BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad


BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad is a party on a plate! This filling entree salad is full of bold, BBQ flavors.

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

Oh hi, back with another salad recipe for ya’!


Especially now that I know Ben likes Caesar Salads. For FIVE YEARS I have avoided making Caesar Salads (well make = buying the Dole salad kits) because he hates creamy foods. Mayo, yogurt, pudding, creamy dips – you get it. That said, imagine my surprise when a few weeks ago he dropped the bomb that Caesar Salads are, apparently, one of his favorite things in life. Huh? The same Caesar Salad that usually comes drowning in a thick and creamy dressing? Loves ’em. Riddle me that?

Anyway, it’s actually good news because now I can just buy the kit then add grilled chicken and chopped tomatoes on top and call it dinner. Hallelujah!

I don’t know why I’m telling you all this besides the fact that I have a must-try salad recipe for you: BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad. Creamy dressing optional. You’ll see. :)

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad combines crunchy romaine lettuce with BBQ chicken, grilled corn, black beans, fresh tomatoes and crunchy red onions, all chopped to the same size then tossed in light ranch and bbq sauce – or your favorite dressing. I tell you what, lately I can’t get enough chopped salads. I love how fresh, quick, and easy they are. The epitome of healthy, summer eating.

Oh! There’s crushed tortilla chips in there too. Can’t forget about those babies! Every BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad must have a handful of crushed tortilla chips, in my opinion. Salty and crunchy, they add a little bit of decadence to this fresh entree salad. Must try.

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

Start by brushing 2 chicken breasts that have been pounded thin with extra virgin olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Grill for 3-4 minutes a side over medium-high heat, brushing the grilled side with BBQ sauce after flipping once. Put the lid down then let the BBQ sauce sizzle and caramelize as the second side cooks. Mmm.

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

Pop 2 ears sweet corn on the grill next door then rotate occasionally until all sides are evenly charred.

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

Pull the chicken and corn off the grill, let cool slightly, then chop the chicken and slice the kernels off the corn and set aside.

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

Next get the rest of the chopped salad ingredients ready, starting with the salad base – romaine lettuce. For 4 people you’ll want 2-10oz bags of chopped romaine lettuce (I used Dole.)

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

Place the lettuce into a huge bowl (might want to do this in a few batches,) then use a pizza cutter to chop it up into small, bite-sized pieces. I learned this trick from a chopped salad restaurant in Minneapolis a million years ago and it’s basically my favorite. Cuts down on all those face-whipping pieces of lettuce in a salad. The worst!

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

To the chopped lettuce add 2 chopped vine-ripened tomatoes, 1/2 small chopped red onion, 

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

1 cup black beans, and the kernels from the grilled corn. 

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

Finally, add a big handful of crushed tortilla chips (however many you want) and 1/2 cup each shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese. These two ingredients are my secret salad weapons. The chips add an awesome, unexpected crunch, and the mixture of cheeses is just right. Love me some creamy Monterey Jack!

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

Add the chopped chicken then, using a pair of tongs, toss the salad ingredients together.

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

I like to dress my salad with a mixture of light ranch and BBQ sauce, but use whatever your heart desires. Dress then toss again to combine, plate, and serve!

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

serves 4


BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad is a party on a plate! This filling entree salad is full of bold, BBQ flavors.


  • 2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper
  • 1/3 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 ears sweet corn
  • 2-10oz bags chopped romaine lettuce
  • 2 vine ripened tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • crushed tortilla chips
  • Light ranch dressing
  • BBQ sauce


  1. Brush chicken breasts with extra virgin olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes a side, brushing grilled side with BBQ sauce after flipping once. Grill ears of corn, rotating occasionally, until evenly charred. Remove chicken and corn, let cool slightly, then chop chicken and slice corn kernels off cob and set aside.
  2. In a very large bowl add lettuce (may need to do this in a couple batches.) Use a pizza cutter to evenly chop lettuce into small pieces then toss with tomatoes, black beans, red onion, cheeses, tortilla chips, chicken, and corn. Drizzle with light ranch dressing and bbq sauce (or your favorite dressing) then toss and serve immediately.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

Chopped salads are seriously where it’s at. Each forkful’s got a taste of every ingredient from sweet and smokey corn, to spicy red onion, fresh tomato, and sassy bbq chicken. Enjoy!

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad |

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  1. Kristi 07.18.2013

    Chopped salad is my favorite! I’ve never tried using a pizza cutter though. I’ll have to try it out next time I make a chopped salad.

