Buffalo Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing

This buffalo chicken salad with creamy avocado ranch dressing is solely sponsored by the major buffalo chicken craving I’ve been having over the past two weeks.  Perhaps my body is craving warmth in the drippy days that are the end of February and early March here.  Perhaps it’s been too long since I’ve had a perfect set of buffalo wings.  Whatever though – I don’t always need to analyze things, do I?  (Hi.  Psych major here.)

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing

So anyway, this was our first of two buffalo chicken meals in two days.  And it’s deceptively healthy.  While buffalo chicken is traditionally and deliciously fried, this chicken is panko-crusted and baked.  From start to finish, you’ll need about 30 minutes to prep this meal but it’s so so worth it.

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing

You can make the creamy avocado ranch dressing while the chicken bakes and then just dip the chicken in some warmed wing sauce when it’s done, then serve away.  The dressing is a spin on my absolute favorite low-fat buttermilk ranch dressing since I almost always have it in the fridge but I suppose in a pinch, you could use bottled ranch instead.  (Seriously, you need to try the homemade version!)  I realize that bleu cheese dressing is the typical accompaniment to buffalo chicken but this dressing will give you the same cooling effect you need with any buffalo dish only with a little less guilt.  Plus?  It’s avocado ranch.  Need I say more?

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2-3 servings

Ingredients

    For the buffalo chicken:
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp Dijon or whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tsp minced fresh thyme or ¼ tsp. dried
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 lb chicken tenderloins (or breasts sliced into 3/4-inch strips)
  • 1/2 cup wing sauce (we like Frank's original sauce)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp salted butter
  • For the dressing:
  • 1/2 of an avocado, scooped from the skin and roughly diced
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • up to 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 small bunch of chives or 1 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper
  • For the salad assembly:
  • 4 to 5 cups chopped romaine or spring mix
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • buffalo chicken
  • creamy avocado ranch dressing
  • crumbled bacon, crumbled bleu cheese, extra chives/scallions (all optional)

Instructions

  1. To make the chicken: Preheat the oven to 475° F. In a large skillet, toss the panko with the oil. Toast over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the toasted crumbs to a shallow dish or pie plate.
  2. In a second shallow dish, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water, mustard and thyme.
  3. Spray a wire rack with cooking spray (rub the wires to make sure they are well-coated - this will prevent the breading from sticking) and place over a rimmed baking sheet. Working in batches, dredge a few pieces of the chicken in the flour, then the egg whites, and finally the breadcrumbs to coat, shaking off the excess between each step. Lay the coated pieces on the prepared wire rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  4. Spray the tops of the chicken pieces lightly with the cooking spray. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the breading is lightly golden brown, 10-12 minutes. While the chicken cooks, melt the butter in the wing sauce in a large bowl in the microwave; whisk the butter into the sauce to combine.
  5. To make the dressing: While the chicken bakes, place all of the ingredients with 1/4 cup of buttermilk in a blender and blend for 10 seconds. Check consistency and blend in additional buttermilk if desired. Scrape down the sides of the blender and blend until the avocado is completely pureed.
  6. When the chicken is finished baking, gently roll each piece in the wing sauce to completely coat.
  7. Lay the buffalo chicken out over the prepared salads and spoon the dressing over the top. Serve with the chicken is still warm.

Source

source: chicken adapted from this recipe; dressing adapted from this recipe

http://www.smells-like-home.com/2013/03/buffalo-chicken-salad-with-creamy-avocado-ranch-dressing/

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing

  • Prep Time: 10-15min
  • Cook Time: 10-12min

Ingredients

For the buffalo chicken:
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tbsp canola oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
3 large egg whites
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp Dijon or whole-grain mustard
1 tsp minced fresh thyme or ¼ tsp. dried
Cooking spray
1 lb chicken tenderloins (or breasts sliced into 3/4-inch strips)
½ cup wing sauce (we like Frank’s original sauce)
1 ½ tbsp salted butter

For the dressing:
½ of an avocado, scooped from the skin and roughly diced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp lemon juice
up to ½ cup buttermilk
1 small bunch of chives or 1 scallions, roughly chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp sea salt
a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper

For the salad assembly:
4 to 5 cups chopped romaine or spring mix
1 cup grape tomatoes
All of the buffalo chicken
creamy avocado ranch dressing
crumbled bacon, crumbled bleu cheese, extra chives/scallions (all optional)

Instructions

  • 01

    To make the buffalo chicken:  Preheat the oven to 475° F.  In a large skillet, toss the panko with the oil.  Toast over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Transfer the toasted crumbs to a shallow dish or pie plate.

