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This Texas Chopped Chicken Salad recipe was created with my mother in mind...
a woman who invented chopped salads way before they were even a thing.
Growing up, my parents always made me choose the side salad over the fries, or potatoes, or whatever the side options were with my meal on restaurant menus. It gave me a good love for salads early on. My mother always ordered one, too. As soon as our salads came to the table, she requested a steak knife and got to work, y'all. You see, she just couldn't handle lettuce that was larger than bite-sized. She'd cross chop that salad up one side and down the other...including any tomatoes, cucumbers, or onions that she deemed inappropriately large, too. When she was done, nothing on that plate would be larger than a bite...and it was super easy to eat. I feel like she invented the chopped salad before they were even cool. Grab my take on this salad style with my Texas Chopped Chicken Salad recipe below.
So echoing my mom's sentiment for the last few decades...salads are easier to eat when they're made in bite sized pieces. I think the chopped salad thing really has it going on. It's all ready to go...no struggling with straggling lettuce hanging off your fork. No trying to triple fold your lettuce with the tines of your fork to make sure it all fits in your mouth. Chopped salads solve all of the world's problems, really.
This particular Texas Chopped Chicken Salad is based on a popular cuisine of my home state: barbecue. It has everything (and then some) that you'd find in your favorite barbecue joint...from beans to corn. Tyson® Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Strips make this salad a cinch to prepare...I used the frozen variety, but they are available in refrigerated, too. They make it easy to prepare yummy, protein-filled meals that are good for you and those around your table. They are fully cooked, made with all natural ingredients, 100% white meat chicken, and no preservatives. The chicken, along with Wish-Bone® Italian Salad Dressing, and loads of other fresh goodies, make this salad a meal in itself. The Wish-Bone® Italian Salad Dressing is a delicious, full-flavored dressing that is packed full of herbs, seasonings and flavors (and no high fructose corn syrup...yay!). All of this goodness makes this salad the perfect one-bowl recipe. Add some cornbread and call it good. Yee and haw, y'all...supper's ready.
The secret to the chop is actually a cross chop. Start by stacking your pieces of lettuce neatly on top of each other. Then cut the stack into one-inch strips, somewhat keeping the shape of the stack in tact as you cut, so you can easily turn the entire stack for the cross cut.
Keeping your "rows" of chopped lettuce together with the palm of your hand, rotate them 45 degrees on your cutting board so you can cross cut them now. Again, cut one inch rows, cutting your lettuce pieces into small, bite sized pieces.
I learned this little saucy trick from one of the freezer-cooking stints I did (the jury is still out on how I really feel about those...but that's a separate post entirely). The recipe I made was for a pulled pork...it called for combining barbecue sauce and Italian dressing as the cooking liquid (which later formed the sauce). And it was fantastic. It sounds weird...but it was so delicious, y'all. Such a spicy fun kick to it.
I couldn't wait to give the combo a go on actual salad. It did not disappoint.
It's my new holy grail of salad dressings. Spicy perfection.
Texas Chopped Chicken Salad
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided
- 1/4 cup Wish-Bone® Italian Salad Dressing
- 1 head green leaf lettuce
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 can corn, drained
Prepare Tyson® Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Strips according to package directions on the stove top. When chicken is almost done, add 1/4 cup barbecue sauce and stir to coat all chicken pieces. Turn off burner and allow chicken to cool a bit.
Prepare lettuce by "cross-cutting" it into small, bite-sized pieces (the smaller, the better...it's what makes it a "chopped" salad). Add lettuce, tomatoes, chopped green onions, and chopped cilantro to a large serving bowl. Toss. Add chicken, cheese, beans, and corn and toss lightly, once more.
In a squeeze-able condiment bottle, mix 1/4 cup barbecue sauce and Wish-Bone® Italian Salad Dressing together. Shake bottle vigorously to mix well (you can whisk these ingredients together in a bowl, if you prefer...I just think they mix together easier in the bottle).
Add dressing to top of salad and serve (use the amount that works best for your tastes).
The best part of this salad? My kids devoured it, too. They absolutely loved it.
Tyson® Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Strips and Wish-Bone® Italian Salad Dressings are doing a fun vice-versa savings thing right now, too. Be sure to look for the Tyson® coupons that will be placed on Wishbone® Italian Dressing bottles (save $.75 on ANY ONE (1) Tyson® Grilled & Ready Chicken). And, Wish-Bone® coupons will be placed on Tyson® Frozen & Refrigerated Grilled & Ready products (save $.75 on ANY ONE (1) Wish-Bone Salad Dressing).
What's your favorite kind of chopped salad?