Cheddar Bacon Chicken Salad Bowls

This post is sponsored by Moon Cheese. All opinions are my own.

How many of us have made a salad, topped it with plain, grilled chicken for protein, and thought… “this is going to be delicious!” Never. Life is too short to go to the plain route day after day.

That’s why today’s cheddar bacon chicken salad is for those of us that want to live anything but a plain life. And, because you know I’m super practical with all things delicious, I’m going to share how you can easily meal prep this beauty.

image: shallow dish of salad with chicken, avocado, tomatoes and onion. Smaller bowl of homemade ranch dressing to side.

This salad is made with crispy, baked chicken, tomatoes, avocado, and drizzled with a homemade ranch dressing.

Let’s go back to the crispy, baked chicken for a minute. There is such a thing! And to give this chicken the ultimate crunch and cheddar-bacon taste, I used Cheddar Me Bacon Moon Cheese in the breading. 

Moon Cheese snacks are my usual go-to when I need something salty and crunchy. They’re also high in protein and contain 2 grams of net carbs which makes them the ideal snack for busy moms. We’re always on the go and having something you can grab that tastes good AND offers quality nutrients- I dig it!

image: purple bag of moon cheese snacks spilling out onto white counter

Instead of eating them by the handful -not that there’s anything wrong with that- I decided to use the crunchy cheesy bites as a bread crumb mixture to coat the chicken tenders. The results? Well, see for yourself…

image: three salads topped with chicken in square meal prep dishes. One purple bag of moon cheese snacks next to the three salads

What You’ll Need to Make Crunchy Baked Chicken

The golden, baked chicken is the best part about this salad! It’s a lighter but no less delicious alternative to the usual breaded and fried chicken we get from drive-thru. 

The Moon Cheese pieces are easy to crush and they resemble Panko breadcrumbs making a low-carb and delicious alternative to regular breadcrumbs. To make these chicken tenders you’ll need: 

  • Boneless skinless chicken tenders
  • All-purpose white flour
  • Salt n pepper
  • Egg
  • Garlic
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Cheddar Me Bacon Moon Cheese
image: three square glass meal prep dishes filled with lettuce, tomatoes, avocados and onion slices.

The salad base includes Romaine lettuce, tomato, avocado, and homemade Ranch dressing. It’s simple but perfect with the crispy, baked chicken. 

With flavors like “Garlickin’ Parmesan,” “Cheddar Bacon Me Crazy,” “Get Pepper Jacked,” “Cheddar Believe It” and “Oh My Gouda” you’ll never tire of baked chicken!

Made with 100% real cheese, Moon Cheese is exactly the kind of snack I like to eat on its own or use in recipes like this one.

image: shallow bowl of salad topped with sliced chicken strips, avocado cubes, halved cherry tomatoes and homemade ranch dressing.

How to Bread the Chicken for Salad

No matter if you are serving it with oven-fries or over a salad, breaded chicken should always be golden crispy on the outside and fully cooked on the inside. 

To make this recipe happen start with: 

1. Gathering the ingredients
Grab the chicken, Cheddar Me Bacon Moon Cheese, white flour, 1 egg, garlic, Panko breadcrumbs, salt & black pepper. 

2. Make Moon Cheese Crumbs
Grab your blender or food processor, add the entire bag of Moon Cheese and pulse until coarse crumbs begin to form. Magic.

image: in-process shot making chicken breading in a food processor from moon cheese cheddar bacon me crazy flavor

3. Set out 3 bowls
Medium, shallow bowls work best. 

4. Get the Base Ready
Combine the flour, pepper, and salt, stir to combine. 

5. Prepare the Egg Wash
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and minced garlic.

6. Breadcrumb Mixture
In the third bowl, combine the Panko breadcrumbs and Moon Cheese crumbs. 

image: in-process photo of homemade chicken tender breading.

7. Dredge, dip, and coat
Place the tenders in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, then bury it in the Moon Cheese mixture, making sure to shake off any excess. Place each tender onto the prepared baking sheet.

8. Bake!
Bake the chicken for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F.

Image: freshly breaded homemade chicken tenders on a baking sheet ready for the oven

9. Rest
After removing the baking sheet from the oven, allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. 

image: Flat lay photo of ingredients for healthy salad with chicken. Includes, chicken tenders freshly breaded with bag of moon cheese snacks, dish of homemade ranch, sliced avocados, tomatoes, onion and lettuce.

Make a base layer with the Romaine lettuce, top with sliced chicken, tomatoes, avocado, and a drizzle of Ranch dressing. You can use store-bought but this recipe deserves the homemade version, which if you don’t know how to make, I’m sharing my recipe below. 

