Nix the dreaded dinnertime rut with a dinner combo that’s super easy and finger-licking good! Speedy enough for hectic weeknights, this Honey Glazed Chicken and Southwest Kale Salad is ready to rock your plate!
That title. Yeesh!
I wanted to simply things and simply title it BBQ Kale Salad but it gave me this weird mental image of barbecue sauce slathered on grilled kale leaves. I know, SO the opposite of what this salad is.
This salad is light and crisp and nutrition packed, delivering a punch of smoky-sweet barbecue flavor that is positively addictive when paired with the homemade ranch dressing and fresh veggies. It’s a party on a plate and a tasty bite of Summer.
Yes it’s still Summer, people. Put down the pumpkin!
Just kidding, I’ve totally already embraced the pumpkin too buuuuuut this weather still calls for some celebratory salads, mmkay?
While this pairing might seem a little cuckoo for cocoa puffs, let me tell you, it’s one of those shout-it-from-the-rooftops sort of flavor pairings that I absolutely can’t get enough of.
I stuffed face.
Then I ran over to the neighbor’s to tell them they HAD TO TRY THIS STAT!
The next line of action, of course, is to tell you the same. Make this. Yes with the kale. Yes with the pecans. Yes with ALL THOSE VEGGIES.
Honey Glazed Chicken and Southwestern Kale Salad
Measurements for salad recipes are always super awkward. What one person deems a side salad another may view as a lunch-sized salad and while one person may want more greens, the next wants a veggie party on their plate.
To make things easy on us all, take the salad measurements below with a grain of salt, and make as much as you need! The recipe as written makes what I would consider enough for 2-4 side salads, depending on how much leafy green goodness you tend to put down. Enjoy!
15 minPrep Time
15 minCook Time
30 minTotal Time
- 2/3 bunch of kale
- 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup black beans
- 1/2 cup sweet corn kernels
- 1/4 cup shredded carrot
- 1/4-1/2 cup crispy tortilla strips (optional but delicious!)
- 1/4-1/2 cup toasted pecan halves and pieces
- drizzle with with barbecue ranch dressing: combine equal parts of your favorite smoky sweet BBQ sauce with homemade or store bought ranch dressing + adjust to taste
- 2 TBSP rice vinegar
- 2 TBSP honey
- 1 TBSP sweet chili sauce
- 1 TBSP reduced sodium soy sauce (GF if needed)
- 1 clove garlic, smashed and minced + extra if desired
- 4 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Wash and remove the center stalk/rib from the kale leaves, tearing each leaf into bite-sized pieces as you go.
- Drizzle with olive oil and massage to soften/tenderize the kale leaves. My toddler loves to do this step for me and I love the silky texture and taste of massaged kale.
- Top with all your favorites from the ingredient list above and whisk together the dressing on the side.
- Set aside.
- Next pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Using your favorite pan or skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of oil on medium heat until hot.
- Add the seasoned chicken thighs, skin side down; loosely cover with aluminum foil.
- Cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and browned.
- Flip the chicken and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until cooked through (165 degrees F)
- Transfer to a plate, leaving any drippings and browned bits in the pan as a base for your sauce.
- Reduce heat to low.
- Whisk together rice vinegar, honey, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, and garlic and pour into the pan.
- Mix well and pour over your chicken.
- Serve the chicken atop your crispy kale salad or on the side. Enjoy!
For the beans and corn in the salad, feel free to use canned, freshly cooked, or frozen. I utilized my stash of crock-pot black beans that I freeze and defrost as needed as well as some frozen organic corn that I simply transfer to the fridge and defrost for an easy addition to meals during the week.
Not into pan-frying? Fret not! Dedicate a little oven time to your poultry (about 25-30 minutes or so) and oven roast those thighs until crispy and delicious. Easy peasy!
Though the Asian-glazed chicken and Southwestern-style salad seem like polar opposites here, they completely rocked my tastebuds! I have a soft spot for buddying up unlikely flavor pairings. If you’re a bit skeptical of fusion dishes or a stickler for sticking with a set cuisine, feel free to tinker around by pairing BBQ glazed chicken thighs with my Southwestern Kale Salad or keeping the Honey Garlic Chicken as is and giving the salad and Asian flair. I won’t be offended but MAN I loved this unlikely combo!
hungry for more?
crazy for kale?
Chopped Greek Kale Salad
Always free; always delicious.