This BBQ chicken salad is a fresh and colorful combination of grilled BBQ chicken, veggies, cheese, beans and tortilla strips, all tossed in ranch dressing. It’s WAY better than the California Pizza Kitchen version!

When I want a hearty salad, I turn to favorites such as Greek salmon salad, black eyed pea salad, Italian pasta salad and this fabulous BBQ chicken salad.

A bowl of BBQ chicken salad topped with a drizzle of ranch dressing.

I understand that California Pizza Kitchen is technically a pizza restaurant, but I cannot resist ordering their BBQ chicken chopped salad every time I go there. I’ve made my own version of this awesome salad, and honestly? I think it’s way better than the original! This BBQ chicken salad is full of amazing flavors and textures, I could probably eat it every day and never tire of it.

BBQ Chicken Salad Ingredients

To make this salad, you will need cooked chicken, BBQ sauce, romaine lettuce, ranch dressing, corn, black beans, tomatoes, jicama, Monterey Jack cheese, avocado, green onions and tortilla strips.

How Do You Make BBQ Chicken Salad?

Place the lettuce in a large bowl and toss it with some of the ranch dressing. Next, place the chicken in a bowl and coat it in BBQ sauce. Spoon the BBQ chicken on top of the lettuce. Arrange the corn, black beans, diced tomatoes, jicama, cheese, avocado, tortilla strips and green onions on top of the lettuce. Add another drizzle of ranch over the top, then serve immediately and enjoy.

A bowl of salad topped with chicken, tortilla strips, black beans, jiacama, avocado and tomatoes.

Tips For The Perfect Salad

  • I managed to find southwest flavored tortilla strips in my grocery store (in the crouton area), and they were extra delicious, so if you see those, grab ’em! If you can’t find tortilla strips, you can use crushed tortilla chips instead.
  • For the BBQ chicken, I simply grill chicken or pan sear some breasts, then cut them into cubes and toss them in barbecue sauce. You can really use any cooked chicken here, leftover chicken or rotisserie chicken would also work great! You can also use my BBQ chicken marinade for even more flavor.
  • I prefer to use a refrigerated ranch dressing, or make my own ranch dip or ranch dressing. I feel like they taste much fresher than the shelf stable ranch dressings out there.
  • Fresh, frozen or canned corn will all work well in this recipe. If you’re using frozen corn, thaw it before use.
  • BBQ chicken salad is best when served immediately.

Quick Tip

You can prepare the individual components of the dish up to 6 hours before you plan to serve it. I recommend waiting until the last minute to dice the avocado.

A bowl of salad greens, BBQ chicken, corn, beans, avocado, tomataoes and cheese.

Recipe FAQs

Should the chicken in chicken salad be hot or cold?

I think it’s best to put cold chicken in chicken salad for this recipe. If the chicken is hot, it may wilt the lettuce and melt the cheese which is not desirable!

How do you cook chicken for salad?

My favorite ways to cook chicken for salad include grilling and pan searing. Other options include roasting the chicken or even cooking it in a crock pot.

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Flavor Variations

This recipe is great as-is, but you can easily customize the flavors to suit your tastes.

  • Protein: Instead of chicken, try using pulled pork, sliced steak, ground beef or ground turkey. You can also use pinto beans instead of black beans.
  • Vegetables: Feel free to add more veggies to the mix. Some great options include bell peppers, red onion, cucumber, cabbage or fresh cilantro.
  • Toppings: Finish the salad with some french fried onions, a little extra BBQ sauce, bacon, a drizzle of lime juice or sliced olives.

The next time I go to CPK I can actually order a pizza now that my BBQ chicken salad cravings can be fulfilled at home!

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5 from 17 votes

BBQ Chicken Salad

AuthorSara Welch
A bowl of BBQ chicken salad topped with a drizzle of ranch dressing.
This BBQ chicken salad is a fresh and colorful combination of grilled BBQ chicken, veggies, cheese, beans and tortilla strips, all tossed in ranch dressing. WAY better than the California Pizza Kitchen version!
Time
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 minute
Total Time21 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Serves 4

Ingredients 

  • 3 cups cooked chicken cubed (You can use grilled, baked or rotisserie chicken)
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 6 cups romaine lettuce chopped
  • 3/4 cup ranch dressing I prefer the refrigerated type or any other high quality dressing
  • 1 cup corn canned or thawed from frozen
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 1 cup jicama diced
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese shredded
  • 1 avocado diced
  • 1/2 cup green onions thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups tortilla strips

Instructions 

  • Place the lettuce in a large bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of the ranch dressing.
  • Toss the chicken in the BBQ sauce and place it on top of the lettuce.
  • Arrange the corn, beans, tomatoes, jicama, cheese, avocado, green onions and tortilla strips over the lettuce.
  • Drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup of ranch dressing and serve.

Notes

  1. I managed to find southwest flavored tortilla strips in my grocery store (in the crouton area), and they were extra delicious, so if you see those, grab ’em!
  2. For the BBQ chicken, I simply grill or pan sear some chicken breasts, then cut them into cubes and toss them in barbecue sauce. You can really use any cooked chicken here.
  3. I prefer to use a refrigerated ranch dressing, or make my own ranch dressing. I feel like they taste much fresher than the shelf stable ranch dressings out there.

Nutrition

Calories: 616kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 739mg | Potassium: 1028mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 7150IU | Vitamin C: 25.7mg | Calcium: 295mg | Iron: 3.7mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

Learn more about Sara

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I’ve been living on this salad this week. I got ambitious and made a big batch of chicken cubes and popped them in the freezer to make salads this summer. This one hits all my favorite notes! Love the flavors.

  2. 5 stars
    This has all the amazing flavors of a Summer backyard BBQ. I loved the flavor and so did my family. Thank you for this delicious recipe!

  3. 5 stars
    This salad was so delicious! It tasted just like the CPK version but actually felt way more fresh and flavorful. Great for a light dinner!

  4. 5 stars
    I love this salad so much! I never thought to use jicama until I found this recipe. I use the cilantro ranch that Litehouse makes. So good!

  5. 5 stars
    Such a fabulous colourful plate of delicious food. So many lovely ingredients that go perfectly together. Great for summer eating.

  6. 5 stars
    mmmm who doesn’t love a good barbecue chicken salad?! Its one of my favorites and this recipe was so delicious! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    I love how you add jicama to the salad, they give such a nice crunchy texture. And of course, this salad looks super lovely and is perfect for the hotter days.

  8. 5 stars
    I love these easy one bowl dinners or lunch ideas. Salads are always on the top of my list this time of year and this is perfect.

  9. 5 stars
    This is one of my favorite things to order when I go out. You’ve inspired me to make it at home! I think I’ll make enough to bring for lunch the next day