Easy BBQ Chicken Salad

A classic for a reason, this Easy BBQ Chicken Salad makes the perfect hearty and healthy dinner (or lunch)! Serve it with your favorite toppings, and dress it up with the cilantro ranch dressing to make for the best-chopped BBQ Salad ever.

BBQ Chicken Salad in a bowl with cilantro ranch dressing.

Quick Chopped BBQ Chicken Salad

Give me all the hearty salads, because they make the best healthy dinners! BBQ Chicken Salads are popular for good reason–they’re so delicious! I set out to make a streamlined version of one, without too many added ingredients, yet still bold in flavor. This salad also features a similarly easy-to-make cilantro ranch dressing that takes the whole thing to the next level.

Best part? I also love how customizable this salad is. You have the freedom to add in what you love with your BBQ Chicken Salad and get creative with it!BBQ chicken sliced for salad.

Here’s What You Need to Make It

This list includes ingredients for the salad and the dressing. The full list of ingredients and the recipe instructions are listed at the end of this post.

  • Chicken (more on that below!)
  • BBQ Sauce (more on that below)
  • Lettuce
  • Red Onion
  • Tomatoes
  • Corn
  • Black Beans
  • Dried Herbs and Spice
  • Mayo
  • Almond Milk
  • Lemon Juice
  • Cilantro

What Type of Chicken to Use

We wanted this to be as easy and customizable as possible so we’re leaving a few different options for the chicken. You can make our super popular recipe for Baked BBQ Chicken Breasts for this salad. Or you can use leftover Shredded Chicken or use store-bought shredded rotisserie chicken!

How to Customize It

We streamlined the ingredients for this salad to make it super approachable and easy to make. However, there is plenty of room to customize this and add in more or different ingredients. Here are some other ingredient options to add to this BBQ Chicken Salad:

  • Diced Avocado
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Tortilla Strips
  • Cucumbers
  • Jalapeños
  • Diced Bell Peppers
  • Roasted Red Peppers
A cilantro ranch dressing being blended together with an immersion blender.

What type of BBQ Sauce to use

We really wanted to keep this recipe as simple as possible, so we left the option open to use either homemade bbq sauce or store-bought. Our recipe for homemade is pretty quick to put together so if you are want to use a BBQ sauce that you know has simple and clean ingredients, go ahead and make it from scratch! You won’t be disappointed.

Looking for an easier win?  Just use your favorite store-bought bbq sauce.

How to Make the Cilantro Ranch Dressing

This dressing is so flavorful and quick to make, so it shouldn’t be skipped! It’s made simply by blending together all of the dressing ingredients in either a stand blender or an immersion blender. The good news is that this recipe will likely leave you with leftover dressing, so you’ll have some for future salads.

It will keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Ingredients in a bowl for BBQ chicken salad.

Make it for Meal Prep

This salad is great to make for meal prep, with a few modifications.  If you prefer to eat this salad with warm bbq chicken, go ahead and meal prep this salad to have a separate container for the salad components and another for the bbq chicken, that way the meat can be heated up on its own. And of course, with most salads, you’ll want to keep dressing separate and add right before serving.

Just be careful about what salad components you choose. Obviously, something like sliced avocado will not keep well, so don’t use something that won’t keep well if intending to make this for meal prep.

Keeping all of this in mind, this salad will keep well for 3-5 in the refrigerator.

Dairy-free BBQ chicken salad in a bowl.

If you like this salad recipe, check out these others:

Print

Easy BBQ Chicken Salad

BBQ Chicken Salad in a bowl with cilantro ranch dressing.

A classic for a reason, this Easy BBQ Chicken Salad makes the perfect hearty and healthy dinner (or lunch)! Serve it with your favorite toppings, and dress it up with the cilantro ranch dressing to make for the best-chopped BBQ Salad ever.

  • Author: Lexi’s Clean Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 00:15
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale

For Cilantro Ranch Dressing:

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup good-quality mayonnaise or greek yogurt
  • 12 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed picked cilantro leaves (about half a bunch of cilantro)

For Salad:

  • 1 lb. baked bbq chicken breast, or leftover shredded, grilled or rotisserie chicken (see note)
  • ¼ cup homemade or store-bought bbq sauce
  • 46 cups lettuce of choice (we recommend romaine!)
  • ½ small red onion, diced
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (or halved cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels (or cooked corn kernels)
  • 1 cup cooked (or rinsed canned) black beans (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add all dressing ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasoning. Set aside.
  2. Dice cooked chicken into bite sized pieces. Add chicken and bbq sauce to a small bowl and mix together. 
  3. Assemble the salads: Divide lettuce, onion, tomatoes, corn, and black beans (if using), in a bowl. Divide the bbq chicken on top, then drizzle over 2 tablespoons of the reserved dressing. Serve immediately.

Notes

You will probably have some dressing leftover. It will keep well for up to 1 week in your refrigerator.

We wanted this to be as easy and customizable as possible so we’re leaving a few different options for the chicken. You can make our super popular recipe for Baked BBQ Chicken Breasts for this salad. Or you can use leftover Shredded Chicken or use store-bought shredded rotisserie chicken!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
  • Calories: 376
  • Sodium: 678mg
  • Fat: 24g
  • Saturated Fat: 3g
  • Carbohydrates: 21g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 18g
  • Cholesterol: 81mg

Keywords: Easy BBQ Chicken Salad

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4 comments
February 21, 2021

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4 Responses

  1. It says chicken and pepper mixture. What peppers? 🙂 Just want to clarify. Excited to make this!!!

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