Sunday, June 12, 2011

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing

Actually, the real full name of this is *deepbreath* BBQ Chicken Salad with Sweet Potatoes, Black Bean & Corn Succotash, and Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing.  But please, read on and you’ll discover this isn’t as complicated as the name implies!

This salad was a great meal to use up various ingredients I had on hand.  In my first CSA box of the season it included a delicious head of bibb lettuce.  All the fun social events that occur in the summer can lead to heavy eating for me.  I decided the lettuce in my CSA was a sign I needed to eat more salads!  Salads can be boring for me sometimes, so it’s important to try different variations to keep my interest in them.  And as I mentioned in my Balsamic Vinaigrette post, a homemade dressing is not only impressive, it’s delicious, and definitely adds variety to your salads.

I was mainly inspired by the flavors of Panera’s BBQ Chicken Salad.  I decided that the lonely sweet potato that had been sitting on my counter for a week, would be a great spin on this salad.  I peeled, chopped, and roasted the sweet potatoes, and they were a filling, healthy starch to add to the salad.  Along with frozen corn (it wasn’t quite in season yet when I made this mid-May), canned black beans, and chicken marinated in BBQ sauce then grilled, it made for a healthy meal that even satisfied Nathan hungry appetite!


BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing

Yield: 2 servings with plenty of the dressing leftover

Obviously you should just use whatever veggies you have on hand. I only had corn, sweet potatoes, and black beans, but this salad would also be delicious with tomatoes, green peppers, red onion, or whatever you like!

I prepared the beans & corn like a succotash. I did all the prep for this salad (chopping, etc) in the morning, so I decided to let the frozen corn thaw all day in the fridge combined with the beans & some seasonings to just enhance the flavor. In the evening we roasted the sweet potatoes, and grilled the chicken. I threw together the dressing while those cooked. It came together really fast. Tossing the beans & corn in a succotash isn't completely necessary, you'll still get a delicious salad if you skip the succotash step!


2 chicken breasts
1/4-1/2 cup of barbecue sauce to marinade (optional, but recommended)

1 head bibb lettuce, washed & chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled & chopped

1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili pepper
1/2 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1/2-2/3 cup frozen corn, thawed (unless you plan to let this thaw & marinade all day like I did!)
salt & pepper to taste

2/3 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
1/3 cup buttermilk, sour cream, or nonfat greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons milk
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons 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 1/3 cup BBQ sauce

Additional ingredients:
extra virgin olive oil or nonstick spray (to lightly coat the sweet potatoes before roasting)
extra BBQ sauce for drizzling on finished salad


Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Add beans & corn, season with salt & pepper. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Marinate chicken in BBQ sauce about 6 hours (optional). Preheat grill (we used the George Foreman), and cook chicken until done. Remove from heat and let "rest" for about 5-10 minutes. Chicken can even be made ahead of time & refrigerated.

Make 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.

Assemble lettuce, black bean & corn succotash, sweet potates, and top with chicken. Drizzle with additional BBQ sauce, followed by the Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing.

Dressing adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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21 Responses to “BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing”

  1. 1
    Maris (In Good Taste) — June 12, 2011 @ 3:18 pm

    Now this looks like a salad I would love to dig my teeth into!

  2. 2
    Jen @ — June 12, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    We got a huge head of lettuce this week too and have been eating salads a lot with it. I love the addition of the sweet potato!

  3. 3
    Shannon — June 13, 2011 @ 7:31 am

    That looks so incredibly wonderful and Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing sounds to die for. A nice summery, but hearty salad.

  4. 4
    Jaida — June 13, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    This looks so delicious!!!I love salad, and a good, creamy dressing…perfect for a light summer lunch!!

  5. 5
    Nicole, RD — June 13, 2011 @ 9:30 am

    Wow, this looks so good! My kind of salad and perfect for summer!

  6. 6
    Lauren — June 13, 2011 @ 5:09 pm

    I cannot wait to try the BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing – it looks delicious!

  7. 7
    Betsy — June 14, 2011 @ 11:35 am

    Thanks so much for sharing… This looks awesome!! Planning to make it for a friend coming for dinner tomorrow.

  8. 8
    Kerstin — June 14, 2011 @ 9:01 pm

    Now this is my kind of salad! Love all those ingredients together!

  9. 9
    Lori — June 14, 2011 @ 10:14 pm

    Oh my word. This dressing sounds delicious! Perfect for summer 🙂

  10. 10
    Julia — June 15, 2011 @ 5:55 am

    You’re speakin my language with a salad like this… And agreed, homemade dressings are the way to go since they’re impressive and delicious!

  11. 11
    Ashley — June 22, 2011 @ 6:07 pm

    This was absolutely fabulous! I’m linking to you this Sunday to share the deliciousness.

  12. 12
    juliana — July 10, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

    this looks great! love this salad!

  13. 13
    Kayla — April 16, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

    It is as good as it sounds! Delicious! Definitely prep everything you can ahead of time. It takes me a while to get it all together, especially with all the interruptions from my preschooler. I’m also adding the extra fresh cilantro to the salad greens so it doesn’t go to waste!

  14. 14
    Kayla — April 26, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

    I posted a shout out for your salad on my blog yesterday. I really love this salad.

  15. 15
    valerie — June 6, 2012 @ 8:21 am

    so yummy! I’m back for a second try at this because we loved it so much the first time around. thanks for sharing your ideas!

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  18. 16
    Maureen — May 5, 2014 @ 7:03 pm

    I made this dressing and it has a wonderful taste, my only issue is that it is just to thin/runny. What can I add to thicken this recipe:

    We started a salad club and the dressing went so fast, it needs thickening quick. HELP!!!

    Thank you!

  19. Pingback: BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing - A Bountiful Kitchen

  20. Pingback: BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing | A Bountiful Kitchen

  21. Pingback: BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing | A Bountiful Kitchen

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