Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad

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Enjoy a cool and easy lunch or dinner with this Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad. It’s full of chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. 

Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad

One of my favorite meals is a salad. It’s true. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved green salads. In fact, most times at a restaurant, that’s what I’ll choose as my main. Or I’ll make sure to order a side salad just because. I love salads.

These days as we’re trying to cut expenses for college, travel, and someday a home, I’m trying to pack lunches for my husband. It’s not that he can’t pack it himself, it’s just that he doesn’t always have the time. He’s a man after my own heart, packing cereal and milk to avoid the cost of eating out.

On the weekends when I have time, I try to prep a bunch of vegetables and proteins for easier lunch packing and my own lunchtime salad making. This Chicken Bacon Ranch is one of my favorites!

In college, I worked for the UCEN Dining Services in the Pantry. My responsibilities entailed prepping ingredients for salads and sandwiches. One of the perks was learning to make homemade dressings, like this Easy Homemade Ranch Dressing.

I regularly mix this up for salads, veggie dippers, and pizza nights. It’s so much better than that fake-tasting bottled stuff. If your family likes ranch dressing, I highly recommend making your own.

Plus, it goes GREAT on this salad:

Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad

This lunch or dinner feast is full of good stuff: spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cheddar cheese, crisp bacon, and Cajun-spiced chicken topped with the aforementioned real food ranch dressing.

The salad is easy to prep, very much make-ahead-friendly, and so very much better than anything a fast food restaurant can provide. You can cook up big batches of chicken and bacon and stir up some dressing at the start of the week, and enjoy great salads all week long. I think I could eat this every day. So good.

I use pre-cooked bacon that I store in the freezer. It’s so easy to pull just a few slices and crisp them on the stove or in the microwave. It takes a minute or two compared to thirty if I were cooking the bacon from the start on my own. Feel free to use uncooked bacon, but it will take longer to prep the salad.

If you want to make it paleo/Whole 30-friendly, omit the cheese and use this dairy-free creamy dressing instead or make a vinaigrette.

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Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad
Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
12 mins
Total Time
22 mins
 
Enjoy a cool and easy lunch or dinner with this Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad. It's full of chicken, bacon, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers.
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, Chicken bacon ranch salad, salad
Servings: 4
Calories: 616 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
Ingredients
  • 8 slices pre-cooked bacon
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Cajun Spice Blend
  • 6 ounce package baby spinach or baby greens
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 red onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1 large cucumber or 4 small Persian cucumbers sliced
  • 1/2 cup Ranch Dressing
Instructions
  1. Crisp the bacon in a hot skillet for a minute or two. Remove from the pan and drain on paper toweling. Chop and set aside.
  2. Add the oil to the pan and heat until shimmering. Add the chicken and Cajun Spice Blend. Cook, turning frequently, until the chicken is done, about ten minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, divide the spinach among four plates, or plastic boxes with lids if packing for work or school. Divide the bacon, tomatoes, onion, cheddar, and cucumber among the four dishes.
  4. When the chicken is done, remove it from the heat to a cutting board and chop it into bite sized pieces. Divide the chicken among the salads. If you’re making the salads in advance, allow the chicken to cool before adding it to the dish.
  5. Serve the salads with ranch dressing on the side. Salads can be prepped and stored in the fridge for up to four days.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional values are approximate and are based on 1/4 of the recipe. Refrigerate leftovers promptly and use within 4 days.

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 616 Calories from Fat 432
% Daily Value*
Fat 48g74%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Cholesterol 126mg42%
Sodium 879mg38%
Potassium 1068mg31%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 36g72%
Vitamin A 4850IU97%
Vitamin C 28mg34%
Calcium 186mg19%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

month-of-make-ahead-meals-300x250Make-ahead meals can make your month! Grab this month’s meal plans to take it easy and enjoy great home-cooked meals.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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Comments

  1. Karen says

    A local restaurant serves a version of this. Our favorite! I like eating salad, not so much the making part. It never dawned on me to do all the cooking ahead. Thanks for the nudge. My cajun seasoned chicken is in the oven now, bacon is already frozen ready to heat up later. To copy the restaurant, I have hard cooked eggs chilling to slice and toasted pecans cooling on the counter. Can’t wait!

  2. Vanessa B says

    I could eat this everyday as well! I’m so thankful that my family likes it too. There are so many variations that my husband and I never tire of it but my 6 and 3 year olds can stick with the basics that they like. Rencent we like pesto marinated grilled chicken with caesar or homemade balsamic dressing.

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