Clean Ranch Dressing + BBQ Chicken Salad
When I lived in my sorority house at USC, it included 3 meals per day. At lunch and dinner, there was always a huge salad buffet as part of the meal – all different kinds of toppings, dressings, etc. Granted, I wasn’t a big “healthy eater” in the traditional sense of the word in college (let’s just say I enjoyed my fair share of fast food and ice cream), but it was still a good resource to have. The best part looking back was when I (and every other 20 year old girl prepping for spring break in Cabo) would make a big deal out of “mmmmm I’m going to be healthy for lunch today and mmmmjust have SALAD. Guys, just a SALAD.” Cut to me piling up lettuce and veggies (good) and completely dousing it in BBQ sauce and ranch dressing (not good). Sigh. I was so misinformed, and yet still so thin. Life isn’t fair sometimes.
As a result of having a BBQ chicken salad pretty much 4X/week for about 4 years, I got a bit burned out on them and kind of forgot about the magic that is a savory, sweet, crunchy BBQ chicken salad. How many times can I say BBQ chicken salad in one post? We shall see.
This meal is such an easy, quick fix for a weeknight dinner. It’s also a good tactic to prepare the BBQ chicken in a separate bowl, and then save it for snacks or lunch the next day.
This ranch dressing is free of sugar, dairy, preservatives, and gluten and all the other terrible ingredients that make ranch THE MOST DELICIOUS CREATION EVER ESPECIALLY ON PIZZA CRUST. Whoops, I’ve digressed a bit. THIS clean ranch dressing saves well for 3-4 days in the fridge, so you can use it on multiple dishes! I promise it is delicious – you might even fool family members and friends into thinking it’s real ranch!!
BBQ CHICKEN SALAD + RANCH DRESSING
**For the dressing**
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp seasoned salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1.5 T fresh lemon juice
2.5 T freshly chopped dill
2T chopped fresh chives
Parsley + Black Pepper to taste
DIRECTIONS: Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Alternatively, place all ingredients in a cute mason jar, put the lid on, and shake vigorously until all ingredients are combined.
**For the salad**
1 large head of romaine lettuce, chopped
1 cup of broccoli/carrot mix or slaw, jicama, anything crunchy (I bought a pre-made broccoli slaw)
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2T scallions, chopped
2-3 cups diced chicken – for quick weeknight dinners, I recommend buying a rotisserie chicken and shredding it, or buying packages of “Just Chicken” from Sprouts (a lifesaver).
1 cup BBQ sauce – make your own or check your ingredients for no processed sugar – I like the Bone Suckin brand which uses honey as a sweetener.
Avocado, fresh cracked pepper for garnish
- In a small mixing bowl, mix the BBQ sauce with the diced chicken.
- In a large salad bowl, add all ingredients and combine.
- Pour the ranch dressing over the top of the salad.
- Top with BBQ chicken, avocado, additional cilantro, and fresh black pepper!