BBQ Chopped Blueberry and Chickpea Salad with Taylor Farms
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Taylor Farms. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
A sweet summer twist on the much-loved classic BBQ Chopped Salad, this delicious salad has family and fun written all over it.
Confession- it wasn't until this past year that I started making my own bowl-worthy salads.
I'm talking oversized, delicious bowls of so much awesome stuff that restaurants charge 20 bucks per bowl because people are crazy enough to buy them.
You know, people like me.
The thing is, salad (and pizza and cookies) are pretty much my all-time favorite foods. Simple or all-dressed-up, a big bowl of greens is always a good idea. And, absolutely one of those meals I was always happy to spend my money on.
Until I found out how easy it is to make my own.
Just in case you are new to salads and maybe feel a little intimidated, let me tell you a little secret...it's so super easy!
So today, with the help of Taylor Farms Homestyle Ranch & Cheddar Shred Cutz Salad Kit, I am going to show you just how easy it is to make one of my all-time favorite salads- BBQ Chopped Blueberry and Chickpea Salad.
Anyone else a big fan of BBQ chopped salads?
I am trying to remember when I had my first BBQ chopped salad...
I really have no idea, but it must have been a good one because year after year this salad has remained one of my forever favorites. What have I learned after all these years?
Here's some (very easy!) tips-
The lettuce needs to be finely chopped, fresh and crisp. My favorite lettuce for this salad is iceberg or a combination of iceberg and romaine. Sometimes if I am feeling fancy, I'll throw in some shredded cabbage, but the key here is iceberg lettuce. You can chop it yourself or make your life SUPER easy and save tons of time by buying pre-chopped, pre-washed lettuce.
Ranch and BBQ sauce are your salad dressings. Ranch may be one of my most-loved salad dressings, but I don't use it often. That said, this is one salad where you just need to put a little (or a lot!) of ranch. I am fairly particular about the ranch that I use for salads and dipping, but lucky for me, the ranch that comes in the Taylor Farms Homestyle Ranch & Cheddar Kit is BOMB. Of course, don't forget the bbq sauce! I like sweet and tangy bbq sauce, but use whatever floats your boat.
You need a little cheese. Ok, you guys, you don't really, BUT, it comes highly recommended. One of my most memorable restaurant bbq chicken salads came with cubes of cheese. It was AWESOME.
Corn. Add the corn. Corn from a can, boiled corn, microwaved corn, bbq'd corn, it doesn't matter, just add the corn. Unless you totally hate corn, then don't.
Make it your own. This goes with all salads, but especially BBQ chopped salads. This salad is a blank canvas for adding whatever you want! For example, cilantro. I, personally, feel that cilantro is a must-have in this salad, BUT, many people despise the stuff. If you're one of those people, skip it. And fruit. I LOVE fresh fruit in just about every salad I make these days, but traditionally you will not find blueberries or peaches in your bbq chopped salad at a restaurant.
Meat. This salad is great with or without it. For today I decided to leave out my animal friends and make some roasted chickpeas instead. That said, chicken, shrimp and beef are all delicious tossed with this salad goodness.
Most important! Chop chop chop and toss toss toss! Chopped salads are best (and easiest to eat) when evenly coated in delicious creamy ranch and tangy bbq sauce.
Wouldn't you agree?
With the Fourth of July right around the corner and summer in full swing this salad makes meal time easy and fun (which is what summer is all about if you ask me!)
Octavian loved helping me dump all the salad ingredients in a big bowl and toss everything together with "mamas big spoons". Ignoring the fact that most of the salad (quickly) found it's way to the floor, it was the perfect experiment in introducing him to new, healthy foods.
Note to self- next time give him his very own smaller bowl with appropriately sized spoons.
BBQ Chopped Blueberry and Chickpea Salad with Taylor Farms
Prep Time: 10 minutes : Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings
Category: 30 minute meals, Kid Approved!, Main Course, Salad, Vegetables, Spring + Summer, Vegetarian
1 Taylor Farms Homestyle Ranch & Cheddar Shred Cutz Salad Kit
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt + pepper
3 medium zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise
3-4 large ears of corn, shucked and cleaned of stringy bits
6 ounces (1 cup) fresh blueberries
2 peaches, ripe but firm and sliced
1 large avocado, chopped
BBQ sauce of choice
Optional- chopped cilantro, chopped green onion, sunflower seeds
FOR THE CHICKPEAS: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Drain, rinse and, using a paper towel, pat dry the chickpeas. Transfer chickpeas to a baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until light brown and toasted.
FOR THE CORN AND ZUCCHINI: Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Prepare zucchini and corn and lightly oil grill grates (note- you may also brush your vegetables with a thin layer of olive oil prior to grilling, however I rarely do so. Especially when the vegetables will be mixed within a salad or other dish). Transfer corn directly to the grill first, as they will take longer to cook. Cook the corn for approximately 10-12 minutes, rotating every 2-3 minutes. When the corn is nearly finished, reduce heat to medium and add the zucchini. Cook each side of the zucchini for approximately 3 minutes, or until just starting to turn tender and soft. Remove from the grill and set aside to cool.
ASSEMBLE: In a large salad bowl add the entire contents of the Taylor Farms Homestyle Ranch & Cheddar Shred Cutz Salad Kit EXCEPT for the ranch dressing. Once the chickpeas and vegetables have cooled, transfer to the salad bowl (making sure to shuck the corn and chop the zucchini before) and toss well. Add the blueberries, sliced peaches (or STARS :), chopped avocado and drizzle with desired amount of ranch dressing and BBQ sauce.
TOSS IT ALL TOGETHER.
Divide salad between desired number of servings bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro, green onion, sunflower seeds and additional ranch or BBQ sauce, if desired.
Best served immediately.
*tip: save time by preparing and roasting the chickpeas ahead of time. They may not be warm, but they'll still be delicious. The same goes for the corn and zucchini. If you are unable to grill the corn or zucchini, simply boil or microwave your corn and roast the zucchini (tossed in olive oil) in the oven along with the chickpeas.