Salads

May 9, 2024

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Mason Jar Salads with Ranch

This meal prep salad is brimming with tender, juicy bite-sized pieces of chicken cooked to perfection with a splash of buffalo hot sauce that gets nestled among layers of crisp romaine lettuce and mixed greens, fresh vegetables such as carrot, celery, corn and red onion, nutty pecans and fluffy tri-color quinoa for an extra protein boost! Then, those flavorful ingredients get all dressed up in a creamy Greek yogurt ranch dressing that is infused with fresh dill and fresh chives. It's a satisfying combination that's simple yet incredibly tasty.

Now, let’s talk about the layers:

  • Homemade Yogurt Ranch Dressing: I strived to keep the calories under control and wanted to keep this as healthy as possible as I know that ranch dressing is not always the healthiest. So, my ranch dressing is made with wholesome fresh ingredients such as lemon juice, fresh herbs and spices. You might think that this is a sour cream based dressing or that blue cheese dressing is better, but I am here to tell you that this is actually a greek yogurt based ranch dressing and it is hands down the best! However, I did want to note that there is mayonnaise in this as well. So, to keep it on the healthier side as planned, I opted for avocado oil mayonnaise. But, please feel free to use whatever you prefer or have on hand. I also put the ranch dressing at the bottom as the very first layer so that the salad does not get soggy and it coats the other vegetables really well. In order to make this, all you need is a small bowl and a whisk. Add all ingredients together and mix well. It's that easy!
  • Celery, Carrots, Corn and Red Onion: Fresh colorful vegetables are the name of the game. Each one is unique with their own flavor and textures, when combined it provides great nutrition and a great vegetable variety to the salad making it more fun and enjoyable to eat!
  • Romaine Lettuce and Mixed Greens: I am such a big fan of both types of greens. I like romaine because it is light and provides a nice crunch, but I like the mixed greens because it provides more natural nutrients and vitamins. So, combining them both in one salad makes for the ultimate duo.
  • Tri-Color Quinoa: This is one of my favorite additions to the salad because I love adding carbs or some sort of grain to mine and the use of quinoa is a great way to incorporate an additional protein source with the chicken. Plus  it adds texture and colors as well. Overall my for this salad it is top choice, but feel free to interchange with your preferred grain such as: farro, pearl couscous, rice or pasta.
  • Goat Cheese: I know that blue cheese crumbles is the typical cheese pairing with buffalo sauce, but I am not the biggest blue cheese fan and I feel that alot of others feel the same. It has such a potent smell and taste that either you love it or hate it. So, I opted for my favorite creamy cheese substitute that has a similar flavor profile: goat cheese crumbles. It is such a nice smooth cheese that adds just the right amount of goodness to that salad. If you prefer blue cheese crumbles though, please feel free to substitute! If you do not want cheese in the salad, please feel free to omit all together.
  • Pecans: These are such a fun addition to the salad, almost like icing on the cake. A nutty aroma just completes the salad and makes it whole.
  • Buffalo Chicken: The star of the show! It is such an indulgent protein that pairs so well with the homemade ranch dressing. I am truly obsessed! There are a couple of different ways you can cook the chicken, but the best way is to cut your skinless chicken breast into small pieces first, season it with kosher salt, black pepper and garlic powder to your liking and then marinate for at least 30 minutes and cook in a pan over medium high heat on the stove. Another great way to cook the chicken would be to bake it on a sheet pan in the oven or on the grill outside. If you prefer to use rotisserie chicken or any left over chicken you have on hand instead of skinless chicken breast, you absolutely can. This recipe is so versatile and that is one of the things I love about it!

Now, let's talk about prepping this gorgeous buffalo chicken mason jar salad recipe. Picture yourself on a Sunday afternoon or even midweek, whipping up a batch of these healthy lunches. Can you see it!? I can! It's such a straightforward meal prep salad where you just divide ingredients and it yields perfectly prepped pretty meals that you easily assemble in adorable yet handy mason jars. If you do not have mason jars on hand, then you can opt to store them in an airtight container of your choosing.

Speaking of mason jars, not only are they adorable, but they're also incredibly practical, especially for the busy mom, busy people or if you have a busy schedule. These jars make meal prep a breeze. Here are some easy meal prep tips: take the time to make them in advance, it is worth it. You and make them in bulk at the beginning of your week or midweek and then, stack them up in the fridge, grab one as you head out the door, and you've got a wholesome satisfying meal ready whenever hunger strikes! Plus, it’s like a party in your mouth with every bite! I can guarantee this will become one of you favorite salads.

