Barbecue Ranch Chicken Salad
Confession #1: I tried BBQ ranch for the first time just a few years ago. The combo sounded gross to me… Why would you ever put barbecue sauce on a salad? I tried a bite of my cousin’s salad while we were out and loved it, and my mind was forever changed. The sweet-smoky of the dressing with all that cool goodness of vegetables paired much better than I expected. How had I been living without this for so long?
Confession #2: I have never served a salad as a main dish to my family for dinner before this very recipe graced our table. My kids don’t eat lettuce super well, and it wasn’t something I grew up eating as a main course. Salad for dinner was a bit foreign to me, I guess. As healthy as we eat, salad as a main dish just didn’t sound like it would fly at my house. I mean, can you really get full off of only veggies and protein? Yes, yes you can! And you’ll love it.
This recipe is wonderful. My kids eat it so well, which I attribute to the divine dressing, and no one complained about it as a main dish because the beans, corn, and chicken really make it a satisfying meal. I hope you try it because it is delicious and could very well change your mind about salad for dinner, too!
How do you store leftover barbecue ranch chicken salad?
Dressed salad really doesn’t keep very well because it often gets soggy sitting in the dressing overnight. If you have leftovers that are undressed, I recommend placing the veggies in a container lined with a paper towel to absorb liquid. They’ll keep for up to 2 days. Store the chicken and dressing separately, in their own containers. Each will keep for up to 5 to 7 days stored in the fridge.
What else can you use the dressing on?
This dressing is just divine and goes well on literally everything. I love it as a dip for fries, a topping for nachos, or over top eggs, roasted potatoes, and pretty much anything else! I might even be tempted to eat it plain, it’s that good.
Can you change up parts of this salad if someone doesn’t eat certain components?
You sure can! These ingredients are typical of a Southwestern salad, but take out any that don’t suit your palate (or your family’s). You can also add in other components that you like, including radishes, bell pepper, or jalapeno! To add a bit more protein to the dressing, you can always swap out sour cream for plain Greek yogurt.
Barbecue ranch chicken salad is the most flavorful salad you’ll ever eat, complete with a smoky and sweet dressing, grilled chicken, avocado, tomato, corn, romaine, and a whole lot of other vibrant veggies.
For the barbecue ranch dressing:
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the salad:
- 2–3 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1 cup frozen or canned corn, thawed or drained
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 14.5-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 green onions, diced
- 1–2 cups grilled chicken, sliced thin
- Additional barbecue sauce for serving
- For the dressing, simply add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl, and whisk until smooth.
- For the salad, just add all of the veggies and beans to a large bowl, and toss to combine. Add the chicken on top. Lightly dress and toss right before serving.
- Serve with additional dressing and barbecue sauce to fit individual tastes.
- To quickly thaw frozen corn, just rinse it in a sieve under warm water until it is thawed, about 30 seconds.
- I used original-style Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce and loved the level of sweet it had. Plus, it was on sale.
- The leftover dressing is amazing as fry sauce and on about anything else you can think to put it on.
So delicious that even my kids adore it, this barbecue ranch chicken salad is packed with colorful veggies and topped with the most irresistible savory and slightly sweet BBQ ranch dressing!
This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated and rephotographed in July 2019.