BBQ Chicken Salad

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

Trader Joe’s has a really good BBQ Chicken Salad that I was obsessed with UNTIL I read the back of the container and saw how many grams of fat were in it. GAH-REAT.  And that was for HALF the salad. There was a good week where I had that salad almost every single day at work. I couldn’t stop myself.

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

I’ve been wanting to make my own/healthier version of this salad for some time now and here it is! Instead of the heavy mayo based Ranch dressing, I used creamy Greek yogurt and mixed it with fresh lime juice and Sweet & Spicy Tabasco Sauce.  It adds a tangy sweet kick to the salad. If you have trouble finding that particular flavor, you could always add in a little bit of honey and regular Tabasco to mimic the flavor.  I also took away the shredded cheese because there’s so many flavors going on there that it’s seemed unnecessary!  I did add some avocado in it’s place though…oh and lots of cilantro!

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

It’s the perfect weeknight salad! And if you’re thinking of packing it up for work throughout the week, just make a bigger batch of dressing and take it with you. Dress as you need it! Also, be sure to add the tortilla strips (or chips!) at the last minute. No one likes a soggy bite of tortilla in their salad. NO ONE.

And we’re off!

Gather your ingredients.

TORTILLA STRIPS!  I cut 3 corn tortillas into strips and fried them up in a very shallow pan of oil- about 2-3 tablespoons. Instant tortilla strips! You can totally use tortilla chips if you’d like.

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

Let’s talk about the chicken. We’re using half of a rotisserie chicken. Let’s make things easier for ourselves.

Take off the skin, shred the chicken and mix in BBQ sauce. We’re going to add this to our salad last.

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

Dressing time!! Greek yogurt, Sweet & Spicy Tabasco and fresh lime juice. Salt & Pepper!

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

In a large bowl, toss all of the ingredients together! COLOR.

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

Dressing is ready for use. We use a little bit of water to thin it out. NO OIL!

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

DRESS!

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

Now add in the chicken.

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

We have our toppings!

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

Put the salad into bowls. Drizzle some BBQ sauce on top.

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

Add in the fried tortilla strips. Serve with a lime wedge.

BBQ Chicken Salad // shutterbean

BBQ CHICKEN SALAD PAAAAAARTY!

BBQ Chicken Salad

serves 3-4 people

for the salad:

  • 6-7 cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh corn (about 1 ear)
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans (rinsed well)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped (both green & white parts)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 cooked rotisserie chicken (without skin), shredded
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 cup tortilla strips (you can use crushed tortilla chips)

for the dressing:

 

In a large bowl, mix the lettuce, corn, black beans, red pepper, cilantro, green onions, tomatoes & avocado together, set aside. In a medium bowl mix shredded chicken with 1/3 cup BBQ sauce until meat is thoroughly coated.

In a small jar mix Greek yogurt, fresh lime juice Sweet & Spicy Tabasco and two tablespoons of water. Season with salt & pepper to taste and add more Tabasco if needed.

Add the chicken to the salad mix and toss to combine. Pour dressing over salad and continue to toss, generously coating the salad. Season with salt & pepper and serve in large bowls. Drizzle remaining BBQ sauce on top of salads and finish with tortilla strips on top. Eat immediately.

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40 Comments

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  • September 30, 2013

    LOVE literally anything with BBQ chicken, so naturally this is right up my alley!
    xo Quinn

    Quinn Cooper Style

  • September 30, 2013

    This is my dream salad! Good job on getting right inside my head!

  • September 30, 2013

    This sounds awesome. Going on my list!

  • September 30, 2013

    You know, this is always the salad I gravitate to on menus. It’s so yummy! Can’t wait to try this healthier version!

  • September 30, 2013

    This is one great salad! Nothing boring and everything delicious!

  • Karen
    September 30, 2013

    Looks awesome. Btw, don’t worry about all the fat grams you saw on the label. Fat doesn’t make you fat. It’s sugar and grains that are the culprit.

    • Tracy
      September 30, 2013

      I know! All those things were crazy high too. But the fat was something like 45 grams.

  • I have not tried their salad yet but I am a big BBQ salad person and your healthier version looks very appetizing :)

  • September 30, 2013

    oh i just love a bbq chopped chicken salad. i used to order one at (wait for it) the silver diner:)

    http://semiweeklyeats.blogspot.com/2013/09/work-outfit-2.html

  • September 30, 2013

    yes, yes, yes. You are the queen of good salads lately by the way….

