Cheater's Power Salad Recipe - Pinch of Yum
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Cheater’s Power Salad

17 reviews / 4.9 average

And then comes the part where I post a salad recipe using a bagged salad mix. Modern times have given us modern salad mixes, and I could not be more happy about it.

Friends, meet my Cheater’s Power Salad.

First, let me give you the perks of dis lil power salad.

  • Kale.
  • Cilantro.
  • Green onion.
  • Cabbage.
  • Shredded chicken (or your choice of protein).
  • Black beans.
  • Avocado.
  • Tortilla strips and crispy onions.
  • BBQ ranch dressing.

UM, YAH. Are you all over this or what? Because I AM ALL OVER THIS.

I’ve been having this salad for lunch, like, all of the days of the week. I tell everyone about it. I love talking to people about what they eat in real life, and spoiler: 99% of the time, what people tell me they eat in real life is so simple – grilled chicken, pastas, five ingredient recipes, crockpot soups, tacos and burritos and fried eggs and roasted veggies – that it always brings me back down from the world of glamourous-nutso-instagrammers who are trying to tell us that cordyceps are (or is? is it plural?) normal, and doesn’t everyone have that in their pantry? fridge? what do you even keep cordyceps in? don’t even get me started on ashwagandha.

You know I am passionate about good food, but I am BIG TIME PASSIONATE about good food that people (including myself) will actually make and eat.

So hi, Cheater’s Power Salad! Hello. Get right up in there.

Cheater's Power Salad in a bowl with a fork.

Okay. Now that we’ve established the deliciousness of this crunchy, nutritious, totally versatile power salad, let me give you the other perks.

  • Affordable.
  • Easy to shop for.
  • Easy to make throughout the week.
  • Zero prep time. Or maybe, like, five minutes. YOU CAN DO THIS.
  • No leftover salad ingredients hanging out in your fridge for six months afterwards. I’m looking at you, half-used head of red cabbage.

THANK YOU SALAD MIX. What is my life.

Dole Chopped Salad Kit.

But salad mix has a few buddies that are very necessary for taking this salad to the blog-worthy level.

Just let a simple can of black beans, and a fresh, buttery avocado do their thing, okay? It’s not a huge party. We don’t have to get complicated here.

Black Beans for Power Salad.
Avocado for Power Salad.

And like that, a star is born.

A kale, cabbage, cilantro, green onion, black bean, avocado, chicken if you want (or maybe some quinoa), tortilla strip, crispy onion, BBQ ranch, full-blown STAR. God bless the simple power lunches of this world.

Cheater's Power Salad in a bowl with a fork and a napkin.
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Cheater's Power Salad in bowl with hands.

Cheater’s Power Salad

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 1x


Cheater’s Power Salad – kale, cabbage, avocado, green onion, cilantro, black beans, crispy onions, tortilla strips, chicken, and BBQ ranch dressing, made from a salad mix! I KNOW. perfect for easy lunches!


  • 1 bag southwestern salad mixDole Chopped BBQ Ranch Salad Kit is THE BEST. Hands down.
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • shredded chicken, quinoa, or other protein of choice


  1. Cook the chicken (or other protein). I like shredded chicken, so I usually opt for cooking one pound of chicken breasts in the Instant Pot (15 minutes) or slow cooker (3-4 hours) with a jar of salsa or some taco seasoning.
  2. Toss your salad ingredients together. YUM YUM YUM.


The salad mix I use has lots of cabbage, carrots, kale, cilantro, green onions, as well as crispy onions, tortilla strips, and BBQ Ranch dressing. A good salad mix (like this one) is very important for making this cheater’s salad worth your while. This is not an iceberg lettuce situation. It is fresh, nutritious veggies pre-chopped with some yummy extras to boot. Well done, Dole.

Chicken can be hot or cold – I’ve enjoyed it both ways in this salad! You can easily sub a different protein if you’re not into chicken. Nuts, sofritas tofu, or even just some cooked quinoa would be equally as delicious.

I don’t recommend making this all at once for one person – I just cook all of the chicken, keep it in the fridge, and then assemble salads throughout the week as I’m ready to eat them.

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Category: Lunch
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: bagged salad recipe, bbq ranch salad, easy salad recipe

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    oh my gosh. ashwagandha. I admit insta got me on that one…until I saw the price 0_0
    These Dole Salad mixes though?! giiirl I have literally tried them all and am impressed with EVERY.SINGLE.ONE. that poppyseed dressing is my favorite tho… <3

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    You’ve exposed my dinner party secret! Usually I own up to the prepackaged foods (ain’t no shame in that game) but one time I might have forgotten to mention that bagged salads came to the rescue when another dish failed me. If you add the little extras who the heck could guess?!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Bagged salads and I are having a moment right now, and this is one of my favs. The Asian style (ginger sesame?) is probably my favorite with some marinated tofu and/or edamame added.

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I recreated my own version of this tonight! Really nice to have an easy dinner, we just got a puppy and it’s been tiring! I used a salad mix, added the extras, and to be even lazier bbq rotisserie chicken and it was excellent. Thanks for making every day recipes that fit real life!

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Haha omg the part about the cordycyps and ashwaghanda-seriously tho😂 Love this salad mix, the BBQ ranch dressing is 👌🏼😍!

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I use ashwaghanda daily because it helps my chronic insomnia. I literally didnt sleep for more than 2-3 hours a night for almost 4 months until I started using it. There are reasons people need those kinds of things sometimes.

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    this looks simple and delicious. I’m addicted to trader joes cilantro dressing and I think it would be a great substitution on this.

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This was perfect for a week night meal! Added some grilled corn and used rotisserie chicken and it was delicious! Thank you for all the great recipes 🙂

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Mary Mork

    Yes! This is definitely up my alley. Actually…I cheat a lot! Thanks, Lindsay!

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I saw this post a little before I went to the store yesterday and grabbed a bag on a whim because it was in my head (my store doesn’t have Dole salads, it was another brand). Made it today for lunch… added a couple Applegate frozen chicken strips (my go-to for quick protein additions to salads!) and some sharp cheddar. I am IN LOVE. Why have I never thought to buy the bbq ranch version before?! It totally hit the spot!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    The Dole poppyseed salad is amazing with feta, avocado, extra craisins and chicken added in!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Sounds delicious! How much chicken did you use when calculating the nutritional information?

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Yes! I seriously love these salads. My husband teases me because it’s my go-to side when I’m making dinner for friends or the family. They’re honestly so good. I love the sunflower crunch (I think that’s what it’s called) and the bacon and blue!