This hearty salad has all the flavors of summer and spring wrapped up in one! It’s hearty, delicious, and perfect for an easy weeknight meal!
Summer’s right around the corner loves! (At least to me it is… 😉 ) So I’m starting to crave all the fresh summery flavors. And what’s more summery than bbq right?! More specficially, bbq chicken! And you can bet that this healthier bbq chicken salad with cilantro lime dressing is going to be on repeat all summer long!
- Chicken: One thing I love about this salad is that you can really use any type of chicken you want! Fresh (that you cook yourself), precooked, leftovers…you name it and they’ll all taste amzing with this salad! (See the section below for suggestions and directions on how to prepare each type.)
- BBQ sauce: I used Stubbs Sweet Heat sauce to give me salad a little extra kick of spice. (Feel free to use for favorite bbq sauce fort his recipe.)
- Lettuce: The base for your salad. I would suggest using some type of leafy green lettuce (like green leaf or romaine) to stand up to the rest of your ingredients.
- Canned black beans: Look for low sodium beans if possible to cut down of the salt in your salad!
- Corn: Adds a little bit of sweetness and texture to your salad. (You can use fresh or frozen corn for this recipe. See the section below for directions on preparing both.)
- Cherry tomatoes: I love using cherry tomatoes for this salad because their so flavorful and juicy. (Look for tomatoes that are plump and round and have a smooth skin for the best flavor.
- Red onion: Adds some texture and compliments the rest of your flavors.
- Avocado: Adds a little extra creaminess to your salad. (Look for avocados that give in slightly when you give them a gentle squeeze. If they’re too firm, that means they’re not ripe yet.)
- Tortilla chips: Optional but even more texture and crunch to your salad!
- Cilantro lime dressing: Ties the entire salad together and really brings out all of your flavors too!
What type of chicken do I use for bbq chicken salad?
There are so many options when it comes to chicken for this recipe! But the biggest question you need to ask yourself is, “do I want to cook the chicken myself or not?” Luckily I’ve got you covered for both!
- Pre-cooked chicken: To make things a little easier on yourself (or if you’re short on time), you can always buy precooked rotisserie chicken from the store and simply mix it with your favorite bbq sauce. That’s it!
- Chicken tenders: Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and place your tenders inside the dish. Then season them with salt and pepper and brush both sides of your tenders with bbq sauce. Bake them at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Once done, let them cool and chopped them for your salad. (I personally perfer using tenders for my salads because they take less time to cook and are always super moist and tender.)
- Boneless & skinless chicken thighs: Follow the same instructions as the chicken tenders but bake them at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your thighs.
- Chicken breasts: Follow the same instructions as the chicken tenders but bake them at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes depending on the size of your breasts.
Fresh vs. Frozen corn
If you’re able to find fresh corn for this recipe, then I would definitely recommend using that first. Fresh corn just adds so much more texture and umph to your salad that frozen corn simply does not have. BUT that being said, frozen corn is much more convenient and just as tasty too! Here’s how to prepare both for this salad:
- Frozen corn: Follow the directions on the package for thawing. Once done, add the corn to your salad and you’re good to go!
- Fresh corn: Bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove and shuck your corn cobs (take off the all the husks and little “whispies”). Then drop your corn cobs into the boiling water and boil for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes. (The corn should turn bright yellow and the kernels should be plump.) Then remove your cobs from the pot and discard the water. Allow your corn to cool completely before cutting the kernels off the cob. Add the kernels to the rest of your salad.
How to make an easy cilantro lime dressing
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup cilantro, packed (You can use both the leaves & steams)
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Add all of your ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Keep your dressing stored in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
*This dressing should last for 2-3 days if stored in the fridge.
I hope you all enjoy this easy bbq chicken salad recipe! I know that it’s getting me soo ready for summer now!
More recipes you might like:
- Cilantro Lime Shrimp & Avocado Salad
- Easy Pizza Pasta Salad
- BBQ Turkey Meatballs
- Cilantro Lime Pasta Salad
- BBQ Chicken Tortilla Pizzas
[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my social media @kalefornia_kravings – I love seeing what you create!]
Loaded BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
For the salad:
- 4 chicken tenders (See the notes below for preparing other types of chicken.)
- ¼-½ cup bbq sauce
- 6 cups lettuce, chopped
- 1 15oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed (I use low sodium.)
- 1 corn on the cob, husks removed (About one cup if using frozen. See the notes below for directions on preparing frozen corn.)
- 1½ cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¼ of a red onion, sliced thin
- 1 large avocado, diced
- Tortilla chips (optional)
For the cilantro lime dressing:
- ½ cup plain greek yogurt
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped (can use leaves & stems)
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ tsp salt
To make the dressing:
- Add all of your dressing ingredients to a food processor and blend them together until smooth. Store the dressing in the fridge while you prepare the rest of your salad.
To make the salad:
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Then place your chicken tenders in the dish, season them with salt and pepper and brush both sides with your bbq sauce. Bake the tender for 15 minutes and allow them to cool completely. Once they're cool, chop the tenders into bite-sized pieces and set them aside.
- Next, bring a large pot of water to a boil on the stove. Once it's boiling, add your corn cob and boil for 1½ – 2 minutes. (The kernels should be plump and turn bright yellow.) Then remove the corn cob from the pot and discard the water. Allow the corn to cool completely before cutting of the kernels.
- Next, add your lettuce, black beans, corn, tomatoes and onion to a large bowl and toss with your desired amount of dressing. Top the salad with your chopped chicken, avocado and tortilla chips and serve immedaitely.
- Precooked chicken (rotisserie): Shred your chicken and mix it with your favorite bbq sauce.
- Chicken thighs: Follow the same direction as above but bake them at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
- Chicken breasts: Follow the same directions as above but bake for 20-25 minutes.