Panera BBQ Chicken Salad

Panera BBQ Chicken Salad is a Panera Bread copycat filled with chicken, Adobo black bean and corn salsa, French fried onions, and a homemade Panera BBQ Ranch Dressing. My version has a gluten free option as well!

Panera BBQ Chicken Salad in a bowl

My two favorite Panera Bread salads are the Southwest Chile Lime Salad and the BBQ Chicken Salad. Panera salads are quite expensive and some ingredients contain gluten, so I like being able to make them at home using gluten free ingredients.

Panera BBQ Chicken Salad with Panera BBQ Ranch Dressing in a small bowl to the side

I started by making a Homemade Panera BBQ Ranch Dressing that is served with the BBQ Chicken Salad. Then I worked on building the other components, the most important being the Adobo Black Bean and Corn Salsa. This salsa gives so much flavor to the salad!

At Panera, the BBQ Chicken Salad is served with “frizzled onions,” which contain wheat/gluten. I have to order the salad without the onions, which is sad because they are so good. For my version, I made it gluten free by using gluten free French fried onions. They give a little crunch and a lot of flavor!

Recipe Details

Make the Grilled Chicken

You can use any kind of chicken for this salad, leftover or freshly cooked. I didn’t have any leftover chicken, so I made some grilled chicken in my grill pan using my favorite method of first searing the chicken and then baking it. You could use leftover rotisserie chicken or even leftover street tacos chicken.

To grill the chicken in a grill pan, I brush the grill pan with olive oil and then heat over high heat. I sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides and then sear it in the pan on both sides to create grill marks. Then, I transfer the chicken to an aluminum foil lined baking sheet and bake in the oven until it is cooked through.

grilled chicken breasts on a plate

Once the chicken is done cooking, I remove it to a cutting board to rest. Once it is cool, I cut it into bite sized pieces.

Make the Adobo Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Adobo Black Bean and Corn Salsa ingredients

This salsa brings so much flavor to the salad, so I highly recommend including it. Adobo sauce comes in small cans labeled “chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.” It adds a little bit of heat but more importantly a nice smoky flavor. I included some smoked paprika to bump up the smokiness.

Adobo Black Bean and Corn Salsa in a bowl

Prepare the BBQ Ranch Dressing

I recommend making my homemade BBQ Sauce and homemade Panera BBQ Ranch Dressing. If you’re short on time or prefer to use store bought ingredients, just combine 1 part your favorite BBQ sauce and 2 parts ranch dressing for an easy homemade BBQ Ranch Dressing.

Panera BBQ Chicken Salad Dressing in a mason jar

Assemble the Salad

Panera BBQ Chicken Salad ingredients

Top the lettuce with the grilled chicken and black bean corn salsa. Drizzle with both the BBQ sauce and the BBQ Ranch Dressing, then sprinkle with the French fried onions and fresh cilantro. Serve immediately!

Panera BBQ Chicken Salad on a fork

Gluten Free BBQ Chicken Salad

Use gluten free French fried onions for an entirely gluten free salad!

can of gluten free French fried onions
Panera BBQ Chicken Salad Pin

Looking for More Panera Copycat Recipes?

Check out my other Panera Copycat recipes:
Panera BBQ Ranch Dressing
Panera Southwest Chile Lime Ranch Salad
Panera Chile Lime Ranch Dressing
Panera Sonoma Chicken Stew
Gluten Free Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Creamy Tomato Soup

Looking for More Healthy Recipes?

Cilantro Lime Crema Costco Copycat Dressing
Turkey Burgers
Turkey Tacos
Turkey Chili {Low Carb Option}
Chicken Caesar Salad
Healthy Pasta Primavera Salad
Spicy Honey Brushed Chicken Thighs {MSPI}
Lemon Orzo Salad {Vegan}
Simplified Chicken Tortilla Soup
Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Garlic Roasted Cauliflower
Garlic Braised Chicken Thighs with Roasted Carrots
Huli Huli Hawaiian Chicken
Haricots Verts with Shallots
Low Carb White Chicken Chili

Panera BBQ Chicken Salad in a bowl

Panera BBQ Chicken Salad

Meghan
Panera BBQ Chicken Salad is filled with chicken, Adobo black bean and corn salsa, French fried onions, and homemade Panera BBQ Ranch Dressing.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 3

Ingredients
  

For the Grilled Chicken:

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

For the Adobo Black Bean and Corn Salsa:

  • 1/2 cup black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup corn (frozen or canned, rinsed and drained)
  • 1 tablespoon red onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon jalapenos (finely chopped, approx. 1/4 jalapeno)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin or regular)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (juice from 1/2 lime)
  • 1 teaspoon adobo sauce (see note)
  • 1/8 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

To Assemble the Salad:

  • romaine lettuce (rinsed and drained)
  • BBQ sauce (homemade or store bought, see note)
  • BBQ Ranch Dressing (homemade or store bought, see note)
  • French fried onions (regular or gluten free)
  • fresh cilantro (chopped)

Instructions
 

Grill the Chicken:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F and line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Lightly brush a grill pan with olive oil and heat to high heat.
  • Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Sear the chicken on each side to create grill marks. Remove chicken to baking sheet and bake until internal temperature reaches at least 165°F, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove chicken to a cutting board to rest.
  • Once the chicken is cool, chop into bite size pieces.

Make the Adobo Black Bean and Corn Salsa:

  • Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Assemble the Salad:

  • Add the lettuce to serving bowls. Top with chicken and black bean and corn salsa.
  • Drizzle with BBQ sauce and BBQ Ranch Dressing. Top with French fried onions and fresh cilantro. Serve immediately.

Notes

Adobo sauce comes in small cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
I recommend my Homemade BBQ Sauce and Homemade Panera BBQ Ranch Dressing. If using store bought BBQ sauce and ranch dressing, combine 1/4 cup BBQ sauce with 1/2 cup ranch (1 part BBQ sauce with 2 parts ranch). 
You’re Gonna Bake It After All
bakeitafterall.com
Keyword chicken, gluten free, main dish, salad


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