Spicy BBQ Chick'n Salad. Butternut Cubes. Sizzling Onions. Citrus.

Distracted by a salad. That was my afternoon. But this Vegan BBQ Chick'n Butternut Salad was totally worth the lunchtime pause in my day.

Crispy Gardein tenders are piled over top skillet-hot, black-peppered, sizzling sweet onions, tender cubes of butternut squash, a sprinkle of raw pumpkin seeds, juicy satsuma mandarin orange rings and sweet dried cranberries - all on a crisp bed of freshly chopped romaine lettuce. Then a tangy, spicy-sweet BBQ sauce dressing is drizzled over top, brightening all the flavors and textures to make them pop! Get this recipe and swoon over these BBQ flavors..

I had plans. Big plans for this afternoon. Focused and furious, I had my head down and was powering through editing a mountain of photos for a client. But something kept scratching at insides. Lunch was calling.

..And so was the Spicy Balsamic Barbeque dressing that was in my fridge.

I had bought a bottle of it last night at Whole Foods along with some crunchy fresh romaine salad. I had intended to whip up some sort of vegan BBQ chick'n salad for dinner tonight. But apparently my craving couldn't wait.

So I popped in the kitchen and whipped up this dreamy slice of salad heaven.

I paired the salad with a cranberry kombucha and a slice of sunflower-seeded toast.

Dressing Substitute. So I know many of you probably will not be able to locate the exact store-bought "Follow Your Heart" dressing I used. But I have a good substitute that I think will mimic the flavor quite well. Take any vegan BBQ sauce that you love (store or homemade) and mix it with a splash of balsamic vinegar and splash of veggie oil (try extra virgin olive, safflower or another.) The dressing I used tastes like extra creamy and rich (from the oil) BBQ sauce. Add a few dashes of cayenne to your dressing if you want more heat.

The Chick'n. Fake Meat - you in or out? I personally love adding Gardein and other "fake meat" products to my meals in moderation. I don't need them, but my husband LOVES them and they do make vegan protein delicious and easy. You can chat more about that here: Fake meat: Defending or Defeating the Point.

Vegan BBQ Chick'n Butternut Salad
vegan, makes one salad

3 Gardein chick'n tenders (vegan)

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 large satsuma, peeled/sliced
2 Tbsp raw pumpkin seeds, shelled
1-2 Tbsp dried cranberries

onion saute:
1-2 tsp safflower oil (to saute)
1/2 cup butternut squash cubes (I used frozen, organic cubes)
1 small sweet onion, sliced into thin rings
1/8 tsp black pepper (fine)
salt to taste
additional spices as desired: cayenne, paprika, chili powder, chipotle

1 1/2 Tbsp dressing or BBQ sauce blended with oil/vinegar
*I used Follow Your Heart's Spicy Balsmic BBQ Dressing


1. Chop romaine. Pile in bowl. Add seeds, cranberries and citrus slices. Drizzle a bit of dressing.

2. Bake or saute chick'n tenders until hot and crispy. Set aside.

3. Add onion saute ingredients to a hot pan and cook until squash is tender and onions begin to brown on edges. I covered with a lid for a few minutes to speed up the cooking process for the butternut squash.

4. Pile onion saute over to greens.

5. Chop and add chick'n tenders.


..maybe add some avocado too... yes?

BBQ cravings.. a few more recipes to try:

* Mini BBQ Sauce Pizzas
* BBQ Tempeh Kraut-wich
* Sweet Potato Spelt Biscuits
* Fluffy Jalapeno-Cheddar Biscuits
* Creamy Dill Potato Salad
* Aloha Pineapple BBQ Pizza
* BBQ Hasselback Tofu
* Sweet Side of Corn Cake

You can also try making your own BBQ sauce for this recipe! My BBQ Sauce.

If you like this.. also check out my Mandarin Orange Gardein Chick'n Salad
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