This healthy BBQ chicken salad is better than the restaurant! It includes classic southwest toppings and a creamy (dairy free) cilantro lime ranch that takes 5 minutes to make.
If you’re familiar with Panera’s BBQ chicken salad, then you probably love it as much as me! Same with California Pizza Kitchen. Both of those restaraunts make a KILLER BBQ chicken salad.
But I’m here to share with you a salad that rivals both of them!
Why is this BBQ chicken salad better than the restaraunt?
- This salad includes all of the toppings, but a bit healthier. The BBQ sauce is paleo-approved and the dressing is dairy free. You know exactly what’s going into your salad when you eat it!
- It’s more affordable! You can make a huge salad for a lot cheaper than spending money one one. You’ll make a batch and have salads for the rest of the week.
How to make a BBQ chicken salad:
Start by making the shredded BBQ chicken. Rub the chicken with the spice blend and add it to the slow cooker with the BBQ sauce ingredients (or pre-made BBQ sauce). Cook on low for 6-7 hours or high for 3 hours.
When it’s done, shred with two forks and add it to a bed of romaine lettuce. Top with the rest of the salad ingredients and drizzle with homemade cilantro lime ranch dressing.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and tag me with @what_mollymade so I can see it and feature you!
More healthy salads:
- Crispy chicken salad with honey mustard [paleo]
- Strawberry spinach salad
- The best shaved brussels sprout salad
- Autumn pear salad with candied pecans
BBQ Chicken Salad
For the salad:
- 1 2 and 1/2 cups rotisserie chicken shredded with 1/2 cup sugar free BBQ sauce(I like primal kitchen) OR 1 serving bbq chicken in the slower cooker
- 8 cups romaine lettuce (could also use spinach)
- 1 cup black beans drained & rinsed
- 1 cup canned corn (fire roasted if you can find it)
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1-2 avocados chopped
- 1/2 cup red onion thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
- Additional optional toppings: shredded mexican cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips
Creamy Cilantro Jalapeno Dressing
- 3/4 cup paleo mayo (I like primal kitchen)
- 1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk shaken first to combine cream and liquid
- 1/2 cup cilantro tightly packed about 1/2 bunch
- 1 tablespoon honey omit for whole30 option
- Juice from 1/2 a lime
- 2 teaspoons dried chives
- 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 clove of garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 jalapeno roughly chopped with or without seeds for more spice *see notes
- 1/4 cup mild salsa verde * see notes
- 3 tablespoon almond milk more or less depending on your consistency preference
- Add all of the ingredients, except for the almond milk, to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, scraping sides down as needed. Add the almond milk a few tablespoons at a time until you reach your desired consistency. Place in the refrigerator to chill before using.
- If you are using rotisserie chicken, add it to a medium bowl and toss with BBQ sauce. Set aside.
- Prep all of your ingredients including draining the beans and corn and chopping the onion, avocado and tomato. Add the lettuce to a large bowl and top with BBQ chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado, onion and cilantro. Top with any additional ingredients and serve with cilantro lime ranch dressing.
You can swap a fresh jalapeno for 3/4 cup pickled jalapeno.
You can swap the salsa verde for 1 can of diced green chilis.
Add more almond milk if you want the dressing thinner. *Nutrition information does not include dressing