A hearty chopped BBQ chicken salad tossed with fresh greens, BBQ chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, tortilla strips and a delicious cilantro lime dressing. My absolute favorite salad!
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Family-Favorite Salad Recipe
This BBQ chicken salad is my family’s all-time favorite salad recipe. We could eat it every single day! It’s so easy to put together and tastes GREAT as leftovers too. Seriously so delicious.
It’s made with lettuce, BBQ chicken and black bean salsa and is topped with a creamy cilantro lime dressing. The flavors are fantastic and will turn anyone into a salad lover! I have been told it reminds people of Panera’s BBQ chicken salad.
BBQ chicken and a killer dressing are really all it takes to make this truly tasty salad.
Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.
- Chicken: I like to use boneless, skinless chicken breast for the crockpot, but you can also opt for a quicker version with rotisserie, if you prefer. ]
- BBQ sauce: I love using this homemade BBQ sauce to make the crockpot chicken, but feel free to use your favorite.
- Lettuce: The crunchy backdrop for the chicken salad.
- Black bean salsa: This black bean salsa recipe really brings the salad together, but you can swap it for whatever toppings you’d like.
- Cilantro lime dressing: All it takes is blending ranch dressing, fresh cilantro, lime juice and a tomatillo to elevate this dish to the next level.
- Tortilla strips: An extra bit of crunch to add just a little more texture to the salad.
BBQ Chicken in Crockpot
The beauty of this recipe is that the crockpot BBQ chicken cooks on low all day in the slow cooker. You only need two ingredients to make it: BBQ sauce and chicken breasts. Just throw them both in the crockpot and cook on low for about 6 hours.
Cilantro Lime Dressing
The cilantro lime dressing may be my favorite part about this dish. The fresh flavors pair perfectly with the salad and really help to round out the recipe. Simply combine the ranch dressing, cilantro, lime and a tomatillo in a blender.
You can even throw in half of a jalapeno if you like spice. Then blend until smooth. I’d recommend refrigerating the dressing for at least 30 minutes prior to serving, so the flavors have time to meld together and the consistency thickens up.
How to Make BBQ Chicken Salad
- Cook. Combine chicken and BBQ sauce in a crockpot. Cook 6 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high. Shred the chicken.
- Blend. Make the dressing by blending ranch dressing, cilantro, lime and a tomatillo in a blender. Chill at least 30 minutes.
- Serve. Place lettuce on a plate and top with chicken and black bean salsa. Drizzle with dressing and top with tortilla strips.
Tips + Substitutions
- Chicken: I love making this crockpot BBQ chicken. It’s super easy and we always have leftovers. You can also make baked BBQ chicken, or even shred a rotisserie chicken and mix together with your favorite BBQ sauce.
- Grilled corn: For another layer of flavor, use grilled corn in the black bean salsa. It gives it a nice charred taste.
- Extra toppings: Fresh homemade guacamole, pico de gallo, cheese or chopped jalapeno would all be delicious additions.
- Homemade tortilla strips. Easily make your own homemade tortilla strips if you don’t have any on hand. All you need is flour tortillas and oil!
- Dressing: You could also swap this dressing for a homemade ranch dressing, salsa ranch dressing, cilantro lime crema or an avocado lime dressing.
Of course! You can also make this easy baked BBQ chicken for a quicker alternative. Or simply shred a rotisserie chicken and mix with your favorite BBQ sauce.
The black bean salsa has black beans, corn, tomatoes, red onion, fresh cilantro, Kosher salt, and lime. If you don’t have time to make the black bean salsa recipe, you can swap it with your favorite toppings, like the ones listed above.
When it comes to salad it is best to only make what you are going to eat with 24 hours as the longer the dressing sits on the greens the soggier it will become! That being said, if you have stored your ingredients separately you can use them to make a wrap the next day, another salad or even top a pita with it.
Packed with nutritious ingredients and plenty of fiber and protein this salad is a great option for a lighter meal!
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BBQ Chicken Salad
- Place chicken breasts in a crockpot. Pour BBQ sauce over the chicken. If I have onions on hand, I will put a few slices on top of the chicken. Cook 6 hours on low or 3 to 4 hours on high, or until the chicken shreds easily. Shred chicken and drain any fat.
- In the base of a blender or food processor, blend ranch dressing, cilantro, lime juice, and tomatillo. If you like it spicy, add jalapeno. Chill at least 30 minutes.
- Place desired amount of lettuce on your plate. Add a few spoonfuls of chicken and black bean salsa. Drizzle with dressing and top with tortilla strips.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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