Health benefits of Chicken BBQ Ranch Salad

Chicken Bbq Ranch Salad – Calories & Weight Loss

When it comes to crafting a salad that’s both delicious and satisfying, few combinations can beat BBQ and ranch. The question often arises: does BBQ and ranch go together? Absolutely, and this Chicken BBQ Ranch Salad is a testament to that perfect pairing. Not only is this dish a symphony of bold flavors and creamy textures, but it’s also designed with simplicity in mind.

Whether you’re looking to shake up your meal prep or need a quick yet nutritious dinner option, this salad balances calorie-conscious eating with the indulgence of BBQ. Dive into this recipe where ease meets taste, and discover how every bite leads you closer to your weight loss goals without sacrificing flavor.

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This healthy Chicken Bbq Ranch Salad dressing stands out not only for its exceptional taste but also for its impressive nutritional profile.

Packed with lean protein from the chicken and a bounty of fresh greens, it’s an ideal choice for anyone keeping an eye on their calorie intake.

Each serving contains a balanced amount of calories, making it a smart option for those on Weight Watchers or similar dietary plans.

The creamy ranch dressing, when paired with the smoky BBQ flavor, enhances the salad without overwhelming the palate, ensuring that you enjoy a meal that’s as healthy as it is delicious.

Chicken BBQ ranch salad and its nutritional impact
Credits to Add a Pinch

Why You’ll Love This Chicken BBQ Ranch Salad

If you’re looking for a salad that ticks all the boxes, you’ve found it in the Chicken BBQ Ranch Salad. Here’s why it’s bound to become a favorite:

Health Benefits: This salad is a powerhouse of nutrients. Loaded with protein from the chicken and packed with vitamins from an array of fresh vegetables, it supports muscle maintenance and overall health. The fiber-rich greens also aid digestion and help you feel full longer, contributing to weight management.

Explosive Taste Profile: The combination of tangy BBQ sauce and creamy ranch dressing creates a taste sensation that is hard to resist. The smokiness of the BBQ paired with the cool, herby ranch is a match made in culinary heaven, making each forkful a delightful experience.

Convenience of Preparation: Whether you need a quick dinner or a substantial meal that can be prepped in advance, this salad is a go-to option. It requires minimal cooking and assembly time, making it perfect for busy weeknights or when you need a healthy meal on the go.

Ingredients for BBQ Ranch Salad Dressing

To make your Chicken BBQ Ranch Salad come to life, gather the following ingredients, categorized for your convenience:

For the Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional, for added sweetness)

For the Chicken:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (for coating)

For the Salad:

  • 4 cups mixed greens (such as romaine, arugula, and spinach)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (can use canned, fresh, or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Guide to making your own BBQ ranch sauce
Calories in Ranch Chicken Salad
Credits to The Heirloom Pantry

Dressing Ingredients

Whether you opt for homemade ranch dressing or store-bought, it is what ties all the flavors of this salad together. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Homemade Ranch BBQ Dressing:
    • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
    • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon honey (optional, for added sweetness)
  • Alternatively, you can simplify the process with a store-bought option:
    • Store-Bought Variation: Look for a pre-mixed BBQ ranch dressing, or purchase ranch and BBQ sauce to mix at home.

Salad Ingredients

The foundation of this salad lies in its fresh and crunchy vegetables, complemented by tasty add-ins:

  • 4 cups mixed greens (such as romaine, arugula, and spinach)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (can be canned, fresh, or thawed if frozen)
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Optional: 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese for a tangy addition

Instructions

1. Prepare the Dressing:

In a small bowl, whisk together the ranch dressing, BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, and honey (if using). Set aside or refrigerate if preparing ahead of time.

Preparing BBQ Chicken Salad with Ranch Dressing
Credits to The Mountain Kitchen

2. Cook the Chicken:

  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  • Season the chicken breasts with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Cook the chicken for 5-7 minutes on each side or until fully cooked and the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C).
  • During the last few minutes of cooking, brush the BBQ sauce over the chicken to glaze it. Remove from heat and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing.
Cook the Chicken for Barbecue Chicken Ranch Salad
Credits to The Kitchn

3. Assemble the Salad:

  • In a large bowl, combine the mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, corn, shredded carrots, and sliced avocado.
  • Add the sliced chicken to the salad.
  • Drizzle the prepared BBQ Ranch dressing over the salad.
  • Optionally, sprinkle crumbled feta cheese on top for added flavor.
Assemble the Salad for Barbecue Chicken Ranch Salad
Credits to Avgust

4. Serve:

  • Toss the salad gently to mix the dressing and ingredients evenly.
  • Serve immediately, ensuring that every plate gets an even mix of chicken, vegetables, and dressing.
Serving the Salad for Barbecue Chicken Ranch Salad
Credits to Lemon Blossoms

Dressing Preparation

Create the perfect blend of flavors for your salad dressing with these detailed steps:

  • Step 1: In a mixing bowl, combine 1/2 cup of ranch dressing with 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce.
  • Step 2: Add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the mixture for a hint of tanginess.
  • Step 3: If you prefer a slightly sweeter dressing, whisk in 1 teaspoon of honey.
  • Step 4: Stir all ingredients until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  • Step 5: Refrigerate the dressing while you prepare the rest of the salad to enhance the flavors.

