Tex-Mex BBQ Chicken Salad is Tex-Mex with a bit of BBQ flair. This salad is topped with chicken, black beans, sweet corn, tomatoes, red onions, shredded cheese, avocado, crunchy tortilla strips and I top it off with a tangy and sweet BBQ sauce.
I love anything Mexican, I love anything Tex-Mex (which I am sure you know means not quite authentic Mexican food, but has more of a Texas-American spin on it). This salad is the perfect cross of Tex-Mex, and BBQ and is amazing in flavor! I know you will love this salad and add it to your meal rotation!
The Chicken for the Tex-Mex BBQ Chicken Salad
I use chicken breasts for this salad and season them with some lime juice, and a taco seasoning. With this recipe I usually end up with about 4 good sized salads.
The seasoning for the chicken is my Taco Chicken Recipe. It is a great blend of spices that give this chicken just enough flavor to enhance the salad with Mexican flavors, but not over power it. You can also use a chicken taco seasoning packet, if that is easier for you! If you are using a packet, I recommend using McCormick Chicken Taco Seasoning. The Chicken Taco packet is a little different than regular Taco Seasoning packet. You will notice the chicken taco seasoning has a bit of lime flavor along with the usual taco seasonings- it makes the chicken perfect! But I use my Taco Chicken recipe and it is perfection!
If you are wanting to make my Taco Chicken you will need the usual suspects. Salt, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Just mix it all up. This recipe makes about 1 tablespoon of seasoning, which is perfect for 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. of chicken.
I put my chicken breasts in a zip top bag and pour some lime juice in the bag. I rub the lime juice around, and make sure the chicken gets covered evenly. Then, in the taco seasoning goes and I rub the seasoning all over the chicken to make sure it is covered too!
Grilling/Smoking the Chicken
You can go two ways with the chicken. Grilling or smoking it. Both are amazing!
GRILLING: If you choose to grill your chicken, heat your grill on medium heat. Let the chicken cook for 5-8 minutes, then turn it. After you have turned your chicken let it cook another 5 minutes. Check your chicken using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should read 165 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken. Let it cook longer if needed.
SMOKING: If you are smoking your chicken, heat your smoker to 350 degrees. Place the chicken on the smoker and let it cook for 15 minutes. Turn the chicken and let is smoke for another 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken. If it needs to smoke a bit longer to reach the correct temperature, let it smoke longer.
The Salad Dressing
This is where the BBQ part of this salad come in. This salad has a delicious tangy BBQ-Ranch Dressing. The recipe below makes about 1 cup of dressing giving each salad about 1/4 dressing. You can double the dressing for more on each salad (which is never a bad idea in my world).
You can make a Homemade Ranch Dressing and add the BBQ sauce, make dry mix/packet Ranch Dressing (which is what I do 9 out 10 times), or use bottled Ranch Dressing. Then just add your favorite BBQ sauce to it! This dressing makes the salad amazing! It adds a bit of smoky sweetness with the BBQ Sauce that plays nicely with the tangy ranch!
The Salad Toppings
The toppings make this salad the most perfect Te-Mex salad you will ever eat! Chopped Romaine lettuce is my lettuce of choice, because I love the crunch it gives me! I make sure I have at least 8 cups of chopped lettuce and it make 4 salads that are pretty good sized. If you want larger salads, chop more lettuce, or use a blend of romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce and spinach!
***Check out the salad spinner that I have and love. It is perfect for getting all the extra water off of my lettuce after I chop and rinse it!
You will love the toppings on this salad! I love the salad loaded with black beans, sweet corn, red onions, avocado, shredded cheese and tomatoes! The toppings, along with the taco chicken and sweet and smoky BBQ Ranch dressing make this salad a home run! But you can easily leave any of it off the salad that you don’t like!
For a little added crunch, I like to add crushed tortilla chips or Tortilla Crisps to the top of my salad. This is totally optional but does add some yummy crunch!
Eating/Serving Tex-Mex BBQ Chicken Salad
You do not need an explanation on how to eat this delicious salad! All you need to do is pour that yummy tangy dressing on the salad and enjoy!
This recipe makes about 4 good sized salads depending on how big you make them. For serving, you can make individual salads. Another option is to make one big giant salad and let people take out the portion they would like. Or, you can do a salad bar and leave all of the salad stuff out and let people build their own to their liking.
No matter how you eat this salad or what you put on it, you will love it! Tex-Mex BBQ Chicken Salad is Tex-Mex with a bit of BBQ flair and it will become a new family favorite!
Tex- Mex BBQ Chicken Salad
- 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts, trimmed
- 1 tbsp lime juice
TACO CHICKEN (see notes for other options for chicken seasoning)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 8 cups romaine lettuce, chopped (or a blend of romaine, iceberg lettuce and spinach) *this makes 4 good sized salads- chop more, if wanting larger salads
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese *1/2 cup per salad, or more if desired
- 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 8.75 oz. can sweet corn, drained
- 1 to 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 to 2 avocados, skin removed, diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips (optional) *see blog post above for the tortilla strips I like
BBQ RANCH DRESSING (you can use bottled ranch dressing with the BBQ Sauce added in place of this recipe)
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 tbsp dry ranch mix
- 3 1/2 tbsp BBQ Sauce (your favorite kind) *more or less to taste
- Mix taco seasoning ingredients together. Set aside
- In a zip top bag, place chicken breasts, and lime juice. Add taco seasoning and seal the bag shut. Using your hands, make sure the chicken is evenly covered with the lime juice and seasoning by squishing the chicken and seasoning around in the sealed bag.
- Grill or smoke your chicken. Grilling: Heat your grill on medium heat. Let the chicken cook for 5-8 minutes, then turn it. After you have turned your chicken let it cook another 5 minutes. Check your chicken using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should read 165 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken. Let it cook longer if needed.Smoking: If you are smoking your chicken, heat your smoker to 400 degrees. Place the chicken on the smoker and let it cook for 15 minutes. Turn the chicken and let is smoke for another 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken. If it needs to smoke a bit longer to reach the correct temperature, let it smoke longer.**You can also cook your chicken stove top in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil over medium-low heat or in your oven at 400 degrees until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees.
BBQ Ranch Dressing
- Mix all of the ingredients and set aside.You can use bottled Ranch Dressing and BBQ sauce if you do not want to make the ranch dressing with the dry ranch mix.
The Salad and Toppings
- While your chicken is cooking, prepare the rest of the salad toppings. Chop your lettuce, dice your onion, tomatoes and avocado. Rinse and drain your beans. Drain your corn and shred/grate your cheese if needed and crunch the tortilla chips if desired.
- Once the chicken is cooked and salad toppings prepared, make your salads. You can make 4 individual salads (any toppings can be left off as needed) or you can make one big salad. Adjust the salads and toppings as desired.This recipe makes 4 good sized salads, but you can get more or less out of the ingredients depending on how big you want your salads.