  2. Sally 07.18.2013

    Looks delicious! Any excuse to eat corn in the summer :)

  3. Jackie 07.18.2013

    Silly question. .. is the Corn cooked ir soaked at all before it’s grilled?

  4. Ashleigh 07.18.2013

    I am just like Ben! Yogurt is disgusting. Sour cream makes me gag. Anything thick and creamy is strictly forbidden in my house. The only exception is Caesar dressing! Good to know there are others that share my foibles. The salad looks delicious.

  5. Bonnie 07.18.2013

    I think I just decided what’s for dinner tonight! I might even guild the lily by tossing some crumbled bacon on top!

  6. Becky 07.18.2013

    Caesar salad is the only kind of salad my husband will eat…but, I bet he’d try this one! Can’t wait to give it a try!

  7. this looks refreshing somehow, even though it’s got the grilled chicken and BBQ sauce on it. i think this might be friday’s dinner for me…too bad the hubs will be out of town.

  8. Stephanie Hanson 07.18.2013

    This looks really similar to one that I make all the time – only I add avocado and bacon :-) I am sure that could be easily added for your eating pleasure! One question I have – I am having a hard time pinning the image. I get an error saying that it isn’t a valid image. I couldn’t do it with the s’mores krispie treats yesterday either…oh the HUMANITY! I just wasn’t sure if you were aware of the issue and if it was something that could be fixed so I can make sure I stuff my face with these recipes ASAP :-)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.18.2013

      So sad, some other people were telling me the same thing on Facebook just now! I’m having my developer look into it right now so hopefully we can have a fix in place soon!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.18.2013

      Ok we *may* have fixed the problem. Would you be able to clear your browser’s cache then try again? Thanks again for letting me know!

  9. Gwen 07.18.2013

    I will preface this with saying I do NOT sell Pampered Chef, just a happy customer. I have their gadget for chopping salad and it’s one of my favorite purchases. I use it all the time. It sort of looks like a scissors but has one side that is more scooped for picking up a bunch of greens with every chop-right in the bowl.

    • Gwen 07.18.2013

      oh…and I am in love with this salad!

  10. Aggie 07.18.2013

    I’m in a salad rut, but only because I’m feeling sooooo lazy! This is exactly the salad I want. Like for lunch. Today. Looks amazing!

  11. This looks super yummy! What brand of light ranch do you prefer?

  12. Melissa 07.18.2013

    The corn looks great and in my opinion, this time of year, BBQ sauce makes everything better!

  13. I want that for dinner tonight! Looks amazing

  14. Looks wonderful! Maybe you’ve just inspired him to like new things, I’m sure!!!

  15. Sara 07.18.2013

    You are freaking me out this week! For my Bistro this week I put S’more Rice Krispie Treats and BBQ Chicken Salad…great minds think alike! :)

    I bet you are going to have your baby on July 23rd-which is both my daughter, brother and several friends’ birthdays. Good luck to you and Ben!

  16. I love hearing about the difference in yours and Ben’s eating habits. Hilarious! My husband and I have really similar likes and dislikes, which means he just eats all my food! Although we both can generally pick out exactly what the other is going order on a menu.

  17. Another perfect summer salad! Thanks for sharing!

  18. I always use the pizza cutter trick to chop my salads ever since reading about it on your blog. It is the best! :)

  19. Debtgirl 07.18.2013

    That looks delish!!! But I have never ever never seen a ceasar salad with tomatoes!!! Is that a midwest thing? I am west coast girl! :-)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.18.2013

      I think it’s just a “me” thing. I always feel like Caesar Salads are so bare and lonely!

  20. Debtgirl 07.18.2013

    Oh you sneaky! You made a chopped salad not a ceasar! Lol My world caved at the thought of maters in a ceasar!

  21. Sounds deelish! I love me a huge entree salad :)

  22. Ranelle 07.18.2013

    Gah! Now I know why I love so many of your recipes – my husband hates creamy foods too! Mystery solved :)

  23. Samantha M. 07.18.2013

    My husband is similarly weird – hates creamy stuff usually, but loves him some Caesar salad dressing (on the rare occasion he’ll eat something green). MEN.

    This is a salad that I might get The Hubs to eat, though! YUM, can’t wait to try it!

  24. Beth 07.18.2013

    I’m with Ben! (Except on the pudding, must have pudding.)
    This salad does look A.MAZ.ING!!

  25. This is my kind of salad right here! Beautiful photos are making it even more mouthwatering!

  26. Samantha 07.18.2013

    Looks delicious, can’t wait to make this!