Preparing the Chicken

Follow these guidelines to ensure your chicken is deliciously cooked and ready for the salad:

  • Step 1: Preheat a skillet over medium heat and drizzle in 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Step 2: Season both sides of the chicken breasts with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Step 3: Place the chicken in the skillet and cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C).
  • Step 4: In the final minutes of cooking, brush the chicken with BBQ sauce, allowing it to caramelize slightly.
  • Step 5: Once cooked, remove the chicken from the skillet, let it rest for a few minutes, then slice it into strips.

Assembling the Salad

Combine all components with these steps to finalize your delicious salad:

  • Step 1: In a large serving bowl, lay down a bed of mixed greens.
  • Step 2: Evenly distribute cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion, cucumber, corn kernels, shredded carrots, and sliced avocado over the greens.
  • Step 3: Add the cooked and sliced chicken on top of the salad.
  • Step 4: Drizzle the chilled BBQ Ranch dressing over the entire salad.
  • Step 5: Optionally, sprinkle crumbled feta cheese for an extra layer of flavor.
  • Step 6: Toss the salad gently to ensure all ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.

Recipe Notes and Variations

This Chicken BBQ Ranch Salad is versatile and adaptable to a variety of tastes and dietary requirements. Here are some tips and variations to help you make this dish your own:

  • Protein Variations: Not a fan of chicken? No problem! Substitute grilled shrimp, steak, or tofu for the chicken to cater to different dietary preferences or to simply switch things up.
  • Dressing Alternatives: For a lighter version, you can make the ranch dressing using Greek yogurt or a low-fat mayonnaise base. Vegan? Opt for vegan mayo and plant-based yogurt to keep the creamy texture without animal products.
  • Cheese Options: While feta cheese provides a nice tang, you can experiment with other cheeses such as blue cheese for a stronger flavor or shredded mozzarella for a milder touch.
  • Additional Toppings: Feel free to add nuts like sliced almonds or walnuts for an extra crunch. Crispy bacon bits or crunchy tortilla strips can also add a delightful texture to the salad.
  • Vegetable Substitutions: The beauty of this salad is its flexibility. Feel free to include other vegetables like bell peppers, olives, or artichoke hearts based on your preference or what’s in season.
  • Spice Level Adjustment: If you enjoy a bit of heat, consider adding a dash of hot sauce to the dressing or include sliced jalapeños among the vegetables.

Ingredient Substitutions

To ensure everyone can enjoy this Chicken BBQ Ranch Salad regardless of dietary restrictions or ingredient availability, consider these substitutions:

  • Chicken: Swap out chicken for any other protein like grilled fish, tempeh, or seitan if you’re vegetarian.
  • Ranch Dressing: For a dairy-free alternative, use vegan ranch dressing or a simple olive oil and vinegar mix to keep things light.
  • BBQ Sauce: Look for low-sugar versions if you’re watching your sugar intake, or make your own at home to control the ingredients.
  • Cheese: Omit the cheese for a dairy-free version or replace feta with a dairy-free cheese option.
  • Greens: If mixed greens are not available, any type of lettuce, kale, or spinach makes a great base for this salad.
  • Vegetables: No cherry tomatoes? Try diced regular tomatoes or sun-dried tomatoes for a different taste and texture.

Additional Toppings and Variations

Enhance the flavor or nutritional value of your Chicken BBQ Ranch Salad with these ideas:

  • Nuts and Seeds: Add a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or sliced almonds for a crunchy texture and a boost of healthy fats.
  • Fruits: Introduce a sweet element by adding slices of apple, pear, or a handful of grapes or blueberries.
  • Herbs: Fresh herbs like cilantro, basil, or parsley can add a fresh flavor boost to the salad.
  • Crunchy Elements: For an extra crunch, consider adding croutons, crispy chickpeas, or tortilla strips.
  • Protein Boost: Increase the protein content by including boiled eggs or a scoop of quinoa.
  • Dressing Variations: Experiment with different dressings like homemade Bbq ranch dressing, cilantro lime, honey mustard, or an Asian-inspired ginger dressing to change up the flavor profile.

Nutritional Information

Enjoying a serving of Chicken BBQ Ranch Salad not only satisfies your taste buds but also offers substantial nutritional benefits. Here’s a closer look at the macros and key micronutrients per serving:

  • Calories: Approximately 450 calories per serving, making it a filling yet moderate-calorie meal option.
  • Proteins: About 30 grams of protein per serving, primarily from the chicken, which is essential for muscle repair and growth.
  • Fats: Roughly 25 grams of fat per serving, with a healthy mix of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from the avocado and olive oil used in the dressing.
  • Carbohydrates: Around 22 grams of carbohydrates per serving, including fibers from the vegetables and sugars from the BBQ sauce and dressing.
  • Fiber: Provides about 5 grams of fiber, aiding in digestion and prolonging the feeling of fullness.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: High in vitamins A and C, thanks to the variety of vegetables like tomatoes and greens. Also provides a good amount of calcium from the cheese and iron from the greens.

