Monday, July 11, 2011

BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad

Happy Monday, friends. I hope that you all had a fabulous weekend! I sure did.  The grandparents and mother were in town and we did some more birthday celebrating! haha I know I know… it’s sort of been more like a birthWEEK, instead of a birthday, but I’m not complaining! 😉 And as it turns out, 25 isn’t so bad after all!!

After a weekend of eating out, I was really craving some vegetables! I thought I’d make a yummy salad for our dinner last night (not that this particular salad is the err… healthiest!). Oh well, I’ll go to the gym after work. maybe.

Anyhow, there is this salad that they make at the Cheescake Factory called the BBQ Chicken Salad. It is UH.MAZING. Lately, I’ve been into re-creating my restaraunt favs at home… and, well, I thought this one would be another great one to try!

The salad has got so many of my favorite things: crispy romaine lettuce that is topped with fresh corn, avacado, tomato, black beans, BBQ chicken, and my MOST favorite part of all… the crispy onion straws! Top that with a delicious BBQ Ranch dressing and a sprinkle of cilantro and CALL. IT. A. DAY.


It totally hit the spot! Now excuse me while I head off to the gym to run off the excess onion straws I consumed last night.

Hope ya’ll have a fabulous (and QUICK) work week!!

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BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad

Yield: 4 Dinner Salads

My at home re-creation of one my favorite salads from The Cheesecake Factory.


BBQ Ranch Dressing:
3/4 cup mayonaisse
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons BBQ of choice
1 tablespoon Hidden Valley Ranch powder
1 small garlic clove, grated
cracked black pepper, to taste

Crispy Onion Straws:
1 large red onion (about the size of a grapefruit)
1 1/2-2 cups buttermilk
1 2/3 cup flour
1 tablespoon salt
dash of cayenne
fresh cracked pepperCanola Oil (enough to fill bottom of pan about 1/2-3/4 inch)

4 chicken breasts
1 cup BBQ sauce of choice, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
3-4 heads of Romaine lettuce, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
2 ears corn, shucked rinsed and kernels cut from the cob
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 avocado, diced
Fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)


For the Dressing:
Mix all ingredients together and set aside until ready to serve.

For the Crispy Onion Straws:
Cut both ends off of the red onion and peel off the papery skin. Slice into thin rounds (as thin as you can get them). Separate all the little rings and lay them into a shallow baking dish and cover with buttermilk (1 1/2 -2 cups). Allow to sit for 30-45 minutes. Mix together flour, salt, cayenne, and black pepper in a large bowl.

Heat oil in a deep skillet to 350°-375° (I love my cast iron). Using tongs, remove a small amount of the onions from the dish and allow excess buttermilk to drip off. Toss the onions in the flour mixture, shake off excess and then place into the hot oil. Shallow fry until crispy and golden (be sure to flip partway through). It takes about 2-3 minutes per side.

Remove from oil and place onto a place that has papertowels on it to allow it to drain. Repeat until all onions have been cooked. Set aside until ready to use.

For the Salad:
Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Spray grill with non-stick spray and pre-heat to medium high heat. Cook the chicken for about 4-6 minutes per side (until cooked completely through). During last few minutes of cooking, baste the chicken breasts with 3/4 cups of the BBQ sauce (make sure to get both sides). Remove from grill and set aside to rest for 3 minutes. Cut into bite sized cubes.

Disperse lettuce evenly among four large salad plates or bowls. Next, add equal amounts of the tomato, corn, black beans, and avacado. Top each salad with a cubed up chicken breast followed by a handfull of the onion straws. Top with a drizzle of the BBQ Ranch Dressing and a drizzle of the remaining BBQ sauce. If desired add a sprinkle of cilatro on top. Serve.

Best. Salad. Ever.

Recipe inspired by: The Cheesecake FactoryOnion Straws adapted from: Pioneer Woman

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31 Responses to “BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad”

  1. 1

    Cait's Plate — July 11, 2011 @ 1:46 pm

    Mmm – that salad looks awesome. You really can’t go wrong with a Cheesecake Factory-inspired salad! I was just there this weekend and wanted their entire salad menu! 🙂

    • Kristina replied: — July 12th, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

      i know… i always have SUCH a hard time choosing!!!

  2. 2

    Lindsey@Lindselicious — July 11, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

    This looks so good! The corn and avocado are calling my name- AND I have both in my fridge so I should make this soon!

