Apr 14, 2016

Southwest Salad with BBQ Chicken

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
This Southwest salad recipe is made with BBQ chicken, cilantro lime dressing, corn, black beans and more for an easy protein packed salad.

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This Southwest salad recipe is my go to weeknight dinner when I’m out all day. After a long day it’s easy to throw together, plus the chicken and dressing can be made ahead of time.

There are so many flavors going on with the light cilantro lime vinaigrette and tender smooth lettuce offsets the smoky barbecue chicken and fire roasted corn, I could eat an entire serving bowl myself. Call it butter lettuce, Boston lettuce or Bibb lettuce; it is my favorite lettuce to serve in salads because of the light, sweet flavor and tender leaves.

Southwest Salad with BBQ Chicken

Key Ingredients in This Recipe

  • Chicken thighs – Chicken thighs are one of the more inexpensive cuts of chicken so it’s the perfect choice when cooking for a large number of people. I also love how tender they are after they are cooked in BBQ chicken.
  • BBQ Sauce – Make your own BBQ sauce using my recipe here or use your favorite store-bought sauce for this recipe.
  • Butter lettuce – Butter lettuce (which includes Boston and Bibb lettuce) has tender, thin leaves that are almost silky in texture. I love using this delicate lettuce for this salad though it can easily be swapped with romaine.
  • Fire roasted corn – While you can certainly make your own fire roasted corn for this recipe I typically buy a bag of frozen fire-roasted corn and thaw it to toss in the salad.
  • Queso fresco – Queso fresco is a soft cow’s milk cheese used in Mexican dishes to balance spicy flavors.
Southwest Salad with BBQ Chicken Reshoot 1.31.21-2.jpg

How to Make Southwest Salad with BBQ Chicken Salad

For the dressing:

  1. Whisk dressing. Place all of the ingredients for the dressing in a small mixing bowl and whisk until all ingredients are combined.

For the chicken:

  1. Grill chicken. Heat the grill to high. Brush the chicken with the barbecue sauce until completely coated. Grill the chicken until completely cooked through.
  2. Cool and chop. Remove the chicken from grill and let stand on a cutting board for 5 minutes. When cool to the touch cut the chicken into 1” pieces.

To assemble the salad:

  1. Toss lettuce with dressing. Place the butter lettuce in a large mixing bowl. Next, add dressing to the salad, 2 tablespoons at a time and toss until all lettuce is lightly and evenly coated.
  2. Toss with toppings. Add the green onions, corn, black beans and avocado then toss to combine.
  3. Serve with chicken and cheese. Divide the salad evenly into bowls, top each with some of the chicken and queso fresco. Serve immediately.
Southwest Salad with BBQ Chicken Reshoot 1.31.21-50.jpg

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe

  • You can easily swap chicken breasts in this recipe though they may require a bit longer cooking time.
  • While I cook this chicken on the grill it can also be made in a cast iron pan over medium heat.
Southwest Salad with BBQ Chicken Reshoot 1.31.21-31.jpg

Other Recipes to Try

If you enjoy this Southwest salad recipe, I recommend checking out some of these:

Southwest Salad with BBQ Chicken Reshoot 1.31.21-34.jpg

Southwest Salad with BBQ Chicken

Print Pin
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Serves 2 as an entreé

Ingredients:

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

For the chicken:

  • ½ pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce (I use Sweet Baby Ray’s®)

For the salad:

  • 10 ounces butter lettuce, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pit removed and diced
  • ½ cup fire-roasted corn
  • ½ cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup crumbled queso fresco

Instructions:

For the dressing:

  • Place all of the ingredients for the dressing in a small mixing bowl and whisk until all ingredients are combined.

For the chicken:

  • Heat the grill to high. Brush the chicken with the barbecue sauce until completely coated. Grill the chicken until completely cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken from grill and let stand on a cutting board for 5 minutes. When cool to the touch cut the chicken into 1” pieces.

To assemble the salad:

  • Place the butter lettuce in a large mixing bowl. Add dressing to the salad, 2 tablespoons at a time and toss until all lettuce is lightly and evenly coated.
  • Add the green onions, corn, black beans and avocado then toss to combine.
  • Divide the salad evenly into bowls, top each with some of the chicken and queso fresco. Serve immediately.

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