Recreating the Perfect BBQ Chicken Salad

When it comes to salads, I believe they should be bursting with flavor. And what could be more delicious than a Copycat Panera BBQ Chicken Salad that you can make right in your own kitchen? This recipe is not only easy to prepare but also incredibly delicious, making it a fantastic option for a weeknight dinner or a quick and satisfying lunch.

Copycat Panera BBQ Chicken Salad

If you’re like me, you appreciate the opportunity to recreate your favorite restaurant meals at home. Not only does it allow you to enjoy them whenever you want, but it also helps save some money. The Copycat Panera BBQ Chicken Salad hits all the right notes and is perfect for incorporating into your weekly meal plans or for a refreshing lunch on the go.

So, let’s dive into what you’ll need to create this mouthwatering salad.

Ingredients for the Copycat Panera BBQ Chicken Salad:

  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Black Beans
  • Roasted Corn
  • Pickled Onions
  • Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • Tortilla Chips
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Ranch Dressing
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Avocado Oil

Chicken Brine:

  • White Distilled Vinegar
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Dried Dill
  • Minced Garlic

Preparing the Salad:

  1. Start by preparing the pickle brine for the chicken thighs. In a cup, heat a mixture of water, vinegar, salt, and sugar in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  2. Pour the brine into a dish and let it cool down before adding the chicken.
  3. Add the skinless chicken thighs to the bowl with the brine. Mix in dried dill and minced garlic. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and let it sit for an hour.
  4. Once the chicken has marinated for an hour, remove it from the brine and season it with sea salt and pepper. Brush the chicken with BBQ sauce.
  5. Heat some avocado oil in a cast iron skillet. Place the chicken in the hot skillet and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove the chicken from the pan and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Brush the chicken with more BBQ sauce.
  7. Assemble your salad bowls with green leaf lettuce, black beans, roasted corn, tomatoes, and pickled onions.
  8. Top the salad with the BBQ chicken, crushed tortilla chips, and a drizzle of BBQ sauce and ranch dressing.
  9. Enjoy!
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If you find yourself with leftovers, make sure to store them in a sealed container to keep everything fresh.

Get Creative with Your Salad:

  • Add a serving of rice or your favorite grain for some additional carbohydrates.
  • Experiment with different types of BBQ sauce to find your ultimate flavor combination.
  • For an extra crunch, try adding crispy onions, just like Panera does!
  • If you’re a cheese lover, sprinkle some shredded cheese on top for an extra indulgent touch.

Copycat Panera BBQ Chicken Salad

More Delicious Recipes to Explore:

If you loved this recipe, you may also enjoy these dishes on One Balanced Life:

  • BBQ Chicken Bowls
  • BBQ Chicken Tostadas
  • Southwestern Kale Salad
  • Buffalo Cauliflower


How to Make Pickled Onions:

Pickled onions can elevate the flavor of any dish, including this BBQ Chicken Salad. Start by slicing a red onion in half, then cut it into thin “C” slices. Set aside the onion slices and prepare the brine. Boil 6 oz of water, then add 1 tbsp of salt and 1 tbsp of white sugar to a mason jar along with the sliced onions. Pour in the boiled water and fill the rest of the jar with white vinegar. Secure the lid on the jar and give it a gentle shake to allow the onions to soak up the flavors. Store the pickled onions in the fridge for up to a week.

Can I Meal Prep?

Absolutely! You can meal prep by preparing the pickled onions in advance for convenient toppings. Additionally, you can prepare the chicken ahead of time, making it perfect for leftovers or meal planning.

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Save and Pin for Later!

Don’t forget to save and pin this recipe for future reference. Follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook for more delicious recipes. If you give this recipe a try, be sure to leave a star rating and tag me. Happy cooking!

Until next time…
Taylor's Signature