BBQ Chicken Salad

Some salads are meant to be sides, but some (the best ones!) can stand as a dinner all on their own. This BBQ chicken salad is firmly in the latter camp: Juicy grilled BBQ chicken sits alongside festive South-of-the-border-inspired toppings like black beans, corn, cheese, and tortilla strips. Put that on top of some crunchy romaine and drizzle it with BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, and you’ve got yourself a hearty meal you’ll look forward to eating again and again.

                             bbq chicken salad with barbecue sauce, chicken, toppings, and a creamy dressing


  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb. total)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 store-bought BBQ sauce, divided
  • 1/3 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4 mayonnaise
  • 1/4 sour cream
  • clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tbsp sliced fresh chives
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • heads romaine lettuce, thinly sliced (about 8 c.)
  • (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • vine-ripened tomato, finely chopped (about 1 c.)
  • 1 shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 frozen corn, thawed, drained
  • 1 tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips
  • 1/4 finely chopped red onion

                          bbq chicken salad with barbecue sauce, chicken, toppings, and a creamy dressing


  1. Place chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet into 1/2"-thick pieces. Transfer chicken to a large bowl; season all over with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Pour 1/2 cup BBQ sauce over chicken. Turn to coat and let marinate, tossing a few times, at least 15 minutes at room temperature, or cover bowl and refrigerate up to 3 hours. 
  2. Meanwhile, prepare a grill for medium-high heat; heat 5 minutes (or preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat). In a medium bowl, whisk buttermilk, mayonnaise, sour cream, garlic, parsley, dill, chives, onion powder, cayenne, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; set dressing aside.
  3. Grill chicken, basting with marinade, until cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
  4. In a large bowl, toss chicken, lettuce, beans, tomatoes, cheese, corn, tortilla strips, and onion. Drizzle with some of the reserved dressing and remaining 1/4 cup BBQ sauce and toss again to combine. Serve remaining dressing alongside.

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