This barbecue chicken salad is chock-full of good stuff…oven barbecued chicken thighs, crisp lettuce, fresh tomatoes and corn, delicious cheese, and creamy barbecue-ranch dressing, all topped off with a few crunchy corn chips.
I spent most of August trying to figure out how to get fresh corn into all the things. I did manage to get it in most of the things, at least. I wish I could have shared this salad with you earlier, but hey…I didn’t. So, corn is out of season now, but that’s okay. The great thing about corn is that frozen corn is almost as good as fresh…no cooking, just thaw it and throw it on the salad.
Barbecue chicken is not something that I’ve made at home a lot, and honestly the idea of a barbecue chicken salad always seemed oddly overwhelming to me. That may seem bizarre if you read my blog much and you know the types of food that I cook on a regular basis. The thing about me, though, is that I am really, really bad at making meals that require me to make more than one item at a time. That’s why I make so many one-pot and one-dish meals and almost never make a “meat and three” type of meal (I recently acquired Ina Garten’s book Make it Ahead and with her encouragement I hope to get better at, well, making things ahead. Why, just last night we had a dinner of cornbread dressing that I assembled the day before, cranberry sauce I made the day before, and turkey thighs cooked in the slow cooker).
Anyway, why on earth was I scared of barbecue chicken salad??!?!? I must have read a recipe that was overly complicated. My recipe is not. Sear the chicken, slather it with sauce, throw it in the oven. While it’s roasting, chop and assemble the rest of the ingredients. Boom. Done. The Fritos were my naughty touch. I love those things (and my sister is gagging because we have an inside joke about Fritos) and I cannot stop eating them. Oh well. They were awfully delicious on top of this barbecue chicken salad!
Yield: 4 salads
20 minPrep Time:
20 minCook Time:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, trimmed
- salt and pepper
- 1/4 cup ranch dressing
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- 2 hearts of romaine, chopped, washed, and dried
- 1 cup corn kernels (frozen-thawed, or fresh-1-2 ears)
- 2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1/4 cup monterey Jack cheese + 1/4 cup pepper Jack cheese (or you can use 1/2 cup of just one of these)
- corn chips (e.g. Fritos)
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat the oil in a medium oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes on each side.
- While the chicken is searing, whisk together 1/4 cup barbecue sauce with the dressing. Cover and place in the refrigerator. Brush the chicken liberally on both sides with the remaining barbecue sauce (I like mine good and sticky, so I used all of the sauce). Place the skillet into the oven and cook the chicken for 15 minutes. Remove and place on a cutting board to cool slightly.
- To assemble the salads, divide the lettuce, corn, tomatoes, and cheese among 4 plates. Cut the chicken into strips or chunks and divide among the plates. Drizzle each salad with 2 tablespoons of dressing then top with desired amount of corn chips. Serve immediately.
To assemble into a Mason jar salad, allow the chicken to cool completely then place the ingredients into the jar in this order: dressing, chicken, cheese, tomatoes, corn, lettuce. Place corn chips in a separate container.
Click here to print the recipe for barbecue chicken salad!