This year has been the year of the buffalo chicken salad for me. While moving, we had to eat out a LOT for 5 months. Ideal? No. Tasty – sometimes! One of the places that we ventured to on and off was Chili’s. That is a total 1990’s flashback. I was never a huge fan of their menu besides their chips and queso and a few random options. Surprisingly, they have changed up their menu a lot and have included a wider variety of tasty foods.
Thankfully, their buffalo chicken salad – one of my favorite options – is still on their menu. The only problem is that there are over 1000 calories in one dish and 72 grams of fat! For a salad? Come on! Being 9 months preggos, it would be way easier for me to send the hubs out to get this salad to-go. Instead, I decided to make my own healthy version of this classic American favorite.
LIGHTEN IT UP
To lighten the salad up, I made a lightly baked breaded chicken. I’m assuming Chili’s fries their chicken – but I could be totally wrong. I know that by baking the chicken you use a LOT less unhealthy fats. I found the original recipe for the chicken on Skinny Taste’s blog. You should totally check it out if you want to make a bomb chicken parmesan. For my version, I just skipped on a few ingredients to make it more universal. My version is also GREAT for meal prepping to put on any type of salads or pasta.
I also removed the classic bleu cheese and substituted avocado. You can definitely add back in the bleu cheese but to keep it light then I would remove the avocado.
The sauce is also a light version. I wanted to keep this salad quick and easy so I looked for a pre-made buffalo wing sauce that was low in calories. After scouring my grocery store for a bit, I stumbled across Best Chef’s Buffalo style wing sauce. There are 5 calories per tablespoon and 0 grams of carbs or fat. The first few ingredients of the bottle are also good – distilled vinegar, aged red cayenne peppers, salt, and water. It’s $2.29 online and I’ve included a link from Amazon if you cannot find it in your own store.
I also lightly drizzled some store bought ranch on top to finish it off. You can use whatever dressing you like.
I’ve included full directions below! I made a huge batch of this salad and me and Nick ate it all week for lunch. It would also be good as a quick family dinner. Let me know if you try it!
- 2-3 heads of romaine lettuce (I buy mine in a packaged bundle of 3)
- 1 large avocado
- 1 14 ounce can of organic low sodium black beans
- 1 small bag of frozen corn
- 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes
- 1 bunch of green onions
- Ranch dressing of your choice
- Best Chef’s Buffalo style wing sauce
- 3 T unsalted butter; melted (I like Kerrygold grass fed butter)
- 2 pounds of chicken breast
- 1/4 C parmesan cheese
- 1/2 C panko bread crumbs
- 1 T dried oregano
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or spray with olive oil/nonstick spray.
- In a bowl, combine the parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, dried oregano, salt and pepper.
- In another bowl, melt your butter in the microwave. It usually takes 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Place chicken in a ziplock bag. Using your fist, meat mallet, or a rolling pin, hammer the breasts flat individually for even cooking.
- Remove chicken from ziplock bag and cut each breast in half.
- Brush melted butter on each breast and then dip chicken in breadcrumb mixture.
- Line chicken on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Flip breasts and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F.
- Let chicken rest. Once cooled, slice chicken into bite sized strips.
- Toss chicken in buffalo style wing sauce. NOTE: Sauce goes a long way - you will need about 1-2 T per chicken breast.
- While the chicken is baking, rinse the romaine lettuce and chop into bite sized pieces. Place in large salad bowl.
- Drain and rinse canned black beans. Add to romaine lettuce.
- Steam frozen corn in microwave or on stove top. Add to salad.
- Slice cherry tomatoes in half and add to salad.
- Chop ends off green onions and discard. Dice remaining onion and add to salad.
- Slice avocado open and chunk into bite sized pieces. Add to salad.
- Add cooked chicken to salad and drizzle your favorite ranch on top. Toss and serve!
If you are meal prepping this salad for the week ahead, place corn, beans, and avocado in their own individual bowls that can be refrigerated. You can add these ingredients to your salad each day during the week to prevent them from getting soggy.