
Prepare the Cilantro-Lime Ranch Dressing
Gather the dressing ingredients.
In a bowl or Mason jar, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, milk, chopped cilantro, lime juice, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper. Whisk or shake until combined. Taste and add kosher salt, as needed. Cover and refrigerate until it's time to assemble and serve the salad.
Prepare and Assemble the Salad
Gather the salad ingredients.
Transfer the lettuce to a large salad bowl, then arrange the black beans, tomatoes, corn, cucumber, onion, avocado, cheese, tortilla strips, and cilantro over top. Add the BBQ chicken, then drizzle some of the dressing over the salad along with additional barbecue sauce, if desired. Serve any additional dressing or sauce on the side. Enjoy!
- Replace the corn chips with crispy fried onion rings.
- Instead of poached chicken, use diced or shredded grilled chicken.
- Use the Instant Pot for cooking the chicken.
- Add some smoky flavor with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of crumbled cooked bacon.
- Add a shredded carrot to the lettuce mixture.
- Use grilled corn or canned corn with peppers.
- Add green or multicolored bell pepper strips to the salad.
- Replace the black beans with drained and rinsed pinto beans.
- Greek yogurt or buttermilk can be used to replace sour cream in the dressing.
How to Store
If you know you will have leftovers, hold off on drizzling the salad with dressing and serve the cheese, avocado, and chips in separate bowls. Cover and refrigerate the salad for up to 3 days. Refrigerate the dressing in a tightly covered container for up to 1 week.
How Many Chicken Breasts Are in One Pound?
A boneless chicken breast can weigh from 4 ounces to 8 or more, so there's no easy way to be sure unless you use a scale to weigh them. If the chicken breasts are quite small, it will take about 4 to make a pound. If medium to large, use 2 or 3 chicken breasts.