A spicy kick to your summer salad
There's really nothing clever I can say about summer salads that hasn't already been said before. It's a million degrees outside. Do yourself a favor and ignore the oven for a few more weeks. This beauty can be made with a bit of quick prep and a short trip to the grill.
This BBQ Chicken Salad starts out with a bed of classic salad trimmings, but levels up with the addition of a few spicy and delicious upgrades. The grilled chicken is basted in Spicy Red BBQ Sauce, adding a sweet and spicy heat that is sure to be better than anything you'll find in a bottle. Then, everything is finished with Buttermilk Jalapeno Ranch Dressing, bringing a gentle heat that balances everything out.
I'll often switch up the veggies and other toppings in this salad depending on what we have lurking in the crisper drawer or what's popping up in the garden at the time. Some other great options are:
- Swap the romaine for sweet butter lettuce
- Swap the romaine for a bed of crunchy cabbage slaw
- Bell peppers are a fantastic addition. They can be added raw or sliced/diced after a quick turn on the grill.
- If you aren't grain-free, grilled corn is delicious on this salad. Just pop an ear or two on the grill at the same time you're cooking the chicken.
- Swap the green onions for thinly sliced red onions
- Pepitas are a fun textural addition to add crunch
- Black beans are a delicious and fiber-rich option
- Swap the bleu cheese crumbles for feta, cubed cheddar, or mini mozzarella balls
Other ideas for using this BBQ chicken
The BBQ Chicken used in this recipe is perfectly sweet and spicy, and as much as I love it on top of salad, sometimes I want to ditch the greens in favor of something slightly carby. Thankfully, it also layers really well on a sandwich. Skip the mayo and slather a bit fo the Buttermilk Jalapeno Ranch Dressing on along with a slice or two of tomato, some cheddar cheese, onion, and lettuce. BBQ Chicken Sandwich heaven.
Does this salad pack well for leftovers and meal prep?
Yes. When packaging this salad for meal prep, simply store the BBQ Chicken and the Buttermilk Jalapeno Ranch Dressing in their own separate containers from the rest of the salad fixings. I will also generally skip slicing the tomatoes so they don't weep into the salad greens when storing.
A note for special diets
This BBQ Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Jalapeno Ranch is grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, low-carb.
For those following a Keto diet, who would like to cut the carbs even more so than the estimated 12 net carbs per serving, please take note of the zero-carb sweetener swap in this recipe for Spicy Red BBQ Sauce.
This Keto-friendly BBQ Chicken Salad levels up with a Spicy Red BBQ Sauce and a creamy Buttermilk Jalapeno Ranch Dressing.
For the grilled chicken:
- 1 ½ lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, sliced in half so they are thinner
- ⅓ cup Spicy Red BBQ Sauce
For the salad:
- 2 heads romaine lettuce, chopped (about 8 cups)
- 1 cup english cucumber, sliced
- ¾ cup sliced carrots
- ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 3.8 oz can sliced black olives
- 1 medium avocado, sliced
- ¼ cup green onions, chopped
- ½ cup bleu cheese crumbles
- ¾ cup Buttermilk Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
For the grilled chicken:
- Heat grill to medium-high.
- Using a basting brush, baste chicken with Spicy Red BBQ Sauce on both sides.
- Grill, covered, turning halfway through, until chicken reaches a minimum of 165 degrees F, about 4-5 minutes per side. Let rest 5 minutes, then slice.
For the salad:
- Assemble romaine, cucumber, carrots, tomatoes, olives, avocado, green onions, and bleu cheese, then toss with Buttermilk Jalapeno Ranch Dressing.
- Add sliced BBQ Chicken to the top and serve.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
- Serving Size: ¼ recipe
- Calories: 459
- Sugar: 8
- Sodium: 1163
- Fat: 27
- Saturated Fat: 7
- Carbohydrates: 19
- Fiber: 7
- Protein: 42
- Cholesterol: 113
Keywords: bbq, chicken, salad, ranch