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 :).
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.
I love the natural ombre lettuce creates when you cut it from one end to the other…
BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Ranch
Yield: 4 - 5 servings
- 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) Romaine lettuce, chopped
- 3 medium Roma tomatoes
- 1 - 2 avocados , 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 - 1 1/2 cups cheese (I used half cheddar half monterey jack, a Mexican blend would be fine too)
- Corn tortilla stips*
- 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
- 1 Tbsp + 1 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 (mine only took about 4 minutes per side, but grill time it will vary based on thickness of chicken and temp of grill). 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.
Recipe Source: Cooking Classy