    • Kristina replied: — July 12th, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

      do it!!! 🙂

  3. 3

    Hester aka The Chef Doc — July 11, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

    It’s my favorite salad there at the restaurant! Soooo good. You did an excellent job of recreating it 🙂 I’m a sucker for their bread, too. Mmm!

    • Kristina replied: — July 12th, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

      me too! LOVE the bread!

  4. 4

    janet@fromcupcakestocaviar — July 11, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

    Kristina, that looks unbelievably awesome! This was a buzz before I even read the recipe lol

    • Kristina replied: — July 12th, 2011 @ 2:59 pm

      aw thanks Janet!

  5. 5

    Michelle — July 12, 2011 @ 3:00 am

    WOW! This looks so good! Adding this to my list of things to make. Thanks Kristina! : )

    • Kristina replied: — July 12th, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

      You’re welcome Michelle – hope you enjoy!

  6. 6

    mom — July 12, 2011 @ 9:28 am

    My favorite salad! This looks SO good!

    • Kristina replied: — July 12th, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

      you would LOVE it mom!

  7. 7

    PolaM — July 12, 2011 @ 10:30 am

    What a great looking salad. I can almost taste the crunch of the onions and the creaminess of the avocado mixing…. Tastes good!

    • Kristina replied: — July 12th, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

      the onions are THE best part 🙂

  8. 8

    Esther — July 12, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    All my favorite things! How did you know? I should really make this pronto.

    • Kristina replied: — July 12th, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

      haha you have great taste 😉

  9. 9

    Nancy — July 12, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

    YUMMY!!! I thought that you were going to say that your “MOST favorite part of all” was the wine!!!!LOL
    My mouth is salivating right now!!! I can surely go for one of those, along with the wine, RIGHT ABOUT NOW!!! Thanks Tinita for sharing those amazing recipes!!!

    • Kristina replied: — July 12th, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

      we need to have a girls night again SOOON!!!! 🙂

  10. 10

    Kim Beaulieu — July 12, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

    I am bookmarking this lovely salad until I get the ingredients. Thanks for sharing.

  11. 11

    Kelly — July 12, 2011 @ 3:45 pm

    Wow what a delicious recipe! Love it! 🙂

  12. 12

    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — July 13, 2011 @ 9:50 pm

    I love that salad at Cheesecake Factory. This sounds great – going to bookmark to have to try soon!

  13. 13

    Jenny — September 21, 2011 @ 9:43 pm


    You really did do an awesome job remaking this recipe! One question though-how do you prepare the corn for the salad? Did you steam it, grill it? Thanks!


    • Kristina replied: — September 23rd, 2011 @ 10:55 am

      I actually just washed it and cut it off the cob raw to keep a nice fresh crunch 🙂 If you prefer it cooked, you can char it on the grill or in the oven! Hope you enjoy!

  14. 14

    Mallory — September 25, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

    I got this salad at Cheesecake Factory yesterday for the first time and I am hooked!!! It. was. amazing! I am so glad I found your recipe!!!

    Thank you!!

  15. 15

    Chelai — December 29, 2011 @ 9:34 am

    Never had this at the Cheesecake Factory but when I made it last night, I wondered why not. The dressing is my fav!!! I love it! My husband asked me when I was going to make this again…that tells you right there how good it was.

  16. 16

    Emma — June 5, 2012 @ 6:30 pm

    Just made this tonight, it’s my favorite at the cheesecake factory, it’s so good 🙂 thank you for re-creating it 🙂

  17. 17

    Jeryl — July 4, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

    This is my favorite salad at Cheesecake!

  18. 18

    BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad « Brave New Food — September 3, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    […] Very slightly adapted from My Life as a Mrs. who was inspired by The Cheesecake Factory.] […]

  19. 19

    Gabrielle Juliann — October 24, 2012 @ 10:22 am

    Thank you so much for recreating this salad! It is my absolute favorite and I can’t wait to try it at home 🙂

  20. 20

    Victoria — January 13, 2016 @ 2:44 pm

    I have been making this salad for years and thought it was finally time to say THANK YOU! It is everything we love about the salad at the restaurant. My husband has requested it for his birthday and we have shared it with others. Thank you, thank you, and thank you!

  21. 21

    Tammy — April 29, 2017 @ 11:29 am

    Does the type of mayonnaise You use matter?

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