Monday, August 29, 2011

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

With Summer coming to a close, all too quickly for me, I need to get in a few of the salad and grilling recipes I've tried over the Summer.  With Labor Day only a week away, I know it will soon be time to start making soups and comfort foods.  Its still in the 90's here and probably will be for a few more weeks, so we are going to enjoy it as much as possible.

This salad is one of my absolute favorites...EVER!  I ate so much of it that I totally regretted it later.  But it was worth it and I'd do it again.  This salad is fresh, different and a little spicy, but most of all amazing!  I'm always worried about serving a salad as a main dish since I have so many small kids, but I really shouldn't.  Even my pickiest eaters devoured it.  To me, it just tasted like Summer.  Perfect!

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing
Serves 4-6

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups BBQ sauce  (Use your favorite)
½ head iceberg lettuce, cored and chopped
2 romaine hearts, chopped
1/2 red onion diced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed (I used fresh corn, cooked and cut off the cob)
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed small or shredded
4 ounces Monterrey jack cheese, cubed small or shredded
Crispy tortilla strips

In a large bowl, toss together the iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, red onion, cilantro, corn, black beans and cheese. Toss the mixed salad with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the dressing, if desired. Otherwise, you can serve the dressing on the side. Place salad on plates and top with the prepared BBQ chicken and additional dressing.

To make crispy tortilla strips:  Heat some oil in a skillet.  Cut corn tortillas into strips using a pizza cutter.  Fry in small batches until crispy.  Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt.
Creamy BBQ Cilantro Lime Dressing
1 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
Combine all the ingredients together and whisk (or shake, if using a jar) vigorously to combine. You could also run this through a blender to make it even more smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Source:  Adapted slightly from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

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