  • September 30, 2013

    Such an awesome idea to DIY salads as skimp out on all those nasty fats!
    Your creation really reminded me of this beast of a salad I made this summer –

    http://www.thelobsterandme.com/2013/08/shaker-salad.html

    x x x

  • Jess E
    September 30, 2013

    Panera Bread has a similar salad that I went a bit binge-y on. Excited to have this alternative!

  • September 30, 2013

    This looks amazing! I may have to paleo-fy this recipe. What kind of nuts would be best in this salad?

  • Rachel Gergely
    September 30, 2013

    I’m not much of a salad eater but this looks absolutely perfectly amazing! AND it has ingredients I have on hand 90% of the time. Keep on bringing the goods!!

  • September 30, 2013

    I would eat this deliciousness, every single day. So yummy!!

  • September 30, 2013

    I actually had that salad last week for lunch (trying to do a salad EVERY day during the work week. 3 weeks down.) and then got so depressed after I finshed it and turned it over to look at the nutritional data. Definitely trying out this version now (my butt says thank you)!

    • Tracy
      September 30, 2013

      You’re welcome!! It’s pretty good, huh? Thank goodness for healthier versions. Enjoy!

  • September 30, 2013

    Dude, I am not even a fan of salad and that business looks good. I might have to try this one.

    • Tracy
      September 30, 2013

      What?! Not a fan of salad? crazy

  • Nicolette
    September 30, 2013

    Thank you for this! I needed a new lunch to bust out for the week and I am SO into these flavours.

  • September 30, 2013

    Just looked up the nutritional stats on that salad. Holy wow. That is evil. Salad should not contain all that crap. Good on you, your version looks way better! I find pre-made salads always kinda taste…I don’t know..pre-made! :)

  • September 30, 2013

    I hate it when salads are calorie-bombs. I always feel so misled.

  • September 30, 2013

    I just put two TJ’s salads in my cart this weekend and noticed the same thing when I brought them home. I’ll still eat them because I don’t want to waste the $5, but whoa! Thanks for this.

  • Leslie
    September 30, 2013

    So nice to have a delicious lower calorie barbecue chicken salad recipe. Thanks!

  • September 30, 2013

    I hate when they get all tricky and say there are 2 servings in the container when they know you’re going to eat it all at once! That being said, you had me at tortilla strips. This is going into my lunch file for the very near future!

  • September 30, 2013

    Ohmygawd. This looks so amazing! Thank you!!

  • September 30, 2013

    Oh yum! Have to try this with chicken for the man, and extra black beans (or maybe chickpeas) for me.
    Thanks Tracy! I eat a salad every day for lunch at work, but sometimes inspiration runs dry. This will be a welcome addition.

  • Sarah
    October 1, 2013

    I made this last night and it was so yummy. I couldn’t find that flavor of tabasco sauce at my local grocery store, so I ended up making ranch dressing and drizzling it over the salad. It was full of flavor and my boyfriend loved it too! Such a good mix of veggies! Thanks for all of your amazing recipes. Ohhhh and I started listening to your podcasts and just feel all around happier having a piece of you and Joy in my life :)

  • lani
    October 1, 2013

    It’s testimony to your amazing skills as a photographer and chef that this looks delicious to me, and I don’t even like that salad at TJs. You are the best.

  • helen fromengland
    October 2, 2013

    I just want to say your salads are changing my family’s lives. I have been making goats cheese and beetroot quinoa weekly since you posted it and am sharing it daily with my nearly 2 year old boy, now this one – I can’t wait – and my husband is going to be so excited when he sees that avocado (Ive been using your salads as sides in the evening too) YOU ARE MAKING US EAT SO MUCH HEALTHIER thank you, keep tossing salads our way please! xx

  • October 4, 2013

    I always get this salad from Trader Joe’s! Thanks for posting a healthier version!

  • October 7, 2013

    Just made a giant bowl of this for dinner tonight. YUM!

  • October 10, 2013

    Ha, I hear you on the TJs salad – and, why, pray tell, is that nutritional content for 1/2 the salad? I mean, who in their right mind eats only half! Don’t know if I’ve told you but one of my first jobs was at CPK so I’m a sucker for a good BBQ Chicken Salad!

  • Laura
    October 14, 2013

    Oh my word. I roasted a chicken (and made your parmesan green beans as a side dish, naturally, because they’re my favorite) when I had company on Saturday night and used the leftover chicken to make this salad for lunch on Sunday. It was AMAZING. My husband (who did not partake– a salad is not a meal?!) even said I should make it for dinner for the two of us sometime. Thank you so much. You’re my favorite. Of all time.

  • Ashley H.
    February 15, 2014

    Tracy, what is your favorite BBQ sauce to use with this recipe? Thanks!

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