BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad


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

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad from (@whatsgabycookin)

I throw around the term on brand a LOT! I’ll say something like, this restaurant is totally on brand. Wearing yoga pants daily is on brand. My bright red bike helmet… on brand. You get the idea! Today and every other day for that matter, it’s safe to say that loaded salads are totally ON BRAND. 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 and add some avocado right before we eat. 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.

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 favorite salads that you absolutely have to try!

BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad

Gaby Dalkin
5 from 5 votes


  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup fresh corn cut from the cob
  • 1/2 cup black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup shredded BBQ chicken can use a store bought chicken and tossed with a little BBQ sauce
  • 1 avocado chopped
  • 3-4 tablespoons White Cheddar cheese shredded
  • BBQ sauce
  • 2 scallions chopped
  • cilantro for garnish


  • In a large bowl, toss together the quinoa, corn, black beans, chicken and avocado. Season with salt and pepper
  • Transfer mixture onto a bowl and top with shredded cheese, BBQ sauce, scallions and cilantro.
  • Serve
  • ** This recipe calls for already cooked chicken so plan ahead! If I have time, 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.

Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking

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  1. Rob

    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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  3. Melissa

    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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  5. Jackie

    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!

  6. A Healthy Diet Makes Happy Smiles | Dr. Dean Lodding | Smile For Life Dental Blog | Chicago Cosmetic Dentist | Dr. Dean Lodding DDS | Cosmetic Dentistry | Oral Health Tips

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  7. Lisa

    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!

  8. kristin

    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!

  9. Staci

    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….

    • Gaby

      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 🙂

    • Staci

      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

  10. michelle

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

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  21. Colleen @ Culinary Colleen

    This is my kind of salad! I need a little bbq in my life to hold me over until summer!

  22. Nancy

    I don’t eat meat, so I substitute salmon … Either salmon jerky or smoked salmon … for the chicken. Yum!

  23. Natalie @ Paper & Birch

    I’m with ya, loaded salads are a staple in our house too. This salad looks great, and after all the grease we ingested yesterday, a healthy way to start the week. Thanks for sharing this!

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      4-6 servings depending on if it’s a side dish or main course!

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  29. Sara Mufich

    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 🙂

    • Gaby

      omg no way!!! such a small world!! What’ his name?

    • Sara Mufich

      Chad Bauer, I told him he had to tell your husband today because I find these coincidences amazing!

    • Gaby

      omg small world!! love that 🙂 and enjoy the BBQ Chicken Quinoa Salad!!

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  31. jamie

    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…

    • Gaby

      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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  33. Maureen’s

    how many servings does this recipe make? Maybe I’m just missing it but I can’t find that info. Thanks

    • Gaby

      4-6 depending on if its a side dish or main course!

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  39. Liane Curtis

    Love all your recipes and want to make this bbq chicken quinoa bowl. I’m stumped about what kind of bbq sauce to use! Any favs? Thank you!!!

    • Gaby

      omg so many favorites! The regular one from Trader Joe’s is great. I love the Stubb’s one from Whole Foods too!!

  40. Amy

    Hi Gaby! Just wondering how long the chicken you make up in the slow cooker would last in the fridge? Thanks 🙂