BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad

This Loaded BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad is one of my favorite make ahead meals!

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad

Have we all recovered from yesterday’s game? I’m fairly certain I ate more than my fair share of guacamole and queso, but hey, that’s what the Super Bowl is all about right? I’m lightening things up today with this BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad!

Loaded salads are totally my jam. They make life colorful and delicious and it’s a great way to use whatever is left in my fridge. Yesterday I whipped up a ton of these salads for the week! I just assemble the entire thing, minus the avocado, so then we can grab them for lunch when we’re hungry. Layers of quinoa, grilled corn, black beans, shredded BBQ chicken, diced avocado, BBQ sauce and a little cheese give this salad about 324 dimensions and each bite was packed with flavor.

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad

It’s kind of like a BBQ chicken pizza but subbed with quinoa which makes it healthier and mostly guilt free! Hands down this is one of my new favorite salads that you absolutely have to try!

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup shredded BBQ chicken
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons White Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2-4 tablespoons BBQ sauce
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • cilantro for garnish


  1. In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa, corn, black beans, chicken and avocado. Season with salt and pepper
  2. Transfer mixture onto a bowl and top with shredded cheese, BBQ sauce, scallions and cilantro.
  3. Serve warm or at room temperature


This recipe calls for already cooked chicken so plan ahead! I prefer to cook my chicken in the crockpot, using 6 chicken thighs, 1 white onion sliced and 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce. I cook on low for about 6-7 hours and then shred and refrigerate for later.

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116 thoughts on “BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad

  1. My husband and I fell in love with quinoa during a recent trip to Peru. Now he begs me to make it each week. I made this tonight and it was PERFECT! I skipped the cheese because someone in this house can’t leave alone a brick of cheese sitting in the fridge (me!). I also used rotissere chicken and squirted BBQ sauce on it. Total shortcut, but it got a delicious meal on table after a long day at work. Thanks for a great recipe, Gaby. This is a keeper!

  2. Found this on pinterest…couldn’t wait to try it. I’ve got everything together, waiting for avocado, cheese, & green onions at the last minute. It tasted great before the last additions, can’t wait for dinner tonight! Thanks for the great recipe!

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  9. Hi Gaby. I made this for dinner a few nights ago and it was amazing! I made several alterations based on what I had on hand: I added half a red pepper, a couple handfuls of spinach, omitted the cheese, and added some ranch dressing and lime juice. Even my non-salad-loving husband couldn’t get enough of it! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  10. Gaby, I am a Quinoa virgin! I would love some tips on cooking it. I can’t wait to make this salad:-)

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  22. Had this for lunch today! (added some jalapenos, plain Greek yogurt, and crumbled cornbread on top) and it was amazing! Love this, thank you for a great recipe!

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  24. In lieu of chicken I used tofu marinated in BBQ sauce and baked until crispy and caramelized. Otherwise I made the recipe exactly as written. I’m sure this is great with chicken, but it’s also really easy to turn into a vegetarian friendly dish. Only thing I would change is to omit the green onions next time. They didn’t add much and actually tasted kind of out of place. Cooked yellow onions might be the way to go.

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  26. I made this exactly as written and my boyfriend won’t stop talking about how delicious it was! So simple and yet so healthy and delicious. This will definitely be a regular dish in our rotation.

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  28. We tried this about a month ago and it’s now a weekly favorite! Even my 2.5 year old likes and requests it! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

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  30. This was delicious…made it without the cheese cause we’re not cheese fans and it was still great…and less calories! I was asked to add it to the regular repertoire!

  31. Made this tonight for dinner….the husband and I both LOVED it! Wasn’t sure how I would feel about it, but was SO pleasantly surprised! Thanks for a great recipe that will definitely be added to my list of regular dinners!

  32. Quick question! Did you use 1 cup COOKED quinoa or am I supposed to start with 1 cup dry and use whatever that expands to? I know you had yours cooked before hand but I will be making mine tonight….

    • Hi Staci! 1 cup of cooked quinoa is enough to make the dish! So you’ll need about 1/2 cup of raw quinoa and 1 cup of water and then cook it up :)

      • Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly!! Sorry I was confused because I had always thought that quinoa quadrupled, so making 1/4 cup dry (a single serving) would equal 1 cup cooked! The conversions always have confused me haha but this looks delicious! Making it tonight

  33. Tried this out for the first time tonight… so delicious (and healthy) :) added some chopped green cabbage for extra crunch.

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  50. I found this recipe on pinterest and thought it looked amazing! I sent it to my fiance to see if he wanted it for dinner tomorrow night. Turns out he works with your husband!! He was telling me about the clues your dad leaves you for trips just last week! Small world :)

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  52. Im planning on making and prepping as much as i can the day before. Do you have any advice or recommendations on method of doing this? Mostly wondering on temperature of things what would be best, like if I serve it with quinoa and chicken cold or heated up…

    • You could easily serve this a room temp and it would be great!! Or you could heat it up a bit so it’s warm. Either way – it’s great! I keep it stocked in the fridge and eat it cold lots of times too

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