Monday, January 10, 2011

BBQ Chicken Chop Salad w/ the Best Dressing

I have a new go-to dinner to make anytime someone is in need of a good, healthy meal. Who doesn't like BBQ chicken mixed in with a series of delicious ingredients with crunchy textures? And add a zippy dressing and life isn't going to be much better!

We Utahns are blessed with a very popular restaurant chain called Cafe Rio. I'm sure if you don't live here, you've at least heard one of us absurdly talk about it in passing with drool running down our chin. I personally think one of the things this restaurant does best is in the salad dressing they serve: it's very creamy, has a little kick to it, but is just a flavor-power house. Most people end up with some extra dressing at the end of their meal and wind up dunking the remaining tortilla in it. And it's insanely good. Even if you're stuffed full, you will dunk.

This dressing here might be as close as you can get to having the real recipe. I know there's some debate on what the true recipe really entails, but I think this tastes as similar to it as anything I've ever tried within my home. It makes about 4 cups worth and is certainly plenty for the salad recipe- we've kept it around all week for pouring on other green salads and of course, for dipping our cheese quesadillas in. Oh yum.

Excuse moi for the lack of visual photography here, but your imagination will do a fine job imagining up with this undoubtedly.

Best wishes for a great week.

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad

4 chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
1 bottle, favorite BBQ sauce

1 head romaine lettuce
1 head iceburg lettuce
1 jicama, peeled and chopped
1 can black beans, drained very well
2-4 tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen white kernal corn, thawed and drained
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 lb monterey jack cheese, shredded
Tortilla chips for serving on the side, optional
Cafe Rio Dressing (recipe below)

Marinate chicken in BBQ sauce for at least 3-6 hours, and then bake at 350 for 30 minutes (or until no longer pink inside). Allow to cool, then cut into chunks. Refrigerate, and add more BBQ sauce if it's not "BBQ-y" enough.

Chop lettuce and add remaining salad ingredients. Mix in chicken, dressing, and serve immediately (if you aren't serving this immediately, save dressing the salad until just before you serve).

16 ounce jar La Victoria green salsa
1 pkg ranch buttermilk dressing mix
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 c. fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1/3 cup sugar

Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Chill until you serve with salad.


Camilla said...

OK...So have you actually MADE this dressing?? I can't tell you how many times I've found and made recipes for "cafe rio" dressing and end up throwing the WHOLE thing away because it tastes Nothing like the actual thing. Can you Verify for me that this is a very close recipe to try?!

katie m said...

Ha ha.. Hi Camilla.

Okay we'll have to chat in person, but I've been through the same experience. Hands up in frustration after various attempts, I have heard through a few reliable accounts that this is the closest thing to the real deal. I STILL don't think it is, and I STILL don't think Cafe Rio will ever reveal WHAT exactly they are putting in their beautiful green stuff, but this recipe had me extremely satisfied.

Try it. Let me know. My husband was smitten with it:)