This BBQ chicken salad recipe is one of my favorite salads. It's my own copycat version of a salad I love at a local sandwich shop in town. I make this salad often as a quick, easy, and light shabbos lunch and it is basically impossible to stop eating. Two sukkots ago, the one before covid, I made a massive bowl to share with friends at a potluck seudah and not one single morsel was left in the bowl. So many people have asked me to share my recipe so here it is.
This salad is perfect because its healthy and filling and so satisfying but also simple to make. It goes well as a starter course but is perfect as the main event. This bbq chicken salad recipe has so many delicious ingredients that there's really nothing not to love: grilled chicken, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers, black beans, corn, crunchy fried onions all on a bed of lettuce and dressed with a creamy, tangy, garlicky, bbq dressing. But the very best part of this salad is it's easy to leave things out or change ingredients according to your taste.
How to make this recipe
The most labor intensive part of this salad is making the grilled chicken.
Grilled Chicken: Season both sides a few boneless skinless chicken breasts and cook in a hot cast iron skillet for 6 minutes on each side. The trick to moist and juicy chicken breast is to leave it alone! Only flip it once and do not press down on it while cooking which presses all the juices out. For the first 6 minutes I like to place a piece of foil or a lid loosely over the pan to ensure the chicken is cooked all the way though. Then flip and allow chicken to cook on the other side-- uncovered. Allow chicken to rest while preparing the salad to the juices can reabsorb keeping your chicken as possible.
Lettuce: wash and check for bugs and chop it up! Or buy pre-washed and chopped lettuce. So easy.
Avocado: It must be m California roots coming through but to me, everything is better with avocado! Cut in half, remove pit and peel, cube, and dump into salad
Tomatoes: I like to use cherry/grape tomatoes. Wash, halve, dump into salad
Cucumber: I like English hothouse cucumbers, the kind that comes wrapped in plastic. Or little persian cucumber. They taste way less bitter than regular kind and there is no need to peel them. If you do use the regular kind of cucumbers definitely peel them for best taste. Wash, chop, dump into salad.
Onion: I used to not like raw onion because it was always too spicy, and truth be told, sometimes it still is depending on the onion. But a good mild onion really does add such delicious flavor. I strongly suggest that you do not skip it in this salad. Thinly slice into half moons or smaller. A little goes a long way.
Corn and black beans: Open cans, rinse, dump into salad.
Crispy fried onions: Anything crunchy works but I really like the taste of these. I buy a big bag in bulk and sprinkle them on as the mood strikes me. You can also use croutons, crushed tortilla chips, or whatever crunchy topping you prefer. Don't add them until you are ready to eat or they will get soggy.
Garlic BBQ dressing: This pareve dressing recipe is as simple as mixing equal parts mayonnaise and barbecue sauce, garlic powder, and hot water. Stir and pour over salad.
Tips for this salad recipe
Can I use leftover or rotisserie chicken instead of cooking boneless skinless chicken breasts? Definitely! Use whatever works and tastes best to you.
Can I marinate raw chicken? Yes, you can marinate chicken in your favorite marinade overnight and cook as directed: 6 minutes on each side in a hot skillet.
How do I keep grilled chicken breast moist? The trick to moist and juicy chicken breast is to leave it alone! Only flip it once and do not press down on it while cooking which presses all the juices out.
How far in advance can I make this salad? Once this salad is dressed it does get soggy. It will not last beyond the meal but the chicken can be grilled up to a day in advance and the dressing can be made 2-3 days in advance and the veggies can be chopped a few hours in advance. Assemble and dress right before serving. Ben has a tendency to pick at the leftover salad a few hours later but I find it get too soggy for my taste. So it's up to you how long it will last, but definitely not more than a few hours.
- We like to eat this salad as our shabbos lunch with challah and maybe a kugel.
- Try eating it with a side of soup like our mushroom barley or easy sweet potato soup.
- Start with salad then skip straight to dessert like our snickerdoodle blondies or chocolate chip blondies.
- Or, if you're really hungry, start with salad then continue onto a main course like chicken marsala with mashed potatoes and roasted asparagus.
If you like this recipe then you will love these:
BBQ Chicken Salad
- Large bowl
- 2 chicken breasts boneless, skinless
- seasoned salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 heads lettuce
- 1 avocado
- 1 container grape tomatoes halved
- ½ English cucumber cubed
- ¼ onion thinly sliced and cut into moons
- 1 can corn rinsed and drained
- 1 can black beans rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup bbq sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 1 container crispy fried onions to sprinkle
To make grilled chicken:
- Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium-high. While pan heats sprinkle seasoned salt on both sides of chicken.
- Carefully put chicken in skillet and allow to cook undisturbed for 6 minutes. Cover loosely with a piece of foil or a lid.
- Flip chicken and cook uncovered for remaining 6 minutes then remove from heat and set aside.
- Once cooled cut chicken into slices or cubes.
To make salad:
- In a very large bowl combine chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocadoes, onions, corn, and beans.
- Add cut up chicken
- Just before serving add dressing and toss.
- Sprinkle with crispy fried onions as a topping.
- Serve Immediately.
To make dressing:
- In a small bowl whisk together mayonnaise and bbq sauce
- Stir in garlic powder.
- Add hot water to bring to runny consistency.
When you make this recipe make sure to tag us on Instagram @yaykosher and hashtag it #yaykosher