BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad with Grilled Garlic Croutons.
First up, I should alert you that this salad is no where near as healthy as it looks. But you should know that by now. It’s me. You GET me.
But wait. This IS salad so I say no matter what, it is healthy. I mean here in Pittsburgh we cover our salads in fries and hard boiled eggs and buffalo chicken and call it a salad and a health food. YEP. Trashy salads for the win.
This salad is the epitome of everything I love to eat, starting with all things grilled. You’re going to grill half the salad. Heck, you can even grill some romaine if you’d like before chopping it up. Or don’t even chop it up.
Me? I need to chop things. Salads just work for me when chopped.
I don’t have as much of a distaste for them when all the things are semi-uniformly sized. No clue what it is. Maybe that fact that it’s easier to pick up with a big fat tortilla chip? Nah.
First you’re going to grill the bread, which is the best part of, well… everything. Douse it in olive oil, covering it with some garlic, grill the daylights out of eat. Eat a million pieces before cutting into toasted little squares. Hint: make extra.
Next you’re going to grill the green onions, which seriously almost rank up there with grilled bread for me. I have no idea why but grilled scallions just do me in. I love the charred flavor with the mild onion taste. They add so much to any dish.
Then you’ll grill the corn, which should come as no surprise since it’s me and I grill corn practically every day of my life. Grilled corn is to die for. Give it to me.
Finally you’ll grill your barbecue chicken which is also delicious but pales in comparison to all the other things going on here.
And two lettuces: sweet butter and spicy arugula, to be exact.
I know I know. Leave it out if you’re not a fan. Trust me, I feel you. I’d rather chew nails that bite down on a fennel seed, so I while I don’t fully understand cilantro hate I have the utmost respect for it. Last week I accidentally watched Rachael Ray sauté a bunch of fennel seeds in olive oil and it was a terrible no good very bad day.
Oh and one more good thing! White cheddar. Like white cheddar cubes. Contrary to what you may be thinking, no, those are mini cubes of butter that I’m throwing in your salad.
But you probably wouldn’t be surprised anyway, now would you.
This whole chopped mess is finished off with my favorite part: the honey mustard vinaigrette. Oh mah gahhhhh. It’s like practically a chicken nugget explosion with the whole barbecue and honey mustard thing but minus the nuggets.
So much flavor. !!!!!!!!!!
Two of my favorite salads are chopped: this BLT chopped salad with feta, corn and avocado and this Thai chicken chopped salad. And I must say. This rivals both. I love them all. And will continue to eat them all.
BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad with Grilled Garlic Croutons
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce (my fave is bone suckin!)
4 slices italian or sourdough bread (or whatever you love!)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 ears sweet corn
8 ounces butter lettuce, coarsely chopped
4 ounces arugula greens, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup torn fresh cilantro
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 avocado, chopped
4 ounces white cheddar cheese, chopped into tiny chunks
honey mustard vinaigrette
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup golden balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Add the chicken to a baking dish or ziplock bag. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, onion powder, salt, paprika and pepper. Season the chicken with the spice mixture. Add the garlic cloves to the barbecue sauce and pour the sauce over top. Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or up to overnight) before grilling.
Turn on your grill to high heat and let it heat up for about 20 minutes before grilling. Drizzle the bread with the olive oil on both sides and cover it with the garlic powder. To grill the bread, place it on the grates and grill under it toasts and becomes brown - about 2 minutes per side. Watch closely as the thickness of your bread will determine how long to grill it. Remove the bread and set it aside.
Next, add the green onions to the grill. I add them whole and grill about 3 to 4 minutes per side, until charred on each side. I adore the flavor this brings to scallions! You can also add the two ears of corn to the grill at this time. I do not season them before grilling because they are going right into the big salad. I simply throw them on the grill and grill until toasted all around. Remove the scallions and corn from the grill and set it aside.
Next, grilled your chicken until cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes per side for chicken that is around one inch thick. You want an internal temperature of 165, or cut through the center and make sure there is no pink.
Once your vegetables and chicken have cooled, chopped them. I discard the white ends of the scallions and chop the rest. Slice the corn from the cob and chop the chicken into chunks. Take the bread and cut it into chunks. The size of the food does not matter - as long as it all is around the same size. For the perfect chopped salad!
Assemble the salad in a large bowl. Mix together the butter lettuce, arugula and cilantro. Season them with a pinch of salt and pepper and toss. Add in the chicken, scallions, corn, tomatoes, bacon, avocado and white cheddar. Toss and add in the croutons, tossing once more. Serve immediately with the honey mustard vinaigrette. I find that this salad even holds up well the next day as long as you don't dress the entire thing (the avocado might brown a but) - the croutons may just be a bit soft.
honey mustard vinaigrette
Add the honey, mustard, garlic, salt and pepper to a bowl. Whisk to combine. Add in the vinegar and whisk again until smooth. While whisking, stream in the olive oil and whisk constantly until emulsified. You can keep this in the fridge for about a week - it may separate but just shake or whisk well before using.
I mean…. RIGHT?