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Looking to take your chicken salad up a notch? This healthy and flavor-packed BBQ chicken salad comes together quickly and will make you crave a big, hearty salad for your next meal.

overhead image of BBQ chicken salad in a large serving bowl with greek yogurt ranch dressing.
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The BEST BBQ Chicken Salad

When I tell you I was devastated when Panera Bread removed their BBQ chicken salad from their menu I’m not joking. It was my go-to fast casual meal or dinner when I didn’t want to cook. I craved it at least once a week! So since I could no longer get my beloved Panera BBQ chicken salad, I decided to recreate it at home.

And let me tell you…this one is better! Not only does it have the same taste and texture as the original but it also has some healthier swaps to make this a salad you feel good about eating. It can also be easily added to your meal prep so you can eat it throughout the week.

Packed full of nutritious veggies and BBQ grilled chicken breasts, this will be on your weekly meal prep every week!

Ingredients in BBQ Chicken Salad

  • Grilled chicken – boneless skinless chicken breasts marinated in barbecue sauce
  • BBQ sauce – for marinating chicken. I like this version from Primal Kitchen.
  • Romaine lettuce – this is the base of your salad. You can also replace romaine with a different green.
  • Black Beans – I use the canned variety for simplicity.
  • Red Onion – or green onion.
  • Corn – fresh, canned or frozen all work.
  • Cherry tomato – you can use any kind of tomato but cherry tomatoes make for easy chopping.
  • Tortilla strips – for crunch. You can make your own or use store-bought crunchy tortilla chips.
  • Cheese – I like using monterey jack or cheddar cheese.
  • Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing – my own version of ranch is a combo of greek yogurt, lime juice, fresh cilantro, garlic, salt and black pepper. More traditional ranch uses mayonnaise but this is a lightened-up version.

How to Make BBQ Chicken Salad

STEP 1: COOK CHICKEN

Place chicken in a large bowl and top with 1/4 cup BBQ sauce and salt and pepper. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat (roughly 450 degrees F). Add chicken and grill for 5-7 minutes per side or until chicken is no longer pink and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Remove chicken from grill and chop into bite-sized pieces. Place chicken in a bowl and top with remaining 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce to coat well.

BBQ chicken coated in BBQ sauce in a white bowl.

STEP 2: MAKE RANCH DRESSING

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl or mason jar and mix well to combine. Add more water to thin out dressing, if desired.

Greek yogurt ranch dressing in a mason jar.

STEP 3: DRESS SALAD + SERVE

In a large bowl combine romaine, black beans, red onion, corn, cherry tomatoes, tortilla chips and cheese. Add chicken to salad and drizzle with ranch dressing. Serve immediately or see storage instructions below.

BBQ chicken salad in a large salad bowl with ranch dressing.

Easy Swaps + Modifications

Swap chicken – for another protein or use rotisserie chicken in place of barbecue chicken if you don’t have time to grill.

Add avocado – I prefer to add this just before serving so wait to cut it if you’re planning to meal prep this salad.

Try a different dressing – You can use store-bought ranch if you prefer or try a different dressing like this cilantro lime dressing.

Storage Instructions

This BBQ Chicken salad can easily be meal-prepped for healthy lunches all week. Just be sure to keep the dressing separate from the salad to prevent the salad from getting soggy.

Simply store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and it will keep for up to 5 days.

Make it in a Mason Jar!

To make this BBQ chicken salad in a mason jar start by adding some Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing to the bottom. Top with chicken, cherry tomatoes, red onion black beans, corn and finally the romaine (in this exact order). Leave tortilla chips on the side so they don’t get soggy. When ready to serve use a fork to mix everything up, shake, add tortilla chips and enjoy!

overhead image of BBQ chicken salad in a large serving bowl with greek yogurt ranch dressing.

More Salad Recipes

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BBQ Chicken Salad

Looking to take your chicken salad up a notch? This healthy and flavor-packed BBQ chicken salad comes together quickly and will make you crave a big, hearty salad for your next meal.

  • Author: Davida Lederle
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: BBQ
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I like this one)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 3 Romaine Hearts, chopped
  • 1 cup cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1 dry pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese

For the Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing:

  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • juice, 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp water
  • salt + pepper, to taste 

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in a large bowl and top with 1/4 cup BBQ sauce and salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat grill or grill-pan to medium-high heat (roughly 450 degrees F).
  3. Add chicken and grill for 5-7 minutes per side or until chicken is no longer pink and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  4. Remove chicken from grill and chop into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Place chicken in a bowl and top with remaining 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce to coat well. Set aside.
  6. In a large bowl combine romaine, black beans, red onion, corn, cherry tomatoes, tortilla chips and cheese. Top with chicken and drizzle with ranch dressing (see instructions below).

For the Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl or mason jar and mix well to combine. Add more water for a thinner dressing.

Keywords: BBQ chicken salad, barbecue chicken salad, panera BBQ chicken salad

overhead image of BBQ chicken salad in a large serving bowl with greek yogurt ranch dressing.

Meet the Maven

Hi! I'm Davida and welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm a wellness blogger, yoga teacher, certified herbalist, and green beauty lover.

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