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Chicken Bacon Ranch Kale Salad

This easy Chicken Bacon Ranch Kale Salad marries together the need to eat vegetables and the very American urge to put ranch dressing on everything.

An overhead view of a salad in an oval casserole dish with leaves of dinosaur kale and whole cherry tomatoes peeking in from the background.  Cucumbers, Roquefordt cheese, cherry tomatoes,  hard boiled eggs, sliced onions, shredded chicken, and crumbled bacon are all laid out in rows over a bed of kale and then drizzled with ranch dressing.

Back in the olden days, when we could still travel, I wandered all over the country for work with a handful of people from Minnesota. 

GAH I miss travel. ***shakes fist at the 2020 universe*** Anyway, whenever we are together, we inevitably land at a restaurant somewhere, and my Minnesota friends always always always need a side of ranch. 

Pizza, chicken fingers, fries — actually make that ANYTHING FRIED AND ANY POTATOES — chicken, burgers, sandwiches … all are fair game for ranch dressing. It is required dining fare. 

Apparently this is a thing closely associated with Midwest culture, just like being overly nice, or the way my uncle says ‘pop’, but I’d say putting ranch on any and all foods, TO ME, is a thing that screams “THE SOUTH!,” because I am 100% certain there is a sushi place here that has a roll WITH RANCH.  Or maybe all the ranch dressing just screams, “”MURICA!”

South or Midwest or just trashed up American – I can’t be sure. But whatever it is, ranch is good. The point to all this ranch talk is that I PUT IT ON KALE. 

Landscape view of a Kale Salad with Ranch dressing

What’s in Kale Salad with Ranch 

I bought an insane amount of dinosaur kale at my local farmer’s market and had to turn it into a useful meal.

See, we have been building a privacy fence for like THE WHOLE SUMMER (I am yelling a lot in this post, y’all. Ranch does something to me.), and lordt it is hot outside. I am so over summer. But anyway we have been eating lots of salads- Southwestern Chicken Salad, Big Bad Buffalo Chicken Salad, etc… – so when I was shopping I just bought all the kale. And now here we are.

Kale and ranch are the stars of this meal, and the rest of what you need lands this salad firmly in the camp of ‘murica food. 
Here’s what else you’ll need —

  • bacon! You had to see that coming. 
  • hard boiled eggs
  • cucumbers
  • cherry tomatoes
  • red onions
  • cheese Roquefort ORRR just cheddar is good)
  • chicken

This is where I should probably let you in on two things: 

  1. I am lazy and used a chilled rotisserie chicken
  2. I did not make the ranch dressing. If you want to make your own, I can recommend this recipe for Homemade Ranch Dressing from my friend. It comes with Midwest credentials. 

Should you blanch kale for salad? 

Errmmmm … that’s a no for me, ghost rider. 

But also I don’t mind raw kale? I am guessing you also do not mind raw kale, or you’d likely be off reading about Quick Pizza Dough or Cookies

That said, you CAN blanch the kale if you are having kale feelings. 

How to Blanch Kale for Salad

  1. Rinse the kale.
  2. Remove the stems and chop the remaining leaves. 
  3. Place the leaves in a steamer basket on the stove and steam for 2 to 3 minutes. You want it to be BARELY wilted, but still crunchy.
  4. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer to an ice bath until cold.
  5. Strain, pat dry, and now your kale is ready to use.

Again, I will reiterate that I took the lazy approach and did not blanch anything. The only things I cooked were eggs and bacon.

A zoomed in view of shredded rotisserie chicken, sliced red onions, sliced hard boiled eggs, chopped cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, and crumbly Roquefort cheese. Everything is drizzled with ranch dressing.

How Long Will This Salad Keep?

The age old question.

It’s not a hard and fast answer. It will depend on a few important things. If the salad is dressed, it will not keep. It will be soggy and sad tomorrow. This is the primary reason I didn’t just massage the kale with the dressing like I did with this Copycat Panera Power Kale Caesar Salad

Other things that can really affect what is happening with your vegetables in the fridge are whether or not your cucumbers have seeds (I recommend removing them), and whether or not you’ve sliced your cherry tomatoes.

If you don’t slice your tomatoes, don’t dress the salad, and seed the cucumbers, you can TOTALLY prep this salad 2 days in advance. Maybe 3.

A close up of thinly chopped kale salad drizzled with ranch dressing. There are sliced hard boiled eggs, thinly sliced red onions, chopped cherry tomatoes, bacon, and cucumbers in view.

Cheese, Please

I decided to devote a whole section to cheese because it is a thing people have strong feelings about.

I used Roquefort cheese in my Chicken Bacon Ranch Salad because I was channeling a Cobb Salad (note: if you have a good, ripe avocado, ADD IT), but! I know not everyone prefers that strong VERY BLUE (more yelling) flavor. So. You can use a milder crumbly blue cheese here, or …

Cheddar. You honestly really can’t go wrong with cheddar. Mild, medium, sharp , shredded or cut into small cubes – if you are not into adventurous cheese, I got you.

Want More Recipes with Kale?

Kale recipes for days right here.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Kale Salad
Yield: serves 6

Chicken Bacon Ranch Kale Salad

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Get your Chicken Bacon Ranch on with a nice does of kale in this Chicken Bacon Ranch Kale Salad. Nothing says America like putting ranch dressing on everything.

Ingredients

  • 4 slices thick cut bacon
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 ounces dinosaur kale leaves
  • 1/2 large cucumber
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 small onion (red, yellow, or Vidalia)
  • 4 ounces Roquefort cheese (or cheddar)
  • 12 ounces shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 12 tablespoons prepared ranch dressing

Instructions

  1. Cook the bacon until crisp and drain on paper towels. Hard boil the eggs and set aside to cool before peeling.
  2. Prep the kale by washing it and patting it dry. Stack 2-3 leaves on top of each other, and cut the leaves away from the stems on one side. Then flip them around to cut the leaves away from the other side. Once the stem is removed, chop the kale in thin strips, toss in a salad bowl, and repeat with the remaining kale.
  3. Seed the cucumber and cube. Quarter the cherry tomatoes. If you are prepping this salad ahead, skip slicing the tomatoes. Slice the onion VERY thinly.
  4. Assemble the salad - kale on the bottom, and everything else layered on top. Peel and slice the hard boiled eggs before adding them.
  5. Drizzle the whole salad with ranch before serving, or if you are making this ahead, save the dressing and serve on the side.

Notes

If you wanna save even more time, you can buy prepared hard boiled eggs and pre-cooked bacon, or you can cook it ahead.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 409Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 211mgSodium: 1002mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 28g

Did you make this recipe?

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Nicole

Monday 10th of August 2020

I would even eat kale to get some of this salad in my face. ;) It looks amazing!