Go Back
+ servings
Ultimate Summer BBQ Chopped Kale Salad
Print Pin
5 from 7 votes

Ultimate Summer BBQ Chopped Kale Salad

Ultimate Summer BBQ Chopped Kale Salad: This crunchy and healthy kale salad is loaded with so much bold flavor!
Course Main Course, Salad
Keyword bbq, chicken, chopped salad, comfort foods, dairy-free, dinner, easy, healthy, lunch, salad, summer, veggies, weeknight meals
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

Ingredients

BBQ CHICKEN:

  • 2 lbs. organic chicken breasts
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce, premium
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

SALAD:

  • 2 bunches organic kale, de-stemmed + chopped
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 2 carrots, peeled + chopped
  • 2 organic cucumbers, peeled + chopped
  • 2 cups Herb Roasted Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup sweet corn, cooked + drained
  • 1 cup shelled edamame, cooked + drained

DAIRY-FREE CREAMY LEMON GARLIC DRESSING:

  • 1 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup Almond milk
  • 4 garlic cloves, miced
  • ½ lemon, freshly-squeezed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • Pinch of sea salt + black pepper

HOMEMADE CROUTONS:

  • 4 cups rustic bread, cubed into ¾ inches (I like to use sourdough bread)
  • cup Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsps Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Pinch of sea salt + black pepper

Instructions

TO BAKE THE BBQ CHICKEN:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  • Clean and rinse the chicken breasts, pat dry, and season with garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, oregano, smoked paprika, salt + black pepper. Place seasoned chicken unto the prepared baking sheet. Top each chicken with about ½ cup of BBQ sauce and save the remaining sauce for later.
  • Bake the chicken breasts for the first 20-25 minutes, before topping the chicken with the remaining BBQ sauce and bake for the remaining 10 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through when tested with a knife or fork. Once cool enough to handle, chop chicken into medium chunks or strips using a knife.

TO MAKE THE HOMEMADE CROUTONS:

  • Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl, add the cubed bread, olive oil, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, parsley, salt, and black pepper, tossing everything together until bread is fully coated. Add the bread unto the baking sheet (spreading it out evenly) and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the bread has become golden and are crisp. Remove and let it cool.

MAKE THE CANDIED NUTS:

  • In a bowl, add the chopped pecans and walnuts along with the maple syrup and cinnamon. Stir and toss until the nuts are fully coated. Transfer the nuts to a baking sheet (lined with parchment paper) and arrange into an even layer.
  • Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the nuts are browned and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

CHOP + MASSAGE KALE:

  • Strip the leaves from 2 large bunches kale and discard the stems. Coarsely chop the leaves and add them to a large bowl. Drizzle about 1-2 tsps of lemon juice or olive oil atop chopped kale and using clean hands, rub together the kale gently for about 2-3 minutes to soften the leaves and help to infuse the 'flavors' of the kale.

TO MAKE DRESSING:

  • In a bowl or sealable jar, add the vegan mayo, almond milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and black pepper. Seal the jar and shake or whisk together until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate until ready to use.

ASSEMBLE THE SALAD:

  • To the bowl with the kale, add the chopped BBQ chicken, candied nuts, chopped carrots, cooked corn, edamame, chopped cucumbers, roasted tomatoes, and croutons, tossing everything together. NOTE: At this point, you can add the dressing to the salad and toss again to combine OR set aside until serving.
  • Serve and enjoy.
  • Bon Appetit!

Notes

  • STORAGE: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days, depending on the ingredients. Always determine the ingredients in your salad and keep it no longer than the shelf life of your fastest-spoiling ingredient.
  • MAKE AHEAD: The roasted tomatoes, chicken and chopped veggies can be made up to 2 days beforehand and stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. The dressing can be made and refrigerated in a separate airtight container. The salad can be tossed up to 30 minutes before serving.
  • HERB ROASTED TOMATOES: To see the recipe, tap this link.
  • GREENS: If preferred, you can always add greens like Arugula, Mustard Greens, Spinach or Collard Greens to this pasta dish for added flavor. 
  • VEGAN OPTION: To make this salad vegan, simply omit the chicken and substitute with your favorite meat substitute (chickpeas, beans, tofu, quinoa, etc.) and ensure that the other ingredients (BBQ sauce and bread) are vegan-friendly.