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”

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