This BBQ Chicken Salad might just be the best salad you will ever try. Juicy chunks of chicken smothered in our healthy homemade BBQ sauce, loaded on a bed of greens and vegetables and then topped with crunchy tortilla chips and a creamy ranch dressing.
This salad really does have it all. It's creamy, tangy, zesty and it's got so many different incredible textures going on. It's light and fresh, but still tastes super comforting too. Easy to make a huge batch to serve a crowd, this is a salad that will even concert people that say they don't like salads.
Why you will love it
- A salad that even salad haters will love
- Easy to adapt
- Protein packed
- A great use for our homemade healthy BBQ sauce
- Chicken - We used chicken breasts to keep this salad lean and protein packed. You could chop up boneless and skinless chicken breasts though. You could also use leftover chicken, like from our Slow Cooker Whole Chicken, and just fry that up with the BBQ sauce.
- BBQ sauce - This is where so much of the flavour in this salad comes from. We have used our Homemade Healthy BBQ Sauce, however you can use your favourite BBQ sauce - this will change the nutritional information though.
- Lettuce - Feel free to use your favourite salad greens. We used romaine for some crunch and then a butterhead and spinach mix for flavour and texture. You could add some kale to the mixture for a nutrient boost.
- Flour tortillas - These are cut in to strips and then baked until crispy and they add a nice crunch on top of the salad. You can use white, wheat or corn tortillas to make these.
- Vegetables - A salad is always a good opportunity to eat some more veggies, right? This salad is a good fridge raid meal, so chop up and add whatever you have. We have added carrots and sweetcorn, however you could add some bell peppers, roasted courgette and aubergine or even some artichokes.
- Tomatoes - A great addition to salad for colour and flavour. Make sure that they are ripe and juicy. We used cherry tomatoes, but you could dice up plum/roma tomatoes too.
- Avocado - It's not a salad without avocado, right? Dice it up and mix it in with the vegetables, our your can slice it and serve it on top.
- Lime - We haven't mixed any kind of dressing in to the lettuce, and we just squeezed over some lime juice instead.
- Ranch dressing - The creaminess of this goes perfectly with the BBQ sauce. You can use any good quality store bought ranch dressing, but we used our Homemade Healthy Ranch Dressing.
- Cheese - To finish this salad off, we added a sprinkling of grated cheddar. You could add a kick of spice by using a spicy grated cheese mix.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Slice the tortillas in the thin strips and then spray with a little oil. Put in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 3-4 minutes, until crispy.
Two: Heat some oil in a large frying pan. Add the diced chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Keeping on a low heat, stir in the BBQ sauce and then take off the heat.
Three: Add the lettuce to a large serving bowl and squeeze the lime juice over it. Top with the chopped avocado, diced tomatoes, sweetcorn and grated carrot. Top with the BBQ chicken.
Four: Add the cheese and the crispy tortilla strips.
Five: Drizzle with the ranch dressing and serve.
The star of this salad is definitely the BBQ chicken. Juicy chunks of chicken breast smothered in our homemade BBQ sauce pair beautiful with all the other flavours going on in this salad. If you don't want to cook the chicken yourself, then you could just shred up some leftovers from a roast chicken and heat it through with the BBQ sauce in a pan. You could also use leftovers from our Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken.
Not a fan of chicken? This recipe would also work really well with halloumi. Just cut the halloumi in to large chunks and then dry fry them for 3-4 minutes and then stir in the BBQ sauce.
A dressing can really make or break a salad. It's what brings all the flavours together, so it has to be good. Whilst there is a lot of flavour from the BBQ sauce and we have added some lime juice to the lettuce, we topped everything with our Healthy Ranch Dressing and it's what makes this pretty much salad perfection.
Made using a mixture of Greek yogurt, dill, lemon and mustard, you are going to want to put it on everything - so make sure you make a big batch. You can use any good quality store bought ranch dressing or even swap it for a Caesar dressing. If you wanted to save some calories, you could just leave it out completely.
This BBQ chicken salad is stacked. There really isn't anything else we could have piled on top of it, as you will see when you go to eat it (which you will, because how could you NOT try this salad?), because you will bite through so many different layers and textures.
The great thing about this salad though, is it is easy to adapt. It's a good way to use up whatever you have in your fridge and reduce food waste. Here are some of our other favourite things to add to this salad:
- Black beans
- Roasted peppers
- Brown rice
- Chopped bacon
- Crispy onions
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Crushed pecans
- Flaked almond
- Baked pita chips
- Sliced red onions
- Pumpkin seeds
- Dried cranberries
Just because you see the word salad, doesn't mean it is instantly healthy. Whilst as salad is a great opportunity to add loads of vegetables, it's also easy to load it with cheese, bread and creamy dressings that can really pile on the calories. Start with a good mixed greens base, lots of crunch vegetables, lean protein and then go easy on the cheese and dressing. Making the dressing yourself, like we have, will save some calories too.
We used our homemade healthy BBQ sauce as it makes this BBQ chicken salad a little lighter. But you can use your favourite BBQ sauce. Use one with a hint of chilli if you want a spicy kick to it, or just mix in a little chipotle paste.
The best way to check that the chicken is cooked, is to use a meat thermometer. Insert the meat thermometer in the middle of the chunk of chicken, and if the internal temperature of the chicken is 75°C or 165°F, then you know that it is cooked through. If it it isn't cooked, then cook it for 2 minutes longer and then check again.
Once this salad is mixed with the dressing, it doesn't mix well as it starts to go soggy. However, you can prepare it in advance and then store all the ingredients separately. You can then mix it together when you are ready to serve. Definitely make the BBQ sauce and dressing in advance, and they can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
• You can use any good quality store bought BBQ sauce in this salad, however it really is worth going to the effort of making your own.
• Add an extra bit of flavour by grilling corn on the cob and then slicing the corn off, rather than using a tin of corn.
• If you don't want to go to the effort of baking tortilla strips, then you can just buy store bought tortilla chips and crush them on top.
• You could also swap the tortillas for croutons instead.
More salad recipes
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BBQ Chicken Salad
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 chicken breast - diced
- 8 tablespoon BBQ sauce
- 1 romaine lettuce - chopped
- 2 handfuls lettuce leaves
- 80 g tinned sweetcorn
- 2 carrots - peeled and diced
- 0.5 avocado - diced
- 8 cherry tomatoes - diced
- 4 tablespoon ranch dressing
- 2 mini tortillas - cut in to strips
- 1 lime - juice
- 30 g cheddar - grated
- Slice the tortillas in the thin strips and then spray with a little oil. Put in a preheated oven at 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 3-4 minutes, until crispy.
- Heat some oil in a large frying pan. Add the diced chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Keeping on a low heat, stir in the BBQ sauce and then take off the heat.
- Add the lettuce to a large serving bowl and squeeze the lime juice over it. Top with the chopped avocado, diced tomatoes, sweetcorn and grated carrot. Top with the BBQ chicken.
- Add the cheese and the crispy tortilla strips.
- Drizzle with the ranch dressing and serve.
- You can use any good quality store bought BBQ sauce in this salad, however it really is worth going to the effort of making your own.
- Add an extra bit of flavour by grilling corn on the cob and then slicing the corn off, rather than using a tin of corn.
- If you don't want to go to the effort of baking tortilla strips, then you can just buy store bought tortilla chips and crush them on top.
- You could also swap the tortillas for croutons instead.