  27. Megan 07.18.2013

    The chopped BBQ chicken salad is my go-to at Panera – same ingredients and it’s so yummy!
    Love following your blog and am excited for your growing family! Oh, and I’ve made the margarita chicken about 5 times since you posted it :)

  28. AbbieD 07.18.2013

    Yummy! I bet if you crumbled up a could slices of bacon and threw those in there you wouldn’t hate it. :)

    But while on the subject of “unconventional” (?) ways to eat BBQ chicken…have you ever tried the BBQ Chicken Nachos out at the Bass Pro Shop restaurant? This salad totally made me crave them. At first I thought, “What? BBQ sauce with pico and jalapenos and stuff? On my nachos?!” Favorite. Nachos. Ever. You should give them a try!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.19.2013

      I haven’t – I didn’t even know BPS *had* a restaurant! I’ll have to try that sometime soon though – sounds awesome. :)

      • AbbieD 07.19.2013

        Yep…I think it’s called Uncle Buck’s.

  29. Jamie 07.18.2013

    What kind of BBQ sauce do you use?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.19.2013

      We have a bunch in our fridge, but I like KC Masterpiece original the best, I think!

  30. Ingrid 07.18.2013

    I just found your blog via pinterest and I fell in love with it! What really pulled me was your simple recipes (I’m not the most accomplished cook you can imagine) and the amazing pictures!!! They breathe yumminess & freshness! Also, I’m not a fan of romaine lettuce (where I live it tends to be white instead of green), but your post has encouraged me to give it a second chance! ☺

  31. Melissa 07.18.2013

    Hallelujah I’m not alone. My hubs hates creamy things “I have teeth for a reason”. He also hates white food. *sigh*

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.19.2013

      HAHA – that made me laugh out loud! :) Mine does too…except for potatoes and marshmallows. :)

  32. Liz 07.18.2013

    Love your salad, Kristin. Romaine is my favorite lettuce and it’s been so hot and humid this is perfect. Have a wonderful evening and take good care.

  33. Tamara 07.19.2013

    Ooh, I want that RIGHT now!! So yummy, cool, and refreshing!

  34. Your’re an artist! Breathtaking pics as usual! Your site is such a delight!

  35. Sarah 07.19.2013

    This looks so good… I don’t have a grill though, would it be okay to use a grill pan on the stove to cook the chicken and corn?
    Also, face whipping pieces of lettuce is the perfect way to describe them lol

  36. HOLY YUM!

  37. Allison Frederick 07.21.2013

    This reminds me a lot of the BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad at Panera, which is what I almost always order when I go there for lunch or dinner. I’ll be trying this recipe.

  38. Sharon B. 07.22.2013

    I love EVERYTHING you make! I feel like every week I’m pinning a recipe from you, and that makes me very happy. This looks like a delicious salad for the summer and my husband and son would love this. Thanks for another beautiful looking recipe! Sharon

  39. Steph 07.22.2013

    I’m such a sally when it comes to trying different ingredients in my salads. When I saw this post, it made my mouth water! YUM!! I grilled up the corn and chicken on a George Foreman when I made it for lunch this week, and it is to die for! The only down side is our sweet corn patch isn’t ready yet (sigh), so I had to cave and convince my farmer fiance to let me buy some. I’m thinking he may let me buy more once he tries this salad! THANKS!

  40. Nessa 07.22.2013

    That dressing looks fantastic!

  41. Jen 07.23.2013

    This type of knife is best for lettuce and you can let kids use it to chop other veggies as well and it’s safe so they won’t cut themselves.

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  43. Becky 07.28.2013

    This was so delicious! I think charring the corn adds a nice little something :) My husband even liked it, and he isn’t even a salad guy!

  44. Katie 08.05.2013

    This was amazing! Hubby and teenage daughter loved as well! I grilled the corn and chicken on my stovetop grill pan. Grilling the corn is an essential step – the sweetness really comes through in the salad.

    We are all having it again for lunch tomorrow!

    Thanks for all your great recipes – my family is always excited when we have an Iowa Girl Eats recipe to try out!

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  46. Amy 08.08.2013

    Just made this for dinner tonight, but with tofu instead of chicken. Oh, and I added avocado. So good! thanks for the recipe!

  47. […] Lunch was leftover BBQ chicken chopped salad. […]

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  49. Michele 09.04.2013

    I am addicted to this salad! I’ve made it every week since you posted the recipe!

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