Healthy Buffalo Ranch Chicken Salad: the kick of hot sauce and the zing of ranch come together to create this unique chicken salad. Mixed with fresh carrots, celery and scallions, all the fixings of a buffalo chicken platter, this dish has it all rolled into one.
What is buffalo ranch chicken salad?
This chicken salad is a spin on the classic; it’s got the flavors of classic hot sauce, combined with ranch. It’s got the extra crunch from fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, red onion and scallions- all the extras you’d find on a buffalo chicken platter. Buffalo ranch chicken salad is not overly spicy; it’s got a little kick on the back end, but the hot sauce flavor is toned down by the other dressing ingredients. The dressing is made from a combination of hot sauce, light mayo, plain non-fat Greek Yogurt, and ranch seasoning. Using ranch seasoning really rounds out all the flavors and ties them together without the addition of a ton of spices. It makes this recipe so simple to come together.
Do you taste the Greek yogurt? No! Nope, nope, nope. I can assure you, if you did taste the Greek yogurt, I wouldn’t approve of it. My husband loves this recipe, and if he knew there was yogurt in it, he probably wouldn’t eat it! The yogurt just helps stretch the mayo out, without adding a ton of calories and fat.
To cook your own chicken, or to not cook your own chicken?
First, you’ll have to decide whether or not you want to cook your own shredded chicken; if you do, you’ll need a few different ingredients than if you were to buy a rotisserie chicken. This recipe calls for 6 cups of cooked, shredded chicken breast. To yield this amount of cooked chicken, we start with 3 lbs. of raw chicken breast, or 4 large chicken breasts. So, if you plan on using cooked rotisserie chicken for this, you will need two. And that might get a little expensive.
Although using pre-cooked chicken will cut your preparation time down by a solid 25 minutes, it might be more expensive than cooking your own chicken. So its really up to you to weigh your options here. I find it easy enough to cook my own chicken while I prepare the other ingredients, and it doesn’t require a ton of extra effort. Plus you can control the ingredients here, where as with a store bought chicken, you can’t.
How to poach chicken breast
Start with a large pot, and add your raw chicken breast to the bottom of the pot. Add in your smashed garlic cloves, bay leaves, peppercorns, and kosher salt.
Next, cover the chicken breast with cold water so that the chicken is submerged. Cover the pot with a lid, and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a rapid simmer. Cook until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165F. Depending on the thickness of your chicken, this takes anywhere from 20-30 minutes. To check the internal temperature of proteins when I cook, I use this meat thermometer from OXO.
What you’ll need to make buffalo ranch chicken salad
Now that we have (somewhat) settled the chicken debate, the other ingredients you’ll need for this recipe are as follows:
- plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- light mayo
- hot sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot)
- ranch seasoning (I use this Hidden Valley Ranch packet)
- red onion
Once you have the chicken part down pat, assembling this salad couldn’t be easier. Just combine the hot sauce, mayo, yogurt, and ranch seasoning together in the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Whisk so that they are thoroughly combined.
Next, chop up the celery, red onion, and scallions. Finely dice them, if possible. No one wants a huge chunk of red onion when they bite into chicken salad. Also, shred your chicken at this point.
Next, fold the vegetables and the chicken into the dressing you created in the mixing bowl… voila! Buffalo Ranch Chicken Salad is complete and ready for digging in!
Meal prepping and serving buffalo ranch chicken salad
The options are endless with how to serve this recipe; on bread, on a wrap, in a bowl over greens with ranch dressing, or as a dip for carrots and crackers. To meal prep this, divide your heaping 1 cup portions into storage containers in the fridge. During the week, choose how you want to eat the chicken salad depending on how you feel that day! Sandwich one day, dip the next. Make sure to pack your bread or other ingredients separately to keep things from getting soggy. This chicken salad will last fine in the fridge for the week. If you’re uneasy about eating protein for that long, you can half the recipe or adjust accordingly. The recipe card below has an option to adjust servings up or down.
Healthy Buffalo Ranch Chicken Salad
- large pot
- mixing bowl
- 1 cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
- ⅓ cup light mayo
- ⅓ cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce
- 2 tsp Hidden Valley ranch seasoning and salad dressing powder
- 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 3 scallions, chopped
For the Shredded Chicken Breast
- 3 lbs chicken breast, raw
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves, dried
For the Shredded Chicken Breast
- Place the raw chicken breasts in the bottom of a large pot.
- Add the kosher salt, peppercorns, smashed garlic cloves, and bay leaves to the top of the chicken.
- Cover the chicken breasts with cold water, place the lid on the pot and bring it to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to a rapid simmer/low boil and cook uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked (internal temperature should read 165F).
- When the chicken is fully cooked, remove from the water and place on a cutting board to cool.
- Shred the chicken breasts with two forks.
- * NOTE: yields 6 cups of cooked chicken breast. You can use rotisserie chicken breast to save time.
Salad Dressing and Other Ingredients
- Combine the hot sauce, yogurt, mayo, and ranch seasoning on the bottom of a large mixing bowl.
- Fold in the carrots, celery, onion, scallions, and shredded chicken.
- Makes 6 servings at a heaping cup each. Serve on wraps, on bread, or with crackers and fresh veggies for dipping.
- 3 WW points (green plan)
- 1 WW point (blue and purple plans)
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