Friday, September 14, 2012

Barbecue Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons

I fell in love with this salad at first bite.  Quite possibly one of the best salads ever.  I knew it was a major hit when my non-salad-eating husband swooned in delight and sang it's praises all through dinner.  I think it blew his mind.

This salad has all the components of your favorite barbecue.  Lettuce and coleslaw are mixed with red onion, corn, poppy seeds and coleslaw dressing to create a creamy and textured base for this salad.  The salad is topped with a blend of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese and graced with a sweet and smoky mound of tender barbecued chicken.  The crowning glory is the buttery, garlicky, crisp cornbread croutons.  It's like a party in your mouth!

The best part is, this is another semi-homemade rotisserie chicken kind of meal. You only need to cook one thing and the rest is all assembly.  Simply prepared a boxed mix of cornbread in an 8x8 lined pan (I used Jiffy).  Let the cornbread cool, cut into cubes, brush with a butter mixture and pop in the oven until crisp and golden.  The rest is in the assembly.  Easy peasy and oh so delicious!

 Barbecue Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons
Serves 4-6

1 (8.5 ounce) package corn bread mix, prepared according to package directions*
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
2 heaping cups coarsely chopped rotisserie chicken
1/2 cup prepared barbecue sauce
1 (10 ounce) package iceberg lettuce salad mix*
1 (16 ounce) package coleslaw mix
1 small red onion, peeled and diced*
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup prepared coleslaw dressing*
1/4 cup poppy seeds
2 cups shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese
1 (2.25 ounce) can sliced olives, drained*

*Notes: I used a package of Jiffy cornbread mix.  I bought a 10 ounce package of iceberg lettuce mix that included radishes.  I omitted the red onion and olives (not because I wanted to) but because I didn't have them on hand.  I used Marzetti's brand coleslaw dressing.  I added a bit of sliced green onion to make up for the red onion that I omitted.

Make the cornbread: Grease an 8x8 baking dish with butter.  For easy removal, line the pan with parchment paper and butter it well. Cornbread is very delicate and crumbly so lining the pan will be very helpful when it's time to cut the cornbread into cubes for croutons.  Prepare the cornbread according to package directions.  Transfer the cornbread mixture to the prepared 8x8 baking dish and bake according to package directions (Jiffy brand bakes for about 15 minutes at 400F).  Let cool completely.

Make the croutons: Preheat oven to 350F.  Dice half the prepared cornbread into 1-inch cubes, being careful so as not to break apart the cornbread (reserve the remaining cornbread for another use).  Place the cubed cornbread on a buttered baking tray.  In a small bowl melt the butter and add in the garlic powder and dried basil.  Using a pastry brush, brush the butter mixture onto the cubed cornbread being careful not to break up the cornbread. Bake the croutons for 8 minutes on one side, turn over, then bake another 8 minutes, or until crisp and golden.

Prepare the chicken:  Mix together the chicken and the barbecue sauce in a medium-sized bowl.  Cover and refrigerate until use.

Assemble the salad:  Toss together the iceberg salad mix, the coleslaw mix, red onion, corn, dressing, and poppy seeds in a large serving bowl.  Taste the salad mixture, add more dressing if needed, and/or salt and pepper to taste.  Plate the salad individually, putting the desired amount of salad down on the plate.  Sprinkle the salad with the cheddar and Monterey jack cheese.  At this point I chose to heat my barbecue chicken very slightly in the microwave just enough to remove the chill.  Mound the barbecue chicken in the middle of the salad and top with the cornbread croutons and olives (if using).  Enjoy!

A weekly celebration of soups, sammies, and salads @Kahakai Kitchen


  1. Yum! What a delicious salad and I'm in love with the croutons. I've got some left over corn muffins that need to be made into croutons. Thanks for the great idea!

  2. I'm loving those cornbread croutons. Lettuce and slaw make a surprisingly good salad. I'm all for easy too.

  3. You had me hooked with cornbread croutons. Why have I never thought of this?
    Guess what's getting pinned right now?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. You could brush the cornbread with the butter before cubing

  6. I can dig this! I can see why your husband swooned.


  7. lunch date! this looks amazing! i will be enjoying this very soon, excellent recipe!

  8. I think you have made me fall in love with this salad too. This looks fantastic!

  9. Mmm... I bet this salad is just delicious. I love the idea of the cornbread croutons. ;-) Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays this week.

  10. Pinned that sucker! Going to make this the next time I have a leftover smoked chicken, it sounds wonderful.


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