Buffalo Chicken Salad with Peppercorn Ranch
Sometimes a salad is super healthy…and sometimes it’s not 🙂
This little gem of a salad probably veers off into the “not super waist slimming” version. Can you blame me though? Buffalo chicken salad…sounds amazing right? It is!!! I for one, LOVE buffalo wings. Buffalo wings are something I’ve never really made at home, only choosing to eat them at a bar…drinking cold beer…watching sports. Since I don’t see the inside of bars too much anymore, I never eat delicious buffalo wings anymore..boo! So… I came up with something to help fill the void.
Being that I really love a good salad, I thought..hmmm what better vehicle to serve up this shredded buffalo chicken than some crisp romaine lettuce. Then I thought..well, what goes well with buffalo chicken wings?..first thought…BLUE CHEESE, RANCH, and CELERY of course! A classic combo for utter indulgence!!!
This salad is so simple to put together, and soooooooo delicious!!
While my chicken breasts were sauteing, I put together a 5 minute homemade ranch dressing (2 minutes if you’re a FAST herb chopper:)), and a homemade buffalo sauce (1 minute). uh, hello…SCORE!!! Because this salad is so easy, you owe it to yourself to make your own ranch and buffalo chicken. Buffalo sauce is so extremely easy to make, especially if you go the route of buying Franks ORIGINAL hot sauce. Theirs is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!! If you already have a favorite buffalo / hot sauce, feel free to use yours. But, if you really want to get amazing flavorful buffalo sauce, give Franks a shot. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!
A liberal drizzle of ranch dressing makes such a nice, cool, creamy addition to the spicy buffalo chicken. The best ranch starts with the holy trinity of most dressing ingredients: MAYO, SOUR CREAM, AND BUTTERMILK.
Of course, the use of fresh, chopped herbs make an enormous difference in the flavor (use fresh, not dried!!!!). Here I use lots of fresh dill, chives, and parsley. Minced, pungent garlic and a little garlic salt also elevate this ranch to drool status. A bunch of cracks from the peppercorn mill and…DONE!!!
The most important member of this little salad though is the shredded buffalo chicken.
First of all, I like to avoid dry, stringy shredded chicken, and I know the perfect tip to achieve that. My little trick can be found in the note section on the recipe card below. It will be your go to in the future…I promise. You can start saving money on rotisserie chickens and make your own shredded chicken to be added to pot pies, or chicken salad, or whatever recipe you come across calling for it. (I do love a good rotisserie though…don’t get me wrong!!!!)
I know whenever they serve up wings in the bar, they usually come with a little side of celery, so I thought…mmm this salad would probably benefit from a little chopped celery too!! So I did it 🙂 I crumbled up some super tangy blue cheese, sliced up some creamy avocado, and gave this baby a healthy dose of peppercorn ranch, and got to work on demolishing it!
In conclusion, here’s to hoping you give this salad a shot! Since I had a bunch of shredded chicken left over, I had to use it right? Well, I did!! See that next picture?? That’s a super crispy little buffalo chicken pizza. As a result, Dave, Heidi and I scarfed a couple of these down on Monday during a work lunch…and there were no complaints around the table!! I will get that recipe up as soon as possible, so you can give it a shot. It’s pretty darn yummy if you ask me.
Salads are great and all, but crisped up pizza…yikes!! Bread is my downfall 🙂
Eat up and enjoy!!! You could even make a gigantic salad and serve this at a Super bowl party. Believe me, no one would be complainin’….I promise!!!!
But hey…if you are looking to slim down or find a great little salad to add to your weeknight pasta dish, give this Bistro Salad a shot, or maybe this Arugula salad with pears, prosciutto, and garlic croutons. Whatever road you’re going down, make it tasty!!!!
- 2 cups shredded chicken (see notes on how to)
- 4 cups romaine lettuce, torn into bite size pieces
- 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup mayo
- 1/4 cup sour cream (full fat)
- 1/4 buttermilk (see note on how to make buttermilk)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 cloves of garlic, grated or minced
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh dill, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped
- 1/4 tsp garlic salt
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup Franks original hot sauce
- 1/4 unsalted butter (melted)
- 1/4 salt (more if desired)
- avocado, cubed or sliced thin
- green onions, sliced thin
- In a mason jar or small bowl, combine all ranch ingredients and set aside to blend.
- In a small bowl, microwave the butter until melted and add the hot sauce and salt and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Saute chicken and shred (see note below on how to easily do this).
- In a large bowl, mix romaine with dressing until dressed to your tastes.
- Layer with shredded buffalo chicken, blue cheese crumbles, celery, avocado and green onions (if using) and drizzle liberally with more ranch. Enjoy!
- Place chicken in Ziploc and pound each breast to 1 inch thickness. Dry chicken with paper towels and sprinkle both sides liberally with salt & pepper. Heat saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to hot pan. Place chicken in hot pan and brown for one minute. Flip chicken, lower heat to low and place lid on pan. Cook chicken for 10 minutes (DO NOT REMOVE LID). After 10 minutes, turn heat off (don't remove from the burner) and continue cooking for 8 more minutes. After 8 minutes, test chicken. If still not cooked to 165 degrees, continue 1-2 minutes longer with lid on. After it is cooked, let it cool about 3-5 minutes before shredding it with two forks. I keep it in the same pot so it shreds in it's own juices.
- To make buttermilk, pour 1 Tbsp of lemon juice or white vinegar to a 1 cup measuring cup. Fill same measuring cup with whole milk and let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes until thickened. Stir and use in whatever recipe calls for it.
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