Chicken Caesar Salads are perfect for packing for lunch or enjoying as a light dinner, especially when topped with this creamy, homemade Caesar dressing.
The other day a group of us were out to lunch. The kids were all ordering what they wanted as the moms fitzed and fudged, trying to pry their angels from their culinary comfort zones with more interesting suggestions in lieu of the standard kiddo fare of chicken nuggets, hot dogs and grilled cheese.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I mean, I’m a kid at heart too.
And then there’s my daughter. “I’d like a Caesar salad with chicken, please.” I almost had to pick up one mom’s jaw from the floor who could not believe my Smudge not only would eat something so avant garde, (really?) but to order it for herself without her mama coaxing her, too?
I love to freak the moms out that way. And apparently, so does my daughter.
I have to admit, I was sort of surprised she ordered it too. And pleasantly so.
Since then we’ve been making Caesar salads at home a lot this summer. And since school is about to start soon (WAY.TOO.SOON!) and because Caesar salads are one of the best packable salads around, I don’t see this trend ending any time soon.
This salad is easy to make because so much of it can be prepped ahead of time. Or, you can always make it on the fly. But for most of us, having everything on hand makes cooking so much simpler, don’t you say?
My thing lately has been cooking a whole chicken or chicken breasts on Sunday or Monday to eat throughout the week. I’ve grilled it (this is my secret to making it THE BEST), put it on the rotisserie (yes! you can rotisserie at home) and popped it in the crock pot to stew, (seriously, this recipe is so SO easy) then shred the meat to be used for just about anything.
My latest chicken cooking foray has been with my Instant Pot, where it takes just 8 minutes, yes, I said 8 MINUTES, to cook an incredible tasting bounty of chicken breast for whatever your heart desires. I can’t wait to share my technique with you here on the blog soon. So if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you need one NOW.
About the Recipe
I always judge a Caesar salad by it’s dressing and homemade dressing is what makes this simple salad shine. This recipe is from my mom and dad’s friend Jack, with a few adaptations. Unless you’re allergic but are afraid of using anchovies, well then, that’s just plain silly. They give the salad an incredibly, mellow salty umami flavoring you won’t get any other way, and they do not leave the dressing tasting like fish. I’m just saying, give them a try. It’s worth it. If you absolutely cannot fathom the idea of anchovies, double the amount of Worcestershire sauce instead.
The dressing is made with a coddled egg. What’s that you ask? It’s simply an egg that’s been immersed in boiling water just long enough to very gently cook it. Always use the freshest eggs you can find for this dressing or choose pasteurized eggs.
I make the dressing ahead and keep it in the refrigerator for weeks. Or until it’s all gone. And obviously at our house, it’s usually the latter.
Crunchy veggies make up the bulk of this super tasty, bright and fresh but totally hearty salad. Choose a sturdy romaine lettuce as your main crunch. I prefer to buy romaine hearts. Then I don’t mess around with limp outer leaves and instead get to the “heart” of the matter. Yes, I just did do that bad pun.
To that, we always add cucumbers, because, well, we love cucumbers. Sometimes tomatoes, but only if they’re roasted into super sweet little jewels like I did in this Kale Caesar Pasta Salad.
Then it’s time to let the spunk of the Parmesan cheese and the crunch of the croutons take over. Sometimes I’ll make my own croutons, but hey, don’t beat yourself up if you pour them straight out of the box.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
- 2 large eggs, coddled (directions below)
- 1 clove garlic, pressed
- 4 anchovy filets in oil, roughly chopped
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 10 cups romaine lettuce, chopped into ½ inch pieces (about 2 heads of romaine)
- 4 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast
- 1 cucumber, sliced into coins
- 1 cup croutons
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Prepare the coddled eggs by placing the cold eggs in warm water. Heat enough water in a pan to boiling to cover eggs completely. Immerse the eggs in the boiling with a slotted spoon then remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 30 seconds then plunge into cold water to prevent further cooking.
- Crack the eggs open and divide the eggs from the whites. Place the eggs in a blender, and save the whites for another use. Add the pressed garlic, anchovy filets, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, salt and pepper to the blender. Blend on high until combined. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the blender until the dressing is emulsified. Pour into a small jar and set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
- In a large bowl, add the romaine lettuce, chicken breast and cucumber. Add about ⅔ of the dressing and toss to coat. Add the croutons and Parmesan cheese, toss lightly and season with more salt and pepper to taste.
All Hail Caesar (with more recipe ideas!)
The classic garlic and cheesy creamy dressing has inspired more than one iteration of classic eats. Here are a few more that will put your Caesar lovers to the eating competition test.
Mason Jar Sriracha Shrimp Caesar Salad
I still haven’t decided if I’m on the mason jar salad train yet or not, but this one would be delicious either way.
Get the recipe | Running to the Kitchen
Caesar Salad Hot Dogs
I don’t know if there’s anything you CAN’T do with hot dogs!
Get the recipe | What’s Gaby Cooking
Crispy Cauliflower Caesar Wraps
All the veggies with all the crunch.
Get the recipe | Beard + Bonnet
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