Southwest BBQ Chicken Salad

The end is near.  Two thirds of my children offered to help clean the kitchen after dinner… unprompted.  I would have uploaded photo evidence, but I didn’t want to break the internet.  One is sweeping, the other is wiping down the table and chairs with a wet rag.  I’m sitting down watching them.  This is not a drill.

Although for a last meal here on earth, this salad ain’t too shabby!  Sweet, spicy, and crunchy… kind of like me.

Actually it’s my version of Portillo’s Chipotle Barbecue Chicken Salad.  We just love that salad.  Whenever we get it I always think to myself, I can surely make this at home.  There isn’t anything super crazy to it, Chipotle Ranch dressing, romaine lettuce, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and most importantly… tortilla strips!

While I was perusing the aisles at Aldi, I had the salad ingredients in my mind to grab and lo and behold they had tortilla strips! It was a very happy coincidence!  I just love Aldi.  I mean is there any better place for affordable yet awesome groceries?  I think not!  I love that you don’t ever have to sacrifice quality for cost when shopping at Aldi.  It still blows my mind every time the cashier gives me my total.  Not to mention they always have fun surprises in the aisles, like tortilla strips!


Southwest BBQ Chicken Salad

Just like our favorite from Portillo's!  


  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, garlic powder to taste
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce

Salad Fixin's

  • 1-2 heads romaine lettuce sliced thin
  • 1 can black beans drained & rinsed
  • 2 ears corn on the cob or 1 can, drained & rinsed
  • 6 green onions sliced
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes sliced
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese optional
  • 1 package tortilla strips or crushed tortilla chips


  • 3/4 cup ranch dressing
  • 1 tsp chipotle in adobo sauce more/less to desired taste


  1. Preheat the grill.  Season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, cumin, and garlic powder. Drizzle with olive oil.  Place the chicken on the grill.  When the chicken is about halfway done, flip and spread with bbq sauce.  Flip once more towards end of cooking and coat the other side with bbq sauce.  Remove the chicken from the grill when it's temperature reaches 165°.  Set aside and allow to rest before slicing.  Prepare the other ingredients while the chicken is cooking and resting.

  2. If using corn on the cob, lightly coat with oil and place on the grill with the chicken.  Rotate to all sides while cooking.  Remove to cool when corn has been lightly charred on all sides.  

  3. For the dressing: In a small bowl, mix together the ranch dressing and adobo sauce.  Start with just a little of the adobo sauce and work your way up... it's SPICY!!  Set aside.

  4. Slice the green onions and tomatoes, place in bowls, and set aside.  Drain and rinse the black beans.  Slice the chicken into strips.  Remove kernels from the cob with sharp knife (or drain and rinse a can of corn).

  5. In a bowl layer each salad: lettuce, black beans, corn, green onions, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and chicken.  Top with dressing and add an extra drizzle of bbq sauce, if desired.  Top with tortilla strips and enjoy!

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