The Homemade Ranch

Creamy, savory and perfect for all sorts of healthy lunches and snacks. I love having a jar of it on hand for things like wraps, fresh-cut veggies, and of course, salads. 

image: small white dish of homemade ranch dressing, with small white spoon.

To make this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 easpoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Simple ingredient list, right?! To make the magic happen: 

  • Grab a jar with a lid
  • Add the ingredients to the jar in the order listed
  • Top with lid and seal
  • Shake until combined and smooth!

Now you have homemade ranch dressing, and after your first taste on this chicken salad, you won’t want to go back to the store-bought version.  

Chicken Salad Meal Prep 

To turn this into meal prep, grab your favorite lunch containers and fill it with lettuce, top with the baked chicken, tomatoes, and avocado.

image: three salads topped with chicken in square meal prep dishes.

If you need a good lunch container, these glass containers are perfect! I like to use them for salads and burrito bowls, and the lock-lids prevent any spilling. To keep the salad fresh, don’t add the dressing until you’re ready to eat.

image: purple bag of cheddar moon cheese snacks next to square glass salad dish with meal prepped salad

This baked chicken isn’t just for salads, it’s a perfect dinner entrée with your family’s favorite sides and you can use the extras to prep this recipe for the office. The Cheddar Bacon Me Crazy Moon Cheese makes the best and most delicious crispy coating giving plain chicken a delicious cheddar-bacon flavor everyone loves.

You’ll find Moon Cheese available at select Whole Foods, Starbucks, Target, Wegman’s and more. They’re also available on Amazon and at https://mooncheese.com. A complete list of locations to find Moon Cheese can be found here.

Cheddar Bacon Chicken Salad Bowls

Bacon Me Crazy Chicken Salad

Check out this delicious salad meal prep made with crispy, baked cheddar bacon chicken, tomatoes, avocado, and homemade ranch dressing!

  • Author: Laura Fuentes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 salads 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: Dinner/Lunch
Scale

Ingredients

For the Tenders:

  • 1 and 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken tenders
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup Panko
  • 2/3 cup crushed or processed Cheddar Me Bacon Moon Cheese

For the Salad

  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 avocado, pitted and diced
  • 1 small red onion, sliced or diced

Ranch dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Trim the fat from the tenders.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Set out three medium bowls.
  4. In the first bowl combine the white flour, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine.
  5. In the second bowl combine the whisked egg and minced garlic, stir.
  6. In the third bowl combine the Panko breadcrumbs and crushed Cheddar Me Bacon Moon Cheese. Stir to combine.
  7. Place the tenders in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, then the Moon Cheese mixture making sure to evenly and thoroughly coat each piece.
  8. Place the tenders on the sheet pan leaving enough room between each tender to ensure even cooking.
  9. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes before flipping the tenders and cooking for another 7 to 10 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes while you assemble the salad.
  11. Add chopped lettuce to a bowl or meal prep container, top with grape tomatoes, avocado, red onion, and sliced chicken. If serving immediately, drizzle with Ranch dressing and serve.
  12. If packing for lunch, divide the Ranch dressing between mini sauce containers and pack with the salads.

For the Dressing: 

In a lidded jar, combine the mayonnaise, milk, parsley, dill, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Cover with lid, seal, and shake to combine. Refrigerate for up to 1 week. 

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 salad
  • Calories: 522
  • Sugar: 6.3g
  • Sodium: 993.3mg
  • Fat: 25.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.6g
  • Carbohydrates: 32.2g
  • Fiber: 6.6g
  • Protein: 41.3g
  • Cholesterol: 204.7mg
February 24, 2020

5 thoughts on “Cheddar Bacon Chicken Salad Bowls”

  1. Sandra says:

    I picked up some of the regular cheddar Moon Cheese at Starbucks yesterday to make this salad with chicken. It came out amazing. The baked chicken crust is perfectly crispy and has a full cheddar taste. I love it!

  2. Karen Ritchie says:

    what are the actual measurements for the RANCH DRESSING? You mention the ingredients, but you don’t say how much of each ingredient to add to the mason jar to shake up. 😉

    1. Laura Fuentes says:

      Karen, I just added the homemade ranch ingredient measurements in a recipe card you can print in the post. Enjoy!

  3. Jason says:

    I tried this recipe yesterday and it was great! the chicken was crispy and everyone loved it. Thank you.

  4. Matt says:

    I made this recipe yesterday after my amazon order for these delicious cheesy bites arrived. I’m thrilled to report the chicken was crispy and juicy and my salad with chicken was Epic. Thanks!

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