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Big Bad Buffalo Chicken Salad

A Zaxby’s copycat Buffalo Blue Zalad but BETTER. This Big Bad Buffalo Chicken Salad is loaded with crisp greens, crumbly blue cheese, grilled chicken doused in buffalo wing sauce, and these crispy onion tangles that totally blow my mind.

Big Bad Buffalo Chicken Salad

I had this Big Bad Buffalo Chicken Salad for dinner again last night. It’s my weakness. I am pretty much in love with it.

Also I need Christmas food to just STOP for a few days before we have a little get-together here over the weekend. I can’t look at another cookie until then. Brownies are out, too. I’ve vowed to buffalo everything for 3 days.

The obsession started, once again, with the lack of decent places to eat over here. I’m sure some of you think I am being bratty or exaggerating, but to give you an idea of what we are dealing with, we tried a new Mexican place a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t stomach the chips and salsa, let alone the food we ordered. They served us something I thought was queso dip but turned out to be spoiled mayonnaise with specks of color (ranch seasoning?!!!) and I DIDN’T EVEN DRINK MY MARGARITA!!!! It was all sour mix. It’s bad when I can’t even eat cheese or drink a margarita at a Mexican restaurant you guys.

So anyways, we determined awhile back that Zaxby’s seems to be on the safe list. And at least I can order a salad (zalad. whatever.)


Whenever I order a buffalo chicken salad with grilled chicken instead of fried, which is every. single. time., I am met with a blank stare by whoever is manning the cash register.

Grilled Buffalo Chicken salad Recipe

Sometimes they have to call a supervisor which is like the restaurant equivalent of getting the little light flipped on you in line at the grocery store. You know what I’m talking about. When all the people behind you let out that collective sigh like as if you just whipped out 1768655 coupons.

And then sometimes they have to tell the kitchen through the window since grilled chicken is unheard of in a chicken joint. I’m sure that conversation goes something like, “Yeah. This Basic over here wants grilled chicken on that salad.

I’m good with the Basic status though, so my only option here was to just say ef it, and do it myself.

My salad’s better anyway.

Onion Tangles Recipe

Because it has two crucial things: pan grilled chicken and homemade onion tangles.

I first made these onion tangles for my Paunch Burger recipe. Piled high on a burger they are so ooooooooooooooooooooo oooo amazing. Sprinkled all over my salad with all their crunchy perfection they are even better.

Pan grilled chicken is not technically grilled chicken. But if you go to a diner and order grilled chicken this is normally what you get. I did not feel like standing on the back deck in the cold to light the grill. But you are welcome to if you are really hung up on the technicality.

I used almost a whole 12 ounce bottle of buffalo wing sauce with this recipe because I marinated the chicken in it AND then drizzled it over the top. It is so spicy good, you guys. I mean like I’d have it again today good.

Buffalo Chicken Salad Recipe

Get on the salad bus with me.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Big Bad Buffalo Chicken Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 large salads
  • For the Chicken:
  • 1 pound very thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 12 ounces buffalo wing sauce
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • For the Onion Tangles:
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • oil for frying
  • salt to taste
  • For the Salad:
  • 8 - 10 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup iceberg salad mix (with shredded carrots and radicchio)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
  • 4 ounces crumbly blue cheese
  • 4 ounces shredded sharp cheddar
  • creamy blue cheese or ranch dressing
  1. Place the uncooked chicken breast in about 5 or 6 ounces of the wing sauce, cover, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  2. Then soak the sliced onions in the buttermilk. Whisk together the flour, paprika, and black pepper and pour it into a shallow dish. Set aside.
  3. While everything marinates go ahead and assemble the salads. I like to build each salad in the individual plates, so divide the lettuce, tomatoes, and cheeses between 4 plates for serving.
  4. To make the Onion Tangles, heat the cooking oil over medium high heat (I use a small saucepan and fill it halfway up with Canola oil). Dredge the onions a few at a time through the flour mixture and then toss them in the hot oil. I make these in several small batches - they will only take a minute to cook. Set them on a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle salt on the cooked fried onions.
  5. To make the chicken, heat the 2 teaspoons of oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, swirling around the pan to coat. Take the chicken out of the marinade and discard the marinade. Add the chicken to the hot pan. Let it cook for about 4 minutes on the first side and then for about 3 minutes on the other. Check to make sure it's done all the way through.
  6. Let the chicken rest for a minute before slicing. You can also toss the cooked chicken in the wing sauce. (optional)
  7. Scatter the onion tangles over each salad. Place one sliced chicken breast on top of each. Drizzle with more buffalo wing sauce and ranch or blue cheese.

Rate this recipe:  


Saturday 20th of December 2014

I have never heard of an onion tangle before today but now I'm pretty sure I want them on everything!

Heather Tullos

Tuesday 23rd of December 2014

Onion tangles for life. Thanks Gina!

heather @french press

Friday 19th of December 2014

I think everything should be buffalo'd, and if I see any more fudge I'm going to be sick

Heather Tullos

Tuesday 23rd of December 2014

I'm with you! No more fudge <<<--- I can't believe I just said that. But I meant it.

Dorothy at Shockingly Delicious

Friday 19th of December 2014

That's a WOWSER of a salad!

Heather Tullos

Tuesday 23rd of December 2014

Thank you Dorothy!

Jen @ Yummy Healthy Easy

Friday 19th of December 2014

WOW! This salad looks crazy good! My husband would love me if I made this! Pinned!

Heather Tullos

Tuesday 23rd of December 2014

My other half was ALL OVER IT. Totally a husband-friendly salad! Thanks, Jen!


Thursday 18th of December 2014

Big, bad or not, this salad looks wonderful. I want some!

Heather Tullos

Tuesday 23rd of December 2014

Thank you, Teresa!!!