BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch

May 1, 2014

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When we go out to eat at a local restaurant I often get their BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch. Since it has started to warm up outside and I can finally use my grill again, I’ve decided I’m just going to start making this salad at home.

This tastes just like the restaurant version but I’m sure it cost half the price. Not to mention my corn tortilla strips are way better than theirs because they’re fresh :).

BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch | Cooking Classy

I love salads like this because they are healthy and filling and they even make great left overs for lunch the next day (as long as you don’t toss it all together of course).

This one has all the flavors of a Southwestern meal in one loaded salad (and no I’m not skimp with the toppings.

It’s always crazy when you pay $10 for a salad and they put 3 tiny pieces of chicken on top. If it’s going to be a meal for me it needs to have a lot in it).

The other great thing about this salad is it’s a mans salad too, my husband doesn’t go for any of those dainty salads that have a few pieces of fruit and a light vinaigrette for a main meal. We can both agree on this one.

It’s simply amazing.


BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch | Cooking Classy

BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch

A delicious hearty salad packed with fresh flavor and smokey bbq chicken.
Servings: 4
Prep20 minutes
Cook10 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes


  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (I sliced mine in half through the thickness before grilling)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce , homemade or store bought
  • 1 large head (18 oz) Romain lettuce , chopped
  • 3 medium Roma tomatoes
  • 1 avocado , diced
  • 1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen corn (thawed and drained if frozen)
  • 1 (15 oz) can black beans , rinsed and drained
  • 2 green onions , chopped
  • 1 cups cheese (I used half cheddar half monterey jack, a Mexican blend would be fine too)
  • Corn tortilla strips*


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise (could sub light mayo for a healthier opt)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (could sub plain greek yogurt for a healthier opt)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 tsp buttermilk ranch seasoning mix
  • 1/3 cup cilantro (about a handful)
  • 1 clove garlic , minced
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 - 3 pinches cayenne pepper (optional)


  • Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  • Brush grill grates lightly with canola or vegetable oil then place chicken on grill and cook rotating once halfway through cooking and brushing both sides with BBQ sauce during last minute or two of grilling (it will take about 4 mins per side, check to 165 degrees in center).
  • Transfer chicken to a plate, cover with foil and let rest 5 - 10 minutes then slice into small strips.
  • Layer all remaining ingredients into large salad bowls, beginning with salad (then from there the order doesn't matter). Serve topped with Cilantro Lime Ranch.
  • For the dressing: Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender and process until cilantro is finely chopped.


*I made homemade corn tortilla strips by slicing 6 6-inch corn tortillas into strips (and each strip into halves), then I fried in about 1-inch of hot canola oil in a skillet (vegetable oil works too), rotating once halfway through with metal tongs, until they just began to turn golden. Then transferred to a plate lined with paper towels and immediately sprinkled with salt. Store bought is fine too if you don't want to make them.
Nutrition Facts
BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch
Amount Per Serving
Calories 993 Calories from Fat 486
% Daily Value*
Fat 54g83%
Saturated Fat 15g94%
Cholesterol 162mg54%
Sodium 1909mg83%
Potassium 1983mg57%
Carbohydrates 74g25%
Fiber 17g71%
Sugar 20g22%
Protein 58g116%
Vitamin A 12954IU259%
Vitamin C 28mg34%
Calcium 400mg40%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.


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  • Caroline @ chocolate & carrots

    I made this for a party and it was a hit! Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m so glad you liked it Caroline! I’ve been dying to try your strawberry popsicles, I finally got a popsicle mold so any day now :)!

  • Stephanie @ The Good Stuff

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was a great mix of flavors. Loved the dressing! I will be enjoying leftovers for lunch tomorrow and will for sure be making this all summer!


    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this salad recipe Stephanie! Thanks for your feedback!

  • Sherry Maghsoodloo

    I made this tonight for dinner but I didn’t have chicken, I just got home with fresh grouper which I fried and used the recipe for the salad! I did leave off the cheese and put chili powder in the dressing since my husband can’t do spicy. Cooking is all about making something to nourish those you love. I love your recipes and enjoy your cooking and those luscious looking pictures you make! I think that dressing was sooooo good! Keep up the good work there, I would love to be eating at your table!!! Take care!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m so happy to hear you like my recipes Sherry, and that you enjoyed this salad and were able to make the subs to suite your personal tastes! Thanks for your comment!

  • Jon F

    Made this one tonight. I never make salads at home because I’m always disappointed with the dressing and they never seem to compare to the restaurants. I decided to try this one and it turned out awesome. We loved how the bbq sauce and the dressing worked so well together. I was disappointed with how my chicken breasts turned out but that was my fault. I tried to broil them and I just felt like they came out steamed and bland. It didn’t seem to matter when it was all mixed together though. Great recipe!.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes it’s kinda crazy how the sauce and the ranch actually blend well together. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe Jon! Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Tieghan

    This sounds so delicious and perfect for spring and summer. YUMM!

  • Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    This salad looks so delicious and summery, Jaclyn! Absolutely love all those fresh ingredients piled together, and how easy it is. Great photos, too!