Storage and Serving Suggestions

To maximize the enjoyment of your Chicken BBQ Ranch Salad, follow these tips for storage and serving:

Storage Tips:

  • Refrigerate Leftovers: If you have any salad left over, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh for up to two days. However, it’s best eaten within 24 hours to maintain the best texture and flavor of the ingredients.
  • Keep Dressing Separate: If you anticipate having leftovers, consider dressing only the portion of the salad you plan to eat right away. Store the remaining dressing separately and add it just before serving to prevent the greens from becoming soggy.
  • Prep Ahead: You can prepare the chicken and chop the vegetables a day in advance. Keep them in separate containers in the fridge to maintain their freshness until you’re ready to assemble the salad.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Room Temperature: Let the chicken come to room temperature for about 10 minutes before adding it to the salad if it has been refrigerated. This helps enhance its flavor and texture.
  • Mix Right Before Serving: Toss the ingredients with the dressing right before serving to ensure every component stays crisp and fresh.
  • Add Crunch Last: If using crunchy toppings like croutons or nuts, add them last to maintain their crunch and prevent them from getting soggy.

Expert Tips

Enhance your Chicken BBQ Ranch Salad with these pro tips:

  • Marinate for Flavor: For deeper flavor, marinate the chicken in BBQ sauce mixed with a little olive oil and garlic powder for at least an hour before cooking.
  • Rest the Chicken: After cooking, let the chicken rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. This ensures it retains its juices and remains moist.
  • Emulsify the Dressing: To achieve a creamy and homogenous dressing, vigorously whisk the ranch and BBQ sauce together, or use a blender. This helps the ingredients emulsify, enhancing the dressing’s texture and flavor adherence.
  • Chill the Dressing: Refrigerate the dressing for at least 30 minutes before serving. This allows the flavors to meld together more cohesively.
  • Layer for Impact: When assembling the salad, layer the ingredients strategically for visual appeal and even flavor distribution in every bite.

FAQs

For a vegetarian version, substitute grilled tempeh, tofu, or a hearty plant-based protein like chickpeas or black beans.

Substitute the ranch dressing with a base of Greek yogurt mixed with herbs for a lower-fat option that still maintains a creamy texture.

The salad can be made gluten-free by ensuring that the BBQ sauce and ranch dressing used are certified gluten-free.

Absolutely! Blue cheese, goat cheese, or even shredded cheddar can be excellent substitutes that add a different flavor profile to the salad.

Chicken Bbq Ranch Salad – Calories & Weight Loss

Recipe by Jose Luis SurjanCourse: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

15

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes
Calories

450

kcal

This Chicken BBQ Ranch Salad combines the smoky flavor of barbecue chicken with the creamy zest of ranch dressing, creating a satisfying and nutritious meal. Perfect for a quick lunch or a hearty dinner, this salad is easy to prepare and packed with fresh, vibrant ingredients.

Ingredients

  • Ranch dressing: 1/2 cup

  • BBQ sauce: 1/4 cup

  • Apple cider vinegar: 1 tablespoon

  • Honey (optional): 1 teaspoon

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: 2

  • Olive oil: 1 tablespoon

  • Garlic powder: 1 teaspoon

  • Salt & Pepper: To taste

  • Mixed greens: 4 cups

  • Cherry tomatoes, halved: 1 cup

  • Red onion, thinly sliced: 1/2

  • Cucumber, sliced: 1

  • Corn kernels: 1/2 cup

  • Shredded carrots: 1/4 cup

  • Avocado, sliced: 1

  • Feta cheese, crumbled (optional): 1/4 cup

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup ranch dressing, 1/4 cup BBQ sauce, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, and 1 teaspoon honey (optional). Whisk until well blended. Set aside or refrigerate to let the flavors meld.
  • Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
    Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for about 5-7 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through (internal temperature should reach 165°F).
    In the last few minutes of cooking, brush the chicken with additional BBQ sauce for extra flavor.
  • In a large salad bowl, toss the mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumber, red onion, corn kernels, and shredded carrots.
    Slice the cooked chicken and add it to the salad.
    Add the sliced avocado and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese if using.
  • Drizzle the prepared BBQ Ranch dressing over the salad.
    Toss everything together to ensure all ingredients are evenly coated with the dressing.
    Serve immediately to enjoy the fresh flavors and crisp textures.

Notes

  • For a richer flavor, allow the chicken to marinate in the BBQ sauce for an hour before cooking. This will enhance the smokiness and depth of the BBQ taste.

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