Salad Dressing/ Salads

Spinach, Chicken and Blueberry Salad with a Touch of BBQ

And a touch of BBQ!

We are 100% unpacked in our new house and everything has a place either hung, in a drawer/closet/on a shelf. I love this house and having everything on one level is great and having a big kitchen makes me want to start experimenting with new recipes

. One of my last boxes I unpacked had a collection of menus from restaurants we had visited over the years. Some from Italy, one from Spain, (Casa Botin which is suppose to be oldest restaurant in the world dating back to 1725), even an old Elvis menu from a restaurant in Memphis. This recipe was inspired by a menu item from a Houston restaurant.

When we lived in The Woodlands a friend and I would shop and eat in Houston often and one of my favorite lunch places back then was the Empire Cafe on Westheimer and I absolutely loved one of their salads that had a bbq dressing. So this is my version of a salad that holds a lot of fond memories.

You have to give this salad a try anytime you can get fresh plump blueberries. I’m made this salad with some sliced grilled chicken thighs as a main dish salad. It would also be delicious with grilled shrimp.

I remember calling the restaurant to see if that dressing had mayo in the ingredients and they said yes so I decided to use either a homemade ranch (from Hidden Valley seasoning) or a bottled Ranch and add 1-2 Tablespoons of my favorite thick bbq sauce. 

This would be a great salad to serve to friends for lunch (or dinner) with a glass of crisp white wine. We had some new RT friends over and I hope they enjoyed the salad.

BLAST FROM THE PAST: These Fried Brussel Sprout Leaves are a great appetizer.

Grill or bake your chicken thighs until done and then slice into thin strips.

I love cuting the sugar snap peas in strips and seeing the peas exposed.

Thinly slice the red onions and set aside.

After making the ranch dressing stir in a couple tablespoons of your favorite thick bbq sauce.

Mix the baby spinach and the arugula together. Remove any long stems from both greens. To prepare plates arrange the greens on each plate then add the nuts, blueberries, sugar snap peas, avocado, blue cheese, red onion, mint (optional), chicken and then let each guest drizzle their own bbq sauce over their salads.

Spinach, Chicken, Blueberry Salad with BBQ Dressing


  • 1 pkg. fresh spinach stemmed
  • 1 pkg. arugula
  • 1 pkg. of sugar snap peas snip and string
  • 1 large avocado peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 c gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/2 c. toasted pecans
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 c. thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/3 c. chopped mint optional
  • 1 c. ready made ranch dressing
  • 2 Tbsp. bbq sauce*


  1. For the dressing either make your own ranch (I did) from Hidden Valley Dressing mix or buy a bottle of good ranch dressing.
  2. Season your chicken thighs with your favorite grill seasoning and cook until 165° remove from grill and slice thin.
  3. Mix the spinach and arugula and top each plate with some of the greens. Now you will layer the plate with julienned sugar snap peas, avocado, blueberries, pecans, sliced chicken then sprinkle with the cheese. Scatter a few red onion slices and mint over plates.
  4. Guest can add their own dressing.

Recipe Notes

*Use your favorite "thick" sauce to whisk into the ranch dressing. I do not blanch the sugar snap peas because I like the crispness of them raw.

If you want to make this in a large bowl make sure the ingredients are mix well. With or without the chicken you could add some of the dressing and toss lightly.

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