Copycat Cheesecake Factory Barbecue Ranch Salad


Monday morning inspirational quote:


That Dr. Seuss was quite wise.

If you follow me on instagram, you saw that I steered myself in the direction of Whole Foods on Friday.

I really just needed a few key items:


The Bell & Evans Chicken Nuggets were on sale, I was out of steel-cut oatmeal (remember, the bulk bins at Whole Foods are super cheap!) and I also wanted to try the new Brown Cow greek yogurt.

Of course I used this little shopping trip as an excuse for lunch at the food bar.


How I limit myself to just one brown box is quite a feat, especially when the food bar is stocked with everything I love.


This little section right here, loaded with roasted vegetables, is just my favorite. On the left, which is a bit hard to see, happened to be roasted pears. I prefer apples over pears but these looked delicious.

Since I am super careful with what I load into my box, I didn’t take a roasted pear because I felt it would weigh down the box and jack up the price more than some extra butternut squash would. And I always said I would never need the math and science skills they taught us in school? Boy was I wrong.


I also opted out of the sweet potato quinoa cakes for the same reason but geez, they never have these in the food bar! I really should make them at home.

I did make something else though at home which came together rather quickly yesterday afternoon in between working the Nutrition table at the Unity Fair for my son’s school and taking him to the Islanders game.


Perhaps handing out flyers and pamphlets preaching fruits and vegetables and the importance of nutrient-dense foods put me in the mood for a big salad for lunch or maybe it was the six miles I ran in the morning that triggered an appetite for a massive bowl of food – whatever the reason, a large, tasty (and filling!) bowl of something was in order.


Do you recognize my lunch? OK, it doesn’t look quite as glamorous as The Cheesecake Factory but it is basically the same Barbeque Ranch Salad with a few modifications.

Ingredients (no real measurements required; add as much or as little as you want):

  • Serious amount of chopped romaine lettuce
  • Chopped tomato (I used one big plum tomato)
  • Organic Black Beans
  • Corn (I used Trader Joe’s frozen organic sweet corn)
  • Onion Rings (Trader Joe’s frozen)
  • Avocado
  • Thin sliced and diced cucumber – I was out of cucumber but you can always add it if you have it.

*If you aren’t a vegetarian, diced up grilled chicken (flavored with barbeque sauce would be terrific) would work well in this mix.

Place onion rings in a 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes (even less if you are impatient like me and switch the oven to broil to speed it up). Place corn in a microwavable dish for about 30 seconds to defrost.

Chop lettuce, tomato and cucumber into a bowl. Dump in your black beans and corn. Dice up the avocado and add to the bowl. Top with onion rings.


I cut up the onion rings, mixed everything around and tasted it – no need for dressing.

The flavors of the sweet corn combined with the black beans, buttery avocado, tomato and crispy crunchy onion rings left no reason for anything to be added.

You can always add your dressing of choice (or barbeque sauce which is normally my go-to flavor favorite for this bowl) but promise me you will taste it prior to drowning out the actual taste of the food.


I would rather an extra onion ring or more slices of avocado for additional flavor than find the flavor from a salad dressing but that’s just me.

This salad was extremely satisfying and kept me full straight through the hockey game which was great for my wallet.


We were treated to in-seat food service yesterday afternoon but there was no way that I was going to pay the insane prices they try to pull over on you. I am smarter than that. I save crazy pricing for my trips to Whole Foods.

So. Another Monday. Another round of snow. Luckily the meteorologists were a bit off and we aren’t experiencing the amount originally forecasted.

I was able to run outside all weekend so I don’t even care that the ground is covered today. As long as school is opened, that’s all that matters this morning.


Were you able to run outdoors this weekend?

Favorite Whole Foods Food Bar item?

Name two condiments in your refrigerator at the momentCarolina Gold Barbeque Sauce and Peach Salsa







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    • says

      Haha, love onion rings in my salad. I guess the concept started from The Cheesecake Factory but now, no matter the restaurant, if I order a salad I always try to get the table to order onion ring so I can crumbled them on in! I need to start making tofu at home btw. I never do and really should.

  1. says

    Girl, I was barely even able to set food outside this weekend, never mind going for a run. It was so cold that my eyeballs were watering after a few seconds and my eyelids threatened to freeze together whenever I blinked. Thank goodness I’ll be leaving it all behind in a few hours.

    And on that note… basically the only things in my fridge are condiments 😆 I tried to empty it before I left, but I’m pretty sure I still have some ketchup and mustard in there…

  2. says

    Aw, haha, I love that you recreated your favorite cheescake factory salad! That’s the best! You’re making me want one! Onion rings are the BEST! And I’d rather have that on top of my salad than dressing any day! 🙂
    YUM Whole Foods hot bar is my weakness. I used to treat myself every payday to the hot bar for lunch and ignore the price.. Yeah, I don’t do that anymore and it only last about 3 pay period haha. Happy Monday!