Cobb salads are a weekly occurrence at my house. They are filling, fast, and can be modified to suit any preferences, plus they are a great way to use up leftovers. This version is loaded with zesty barbecue chicken, black beans, and cheddar jack cheese for a Southwestern spin on the American classic.
Labor day weekend left me with a refrigerator full of leftovers, including more barbecue chicken than I knew what to do with. A few days later I chopped it up, tossed it with a splash more sauce, and served it alongside our favorite cobb salad ingredients. Variations of this salad never cease to satisfy, and whether we use leftover chicken, turkey, or pork, it's always a favorite.
This recipe uses canned beans and corn because I always have some in my pantry, but feel free to swap in fresh. On particularly lazy days, I have been known to toss in a dollop of guacamole and a splash of salsa when I didn't have fresh avocado or tomatoes on hand (and might I add there have never been any complaints). Serve it with your favorite salad dressing: when I'm feeling decadent I mix up barbecue and ranch, and if I want it lighter, a lime vinaigrette is good, too.
I love the way a cobb salad looks when serving it for a party, and people can pick and choose which ingredients they do — and do not — want to eat. At my house we no longer care about it's visual appeal, so I just toss it all together in a big bowl and call it a day.
BBQ Chicken Cobb Salad
Yields 2 large or 4 small servings
2 cups cooked, diced chicken (like poached chicken)
Favorite barbecue sauce, to taste (store bought or homemade)
2 cups mixed salad greens
6 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and crumbled
2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 ripe avocado, cubed (or guacamole)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 1/2 cups fresh beans)
1 (15-ounce) can yellow corn, drained (or 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen corn)
1 cup grated cheddar and/or monterey jack cheese
Favorite ranch and/or honey mustard dressing, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Toss the chicken with enough barbecue sauce to coat. Season with salt and pepper. (Chicken mixture can be heated under the broiler if you want it warm.)
Pile the lettuce into a shallow serving bowl. Arrange the chicken, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, avocado, beans, corn, and cheese in thin rows over the lettuce. Season with salt and pepper over the ingredients.
Serve with sides of ranch dressing, honey mustard, and barbecue sauce. For easier serving (but less visual appeal), you can toss the salad with an equal amount ranch and barbecue sauce.
(Images: Nealey Dozier)