Barbecue Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons
This is another summer salad I've had on my "hit list" ever since I saw it on Erin's blog when I had her for Secret Recipe Club in June. This one is another BIG hit for me and my crew! Sweet and smoky grilled BBQ chicken tops a hearty bed of lettuce with black beans, corn, and avocado and the homemade cornbread croutons and BBQ Ranch Dressing put it over the top!
Just look at all those amazing ingredients... they come together to create a hearty, filling dinner with wonderful flavors. The grilled chicken adds a nice smokiness, and the cornbread adds some crunch and sweetness too. The BBQ Ranch Dressing really pulls it all together. I used corn, black beans, and avocado and would have added tomato if I'd had it. The original recipe also suggests shredded cheddar cheese which would be great as well - but none of us thought it needed it, so we left it off. Mix and match, and make it your own!
See Erin's original recipe linked below for a homemade cornbread recipe to use for the croutons. I had every intention of making homemade ones, but when I opened my pantry I remembered I was out of corn meal and hadn't replaced it yet - so Jiffy Mix it was! The Jiffy Mix worked great though, tasted wonderful in this salad and was easy to throw together.
Barbecue Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons adapted from The Spiffy Cookie
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup favorite BBQ sauce, plus more for grilling
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup prepared Ranch dressing
1/4 cup favorite BBQ sauce
1 pkg Jiffy Cornbread Mix (plus ingredients called for on package - egg / water)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 head romaine lettuce, torn, washed, dried
optional: diced tomatoes, sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese
- Lightly salt and pepper chicken on both sides, and then combine chicken and it's marinade ingredients together in a tupperware, shake to combine. Allow to combine for at least 1 hour before grilling.
- While chicken is marinating, prepare the cornbread. Bake the mixture in a greased 8x8 pan per package instructions (15 - 20 minutes, or until cooked through and lightly browned on top). Set pan aside to cool. When cornbread is completely cooled, remove it from the pan and slice into crouton sized pieces. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Smear a thin layer of olive oil on a baking sheet and gently place cornbread croutons on the sheet, and spritz with more oil. Bake in the preheated oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until they are starting to brown and crisp on the outside. Remove from oven and set aside until needed.
- Combine dressing ingredients (thin with a little extra milk if desired, taste test - adjust ingredients as desired). Allow to chill and combine in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.
- When chicken is ready, preheat grill by lightly oiling and heating to medium-high heat. Cook chicken until cooked all the way through - about 10 - 15 minutes, depending on thickness; baste with marinade or additional barbecue sauce while grilling.
- Set chicken aside to rest and prepare salads by layering a bed of greens sprinkled with about 3 - 4 TBS each black beans and corn, followed by diced tomatoes, sliced avocado and shredded cheddar if using. Slice chicken at an angle and place on the prepared salad. Drizzle with BBQ Ranch Dressing and sprinkle prepared cornbread croutons over the top.