This salad is loaded with all the delicious summer eats – tender, juicy chicken grilled and smothered with honey BBQ sauce, fluffy quinoa, buttery kernels of corn, fresh veggies, two types of cheeses, crispy tortilla strips and a creamy, smooth avocado dressing. This Southwestern Honey BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad is anything but boring!
Well hello there, friends! Happy Monday! <– Oxymoron, I know.
How was your weekend?! Please tell me it included delicious SUMMERTIME eats! I have been seeing some pumpkin recipes pop up in my feed and it has been making me a little peeved. Like, I want to steal all the pumpkins and smash them with a baseball bat and my feet, Office Space style. #DayumItFeelsGoodToBeAGangsta
It is entirely TOO early for all that nonsense, people!! What ever happened to living in the moment?! Enjoying the here and now?! Gaaah, makes me hulk like craaaazy.
And, it makes me want to stock pile all the abused fresh peaches, heirloom tomatoes and kernel-y corn, hide in a closet somewhere and eat my feelings. Too dramatic? Well, I speak TRUTH. 👼Anyways, our weekend was fine and dandy. I actually managed to somehow relax! Fist bump! 👊
Okay, so I did work… <– Don’t punch me.
But I only worked A LITTLE. I promise! The rest of the weekend was all play. And by play I mean couch time, because the weather was preeeetty gnarly.
BUT, we didn’t let the rain stop us from grilling all the things.
And by ‘all the things’ I mean these scallops, for the 9th and 10th time (OBSESSED), and THIS stellar summer salad that I’m sharing today. Honey BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
You guys, this salad is jam-pony’ed with ALL THE SUMMER NOMS. There is SO much summertime deliciousness up in ONE bowl I almost can’t. But, umm I CAN, because SO MUCH GOODNESS.
Juicy, grilled chicken covered and smothered with a sweet and smoky BBQ sauce.
Heaps of nutty, fluffy, protein packed quinoa.
Loads of crisp, fresh, perfectly diced and sliced vegetables.
A healthy scattering of ebony, jewel-like, nutrient packed black beans.
Oodles of buttery, sweet kernels of corn.
Not one, but TWO types of sharp and spicy shredded cheeses.
Mounds of crispy, crunchy, salty tortilla chips.
All piled high on tender, mildly sweet, chopped bibb lettuce.
And drizzled with a creamy, smooth, luxurious, tart, rich, yet healthy avocado dressing.
= Epic Summer Salad Spectacular-ness for your FACE. FOR LIFE.
Okay, maybe not for life, but at LEAST for the remaining 45 days of summer
- For even cooking and juicy chicken breasts, make sure you lightly pound the chicken to an even ¾ – 1’’ thickness. You don’t want to go crazy and pound it to oblivion, just lightly pound until the thickest part of the chicken breast matches the thinnest. The easiest (and cleanest) way to do this is to place the chicken in a Ziploc bag and use a mallet or rolling pin.
- For the best flavor, allow the chicken to marinate in the rub for 8 hours in the refrigerator. If you are in a pinch you can let it marinate for as little as 30 minutes.
- The amount of honey you add to the BBQ sauce will depend on the BBQ sauce you use. I used Stubb’s Hickory Bourbon BBQ Sauce and added 2 tablespoons of honey. If you use a spicy BBQ sauce, you might want to add more honey. If you use a sweet BBQ sauce, you might want to add less. You should add the honey a little bit at a time until desired sweetness is achieved.
Until Thursday friends, cheers – to just saying NO to pumpkin… at least until October.
- 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (about 1 pound total) – lightly pounded to an even thickness*
- 1 TBS Olive Oil
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt
- ½ tsp Onion Powder
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Chili Powder
- ½ tsp Sweet Paprika
- ½ tsp Light Brown Sugar
- ⅛ tsp Black Pepper
- Honey BBQ Sauce:
- ½ Cup BBQ Sauce (use your favorite)*
- 2-3 TBS Honey*
- 1 tsp Liquid Smoke
- 1 Cup Cooked Quinoa
- 1 head of Bibb Lettuce – chopped
- 2 Ears of Corn – shucked
- ¾ Cup Canned Black Beans – drained and rinsed
- 1 Red Bell Pepper – small diced
- ⅓ Cup Red Onion – small diced
- 2 Green Onions – thinly sliced
- ½ Cup Monterrey Jack Cheese – Shredded
- ¼ Cup White Cheddar Cheese – shredded
- ¼ Cup Tortilla Strips
- Avocado Dressing:
- 1 Avocado – peeled, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1 medium Shallot – roughly chopped
- 1 ½ TBS Lime Juice
- 2 TBS White Wine Vinegar
- 3 TBS Cilantro Leaves
- ¼ Cup + 2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ tsp Kosher Salt
- Make the rub: In a small bowl mix together the ingredients for the rub. Coat chicken evenly and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, or cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.*
- Prepare the dressing: Place all ingredients, except oil, in the bowl of a small food processor. Pulse to combine. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until fully combined and emulsified. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt.
- For the BBQ Sauce: In a small mixing bowl stir together ingredients for BBQ sauce. Transfer ¼ cup of honey BBQ sauce to a small bowl (you will use this to toss cooked chicken with). Set both aside.
- Cook Chicken and Corn: Heat grill to medium, or 425-450 degrees F, and oil grates. Season chicken and corn generously with salt and pepper. Place corn on grill and cook, turning occasionally, until charred and cooked through, about 10-12 minutes. Place chicken on grill and cook until nicely browned, 3-5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook, generously brushing with BBQ sauce, until second side is browned and chicken registers 160 degrees F. Remove from grill and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Cut the kernels off the cob using a serrated knife. Slice or chop chicken breasts and toss with reserved BBQ Sauce.
- To assemble: Place lettuce in a large bowl and top with salad ingredients, corn and sliced BBQ chicken. Drizzle with dressing and gently toss to combine.
- Serve and enjoy!
*I like Sweet Baby Rays or Stubbs Hickory BBQ Sauce
*The amount of honey you add to your BBQ Sauce will depend on the type of BBQ sauce you purchase and your own personal taste. I added 2 ½ tablespoons of honey to mine.
*For best flavor allow chicken to marinate in the rub for 8 hours in the refrigerator.
*Dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.