This chopped salad combines sweet & tangy BBQ chicken, black beans, corn, and tons of fresh veggies tied together with a spicy kick of chipotle ranch. If you like CPK's Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad, you'll love this at-home version!
Today's post is inspired by (but not an exact copycat of) California Pizza Kitchen's The Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad!
When we flew back to Michigan a few weeks ago for our baby shower, our first flight was delayed, making our already tight connection a REALLY close call. But we speed-walked to our second flight and got there just as they were finishing boarding.
Luckily, I had enough time to double back and snag a prepackaged BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad from a CPK before getting onto the flight, which is a good thing because I knew if I didn't get something more substantial to eat than the complimentary packet of mini-pretzels I was going to be HANGRY. And no one wants to be around a hangry pregnant lady.
I will say - I was not expecting much from the prepackaged salad because let's be honest, sometimes those are...just kind of sad. But I was happily surprised that it was delicious! Pete and I wolfed it down before the flight even took off and I decided I had to try my hand at making it at home.
Apparently, this salad is a favorite at California Pizza Kitchen and I can definitely see why. The chicken has sweet & tangy BBQ flavor, the veggies are fresh and crisp, the avocado and cheese add a little creamy richness, and the tortilla strips have a nice crunchy texture.
What really kicks this version up a notch (in my humble opinion), is the Magical Chipotle Ranch Dressing. CPK's version of this salad is served with an herb ranch, but I love the little zip of smoky spiciness that the chipotle peppers add to the dressing. Plus I think it's just an accepted fact that homemade ranch is way better than bottled.
Pile all those ingredients together, drizzle a little more BBQ sauce over the top and dig in.
Yummy noises await you!
This salad combines sweet & tangy BBQ chicken, black beans, corn, and tons of fresh veggies tied together with a spicy kick of chipotle ranch. If you like CPK's Original BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad, you'll love this at-home version!
- 1/2 lb chicken breast tenderloins (or 1 cup diced precooked chicken)
- salt & pepper, to taste
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (such as Sweet Baby Ray's), plus more for topping if desired
- 1 heart romaine lettuce, chopped into bite size pieces (about 5 cups)
- 1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup canned sweet corn, drained
- 1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup green onions, diced
- 1/2 medium avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
- 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 cup Magical Chipotle Ranch Dressing (recipe link below!) or your favorite bottled ranch dressing (more or less to taste)
- 1/4 cup tortilla strips
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season on both sides with salt and pepper. Add seasoned chicken to skillet and cook in an even layer until browned and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board, allow to cool slightly and chop into bite size pieces. Transfer to a bowl and toss with BBQ sauce.
If using precooked chicken, transfer to a bowl and toss with BBQ sauce.
In a large bowl, combine romaine lettuce, black beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, green onions, avocado, pepper jack cheese, cilantro & dressing and toss to combine. Divide into serving bowls and top with tortilla strips and an extra drizzle of BBQ sauce and/or dressing, if desired.
Get the recipe for Magical Chipotle Ranch Dressing!