Did you make this? If so, make sure to tag and follow @prettyplatebymichelle on instagram and tiktok or leave a review below and let me know what you think! I would love to see your Pretty Plate and hear from you!

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Mason Jar Salads with Ranch

I'm so excited to share a recipe that's sure to become a staple in your mason jar salads rotation: Healthy Buffalo Chicken Salad Jars! These jars are not just about convenience; they're about flavor and practicality combined. So, get ready to fall in

Prep:
45
min
cook:
8
min
total:
52
min
Author:

Michelle

Ingredients

For the Salad Jars:

  • 4 Chicken Breasts, cut in cubes
  • 1 Cup celery, diced
  • 1 Cup Carrots, diced
  • 1 cup dried quinoa, divided and cooked according to package
  • 2 Cups pecans, chopped and divided
  • 1 Cup charred corn, divided
  • ½ Cup red onion, minced and divided
  • 1 Cup goat cheese, divided (optional)
  • 1 Cup Romaine lettuce
  • 1 Cup Mixed Greens
  • 1 Cup Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder to your liking
  • Ranch dressing or dressing of choice (recipe below)
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch + 2 TBSP water

For the Homemade Ranch Dressing:

  • 1 Cup avocado oil mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Cup plain greek yogurt with 5% milkfat
  • 1/2 TBSP minced garlic
  • 1/4 TSP dried dill weed
  • 1 TBSP fresh chives, finely chopped
  • 1/2 TSP black pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 TSP lemon juice
  • 1/2 TSP Worcestershire sauce + a dash
  • 1/2 TBSP dried parsley
  • 1/2 TSP salt
  • 1 TSP ranch seasoning
  • 1 TBSP water

How to Layer, Bottom to Top (is is also noted in the directions below):

  1. ¼ Cup Homemade Ranch Dressing OR ⅓ Cup if you want it a little heavier dressed
  2. ¼ Cup Celery
  3. ¼ Cup Carrots
  4. ¼ Cup Corn
  5. 1 TBSP Red Onion
  6. 1 Cup Romaine lettuce
  7. 1 Cup Mixed greens
  8. ¼ Cup Quinoa
  9. 2 TBSP Goat cheese
  10. 2 TBSP Pecans
  11. ½ Cup Buffalo chicken
Instructions
    1. Cut your chicken into smaller cubes and place in a bowl. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder to your liking. Then, in a small bowl make your cornstarch slurry by mixing: 1 TBSP cornstarch + 2 TBSP water. Measure out your buffalo sauce, add the cornstarch slurry and mix well. Pour your buffalo sauce over your seasoned chicken and let marinate for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
    2. Make your homemade ranch dressing by mixing all the ingredients in one bowl and whisking well to combine. Place in the fridge to cool when done.
    3. While your chicken is marinating, place a pot of salted water on the stove over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling. Add your corn on the cob. Boil for 7-10 minutes until the corn is bright yellow and crisp. NOTE: If you see some of the kernels getting wrinkly and/or brown, you’ve cooked them a little too long and should remove them from the water immediately. OPTIONAL STEP: if you want the corn to have a nice little char on it, you can throw them on the grill or over an open flame on the stove and char each side to your liking, if not leave as is and let cool. Once the corn has cooled, cut the corn off the cob and set aside.
    4. Prepare your other ingredients, but dicing your celery and carrots. Measure out and set both aside. Mince your red onion, set aside. Chop your romaine lettuce, wash and set aside. Cook your quinoa according to the directions on the package, set aside to let cool.
    5. Place a large pan over medium heat, once hot add your buffalo marinated chicken cubes to the pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 7-8 minutes or until cooked through. When done transfer to a bowl and set aside.
    6. Begin assembling your jars. Layer each jar in the following order from bottom to the top: ¼ Cup Homemade Ranch Dressing OR ⅓ Cup if you want it a little heavier dressed, ¼ Cup Celery, ¼ Cup Carrots, ¼ Cup Corn, 1 TBSP Red Onion, 1 Cup Romaine lettuce, 1 Cup Mixed greens, ¼ Cup Quinoa, 2 TBSP Goat cheese, 2 TBSP Pecans and ½ Cup Buffalo chicken. All ingredients should make 5-6 meal prepped jars.
    7. When done, place the lid on top and place in the fridge to cool or until ready to grab and go.
    8. ENJOY!
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Cynthia
October 9, 2023
The ingredient list is missing lemon slices, shallot and garlic.
Michael
July 5, 2023
Can I do this in a slow cooker instead of the oven?
Kevin
October 19, 2021
So delicious!