  • 02

    In a second shallow dish, whisk together the flour, garlic powder, salt, and cayenne pepper.  In a bowl, whisk together the egg whites, water, mustard and thyme.

  • 03

    Spray a wire rack with cooking spray (rub the wires to make sure they are well-coated – this will prevent the breading from sticking) and place over a rimmed baking sheet.  Working in batches, dredge a few pieces of the chicken in the flour, then the egg whites, and finally the breadcrumbs to coat, shaking off the excess between each step.  Lay the coated pieces on the prepared wire rack and repeat with the remaining chicken.

  • 04

    Spray the tops of the chicken pieces lightly with the cooking spray.  Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the breading is lightly golden brown, 10-12 minutes.  While the chicken cooks, melt the butter in the wing sauce in a large bowl in the microwave; whisk the butter into the sauce to combine.

  • 05

    To make the dressing: While the chicken bakes, place all of the ingredients with 1/4 cup of buttermilk in a blender and blend for 10 seconds. Check consistency and blend in additional buttermilk if desired.  Scrape down the sides of the blender and blend until the avocado is completely pureed.

  • 06

    When the chicken is finished baking, gently roll each piece in the wing sauce to completely coat.
    Lay the buffalo chicken out over the prepared salads and spoon the dressing over the top.  Serve with the chicken is still warm.

chicken adapted from this recipe | dressing adapted from this recipe

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  • March 4, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    What a delicious dish! I just made buffalo chicken for the first time last night. Delicious!

  • March 4, 2013 at 8:49 AM

    I am loving everything about this dish! I have a buffalo chicken salad on my menu this week too, hope it turns out as well as yours 🙂

    • March 4, 2013 at 9:01 PM

      I’m sure yours will be great, Tracey!

  • Wendi
    March 4, 2013 at 9:29 AM

    OH MY!!! These look amazing. They will be on next weeks menu for sure!!

    • March 4, 2013 at 9:00 PM

      Thanks, Wendi!

  • March 4, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    i LOVE this idea. i’m a recent buffalo chicken convert… no idea what took me so long 🙂

    • March 4, 2013 at 9:00 PM

      I feel the same way, Sarah. I was completely aversive to buffalo chicken up until about 2 years ago (maybe 3?) and then my tastes completely changed. Kyle was so happy!!

  • March 4, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Love everything about this salad! The avocado ranch sounds amazing!

  • March 5, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    Baked Buffalo Chicken? I am so there….and I just bought baking racks and rimmed sheet pans. Its like it was meant to be. Although I’m not an avacado person….they taste like pine needles to me or something…I think its just me though.

  • March 6, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Oh, this looks totally crave worthy. And I love the dressing!

  • March 10, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    This is so, so good! I love the ranch sauce!

  • Lauren
    March 13, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    Made this tonight and LOVED it! The dressing was fabulous. Do you think the leftover dressing would last the 2-3 weeks in the fridge like your regular ranch dressing?

    • March 13, 2013 at 10:01 PM

      Unfortunately, this won’t last that long. The avocado starts to turn pretty quickly after it comes out of the skin so I’d say the dressing could last up to maybe 5 days. But…next time, what you can consider doing is making a big batch of ranch (why not, right?) and just puree some avocado into some of the dressing as you need it. Awesome to hear you loved the recipe overall though – we’re really big fans too!

      • Lauren
        March 14, 2013 at 11:37 AM

        Great idea for next time. I’m going to make some taco salads this weekend to use the avocado ranch up I think, should be good!

  • March 25, 2013 at 8:05 AM

    My partner and I stumbled over here coming from a
    different web page and thought I should check things out.
    I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking into your web page again.

  • April 4, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    This looks so yummy!!! I love the avocado dressing! I make a similar baked chicken wing too! 🙂

  • April 11, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    Oh. My. God. This is the recipe that I need but didn’t realize I needed until your photos lured me in. I am a buffalo tender salad junkie and I cannot wait to make this. Gorgeous photos, btw!

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