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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing Cooking View

This past weekend, Ben and I enjoyed a kid-less weekend.  (Thanks Grandma and Grandpa!)  Don’t get me wrong, we adore our kids.  Really, there isn’t even a strong enough word in my vocabulary to begin to describe how nuts I am for them.  But, every once in a while, we need to hear ourselves think.  Or breathe.  Or have a conversation without having to shout or repeat ourselves five times before giving up altogether.  So yes, this was in order.  Friday night we went out for drinks and dinner.  I can’t remember the last time we did that without worrying about leaving the babysitter hanging for too long.

Saturday we slept in late.  Yes, 7:30 am feels luxuriously late to us.  We did a glorious amount of nothing all morning long.  And then for lunch I decided to make this salad, mainly because I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since Tara posted it.  Though I normally don’t gravitate toward buffalo-anything, this just sounded so good to me.  And even more than that, I knew Ben would love it.   The cool, creamy avocado ranch dressing is the perfect pair for the spicy buffalo chicken.  We enjoyed ours atop a bed of Bibb lettuce and baby spinach leaves.  This was definitely a fabulous meal that we thoroughly enjoyed in our too-quiet house.  Even though we may have spent a huge chunk of the weekend talking about how much we love our little ones, it was a refreshing break.

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing
Yield: about 4 servings

Ingredients

For the chicken: 
2 cups panko
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 large egg whites
1 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
¼ tsp. dried thyme
Cooking spray
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
½-¾ cup buffalo wing sauce

For the dressing:
½ avocado, roughly chopped
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream (or greek yogurt)
2 tsp. olive oil
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 small bunch chives, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
Up to ½ cup buttermilk
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

For the salad: 
About 6-8 cups salad greens, such as Bibb lettuce and baby spinach leaves
¾ cup grape tomatoes, halved

Optional topping suggestions: 
Crumbled blue cheese or feta
Chopped scallions
Crumbled bacon
Shredded cheddar cheese
Thinly sliced red onion

Cooking View

Directions

  • Adjust an oven rack to the middle position.  Preheat the oven to 475˚ F.  Combine the panko and oil in a 12-inch skillet and toast over medium heat until golden, stirring often, about 10 minutes.  Spread the breadcrumbs in a shallow plate or pie dish.  In a second shallow dish, combine the flour, garlic powder, and salt.  In a third shallow dish whisk together the egg whites, water, mustard and thyme.  Whisk to blend.

  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack on top.  Spray the rack lightly with cooking spray.    Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels, then season lightly with salt and pepper.  Lightly dredge each chicken piece in the flour to coat completely, shaking off the excess.  Then dip into the egg white mixture and finally coat with the panko.  Press gently into the panko to make sure they adhere.  Place the chicken pieces on the prepared baking sheet.  Spray the tops of the chicken pieces lightly with cooking spray.

  • Bake until the chicken is no longer pink and reads 160˚ F internally on an instant-ready thermometer, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the oven.  Place the buffalo sauce in a bowl and use tongs to lightly coat the chicken pieces in the buffalo sauce.  Set aside for a few minutes to cool slightly and let the sauce soak in.

  • To make the dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor starting with ¼ cup of the buttermilk and blend for 10 seconds.  Check the consistency and taste and blend in additional buttermilk as desired.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

  • Divide the salad greens among four serving plates.  Top with halved cherry tomatoes.  Add a few chicken tenders to each plate.  Drizzle lightly with the dressing.  Garnish with additional toppings, as desired.

Source

  • http://weliketwocook.com/ Celine

    How funny- I just made this salad this weekend too! It was so delicious, especially that avocado ranch!

  • http://tideandthyme.com/ Laura

    I’ve been thinking about it since she made it too, heh. Looks great!

  • Emily Clark

    Both the salad and the kidsless weekend sound delicious! :)

  • Sarah

    This has become my favorite method of breading. Last week I toasted coconut with the panko for coconut shrimp. Delicious!

  • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.ochoa.961 Lauren Ochoa

    I love buffalo chicken sandwiches with ranch dressing but I avoid them in general because they deliver a major calorie punch that I don’t necessarily feel good about. Take the bread away, add in a healthy dose of greens and whip up a delicious homemade dressing and then we are getting into something with the same delicious flavor combo that I can (kinda) feel good about. Awesome!

  • Caroline L.

    This looks heavenly – Spring always get me in the mood for salads! So glad you guys got some R&R!

  • http://twitter.com/blessmessblog Melissa

    MMmmm. I made this kind of thing into a wrap and am posting it tomorrow but now I wish you would have been earlier because your chicken looks better. LOL. So now I need to make the wraps with your chicken! Mmm. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/HBHarvest HalfBakedHarvest

    This is my king of salad! I want it now!

  • http://www.facebook.com/angela.tapy Angela Coddington Tapy

    Looks amazing! cant wait to try it! What is your wing sauce of choice? I have yet to find a store-bought one that I love. Might just have to visit my local Bw3s and overpay for something I know I like, I am just sure it won’t taste as good at home!

  • Rachel @ Baked by Rachel

    So jealous of your weekend! Sounds fabulous. And this salad is sure to be a huge hit.

  • http://twitter.com/thekitchwitch Dana Talusani

    That looks amazing and yes, 7:30am is considered a sleep-in for us, too!

  • http://www.a-kitchen-addiction.com/ Jessica_AKitchenAddiction

    Oh this sounds like my kind of salad! The avocado ranch to top it off is perfect!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jessica.hinson.37 Jessica Hinson

    guess what I’m making for dinner…!

  • annieseats

    Like I said, I don’t eat a lot of buffalo-flavored things so I’ve actually never even bought a sauce for it before this recipe :) I bought the Frank’s that Tara recommended in her post since I trust her opinion.

  • Jenn V

    We just had this for dinner- it was very good! I’d never tried to do buffalo wings or chicken at home but I am so glad I did! Thanks for a great recipe :)

  • gailwerner

    As someone who LOVES buffalo anything, can’t wait to try this!!!

    PS – Thank you for still continuing to post recipes that aren’t all Paleo/gluten-free…gosh, these days I’m beginning to think you can’t look at any magazine or food blog without feeling guilt over eating bread crumbs!! haha

  • annieseats

    Haha, I am SO right there with you. #nopaleoformethanks

  • gailwerner

    Can we make that hash tag start trending? Please?!!! haha

  • Jessica Medina

    This looks awesome!!!! I love buffalo chicken and I love avocado. I will have to try this!!

  • http://twitter.com/gemtwist Claire Cunningham

    I just made this for dinner, and it is amazing! I can’t ever pass up the buffalo chicken sandwiches at restaurants, so I’m thrilled to have a healthier option to make at home. Thanks!

  • Carissa Miller

    This looks awesome and I’ve been wanting to try the dressing. Does the dressing begin to get brown because of the avocado if you don’t use it right away?

  • annieseats

    Yes, unfortunately it does so I only make it fresh eac time. It doesn’t seem to keep well.

  • kmmunoz

    This is seriously one of my favorite recipes on this site. I always make extra chicken to turn into wraps, sandwiches… sky’s the limit. Thank you!