February 15, 2012

BBQ Chicken salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing

How do you feel about Valentines Day? Do you love it, hate it, care less about it? Let me know your thoughts? I'm completely curious and intrigued now about this holiday in a way that I never have been in the past - more on that another time. For now, I'll just share this new recipe that I made for our valentines dinner last night.

I had been wanting to try this salad recipe I recently found on Pinterst from mel's kitchen cafe. I know, salad, it's nothing romantic, you can give me a hard time. But I had all these ingredients in the fridge that I didn't want to waste. Let me tell you, we were not disappointed! In fact the salad is even better the second day, I'm eating the left overs for lunch right now! (don't tell Ryan, he thinks the left overs are waiting for him at home for his lunch... oops!)

You know that I just love a quick meal. One that tastes good and is also good for you is a prerequisite of mine as well. This salad is all that!

I will say this though, I have been cheating big time and buying the pre-cooked chicken at Trader Joes. It's probably loaded with preservatives but until I have 45 minutes to cook my chicken after I get home from work, this is what I'll be doing. I often have these lofty dreams of cooking whole chicken on a Saturday or Sunday, shredding or dicing them all up and then freezing them for such a time as this, but that never happens either. I'm making myself feel guilty right now so I think we all know what I'll be doing this weekend!

Anyway, back to the salad. Grad this recipe and put it in your go-to weeknight meal list! The salad is perfect for a light but protein rich meal with the black beans and chicken. What really does it for me is the creamy BBQ cilantro lime dressing and like I said, it's better the second day. I cut the recipe in half for Ryan and I and didn't use any iceberg lettuce, just romaine. Ryan and I both agreed that next time we make it we are going to add the tortilla strips for extra crunch and texture. That will be really fun!

Hope you enjoy!

BBQ Chicken salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing
(from mel's kitchen cafe)

Chicken and Salad:
3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups BBQ sauce (I use Buster's Mild BBQ Sauce)
½ head iceberg lettuce, cored and chopped
2 romaine hearts, chopped
1/2 red onion diced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed small or shredded
4 ounces Monterey jack cheese, cubed small or shredded

Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 cup BBQ sauce

For the salad, combine the cooked chicken and BBQ sauce in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use.

In a large bowl, toss together the iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, red onion, cilantro, corn, black beans and cheese. Toss the mixed salad with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the dressing, if desired. Otherwise, you can serve the dressing on the side. Place salad on plates and top with the prepared BBQ chicken and additional dressing.

For the dressing, combine all the ingredients together and whisk (or shake, if using a jar) vigorously to combine. You could also run this through a blender to make it even more smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.


  1. Yummy! I love Mels Kitchen Cafe! An fyi, if you have defrosted chicken, you can dice it, pat it dry, heat an oil that can be used with very high heat ( like grapeseed, avocado, peanut, etc, ) to very high. And i mean high heat! If you're going to coat it with a sauce no need to season it first but if there isn't a sauce season with your favorites (we use lemon pepper or Frontier's Mama Garlic) for most salads. Toss the meat in the hot oil and stir quickly. The meat will be done in 4-6 minutes! The heat seals in the moisture and cooks it quickly.

  2. Karli! Thanks so much for the tip. I have tried cooking the diced chicken before, but never at a higher heat, so I will have to try that. Thanks!