How to Make a Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Caeser Dressing
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This salad is a great dish for the summer or anytime you want something light and refreshing. The dressing contains both lemon juice and anchovies, which provide a depth of flavor that pairs perfectly with the chicken.
It’s important to use only fresh ingredients when making this recipe so we recommend buying an organic Caesar dressing from your local grocer if you can’t make it yourself. Freshly grated Parmesan cheese adds some extra texture and bite!
Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing
For best results, prepare the dressing the night before serving to allow the flavors a chance to fully develop. This recipe takes only about 20 minutes to whip up – a little longer if you include the time to cook the chicken breast and cool it.
*Always cook the chicken to temperature, not by time. Actual cooking time will vary depending on several factors, including the starting internal temperature, the thickness of the meat, and variations in individual oven temperatures. Check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer after 15 minutes and adjust the final cook time accordingly.
In a pinch you could always use meat from a rotisserie chicken – just pull it off and cut it up. It works fabulously and is a great time saver. There are a ton of things you can do with that chicken – down to boiling the carcass for bone broth!
The History of Caesar salad
Caesar salad was first created in an Italian restaurant called Tijuana, Mexico by an Italian immigrant who was actually named Caesar. His daughter Rosa recounted that her father invented the salad at his restaurant Caesar’s when a Fourth of July rush in 1924 depleted the kitchen’s supplies. Cardini made do with what he had, adding the dramatic flair of the table-side tossing “by the chef.
The original Caesar salad was made without anchovies. When the Cardini family moved to Los Angeles in 1924, they added them to preserve the protein and help keep it from spoiling on long train rides across America at that time.
Why does this recipe use anchovies (anchovy paste)?
The anchovy paste is a key ingredient in the Caesar salad dressing. It provides the rich, salty flavor that makes this dish stand out from other salads traditionally served with lettuce and croutons.
Dos & don’ts of making a Chicken Caesar salad with homemade Caesar dressing
Do: use only fresh ingredients Such as freshly grated Parmesan cheese which will add more texture and bite!
Don’t: Leave out any of these key ingredients because this is what makes the dish so delicious!
Do: buy a whole head of Romaine lettuce or A mix of both baby romaine lettuce and baby kale
Don’t: use any raw chicken that has been sitting in the fridge for more than a few days
Do: rinse and pat dry your lettuce before using it. This will make the salad crisper and not soggy!
Don’t: dress up too early because you may end up with wilted greens due to exposure to oxygen, which can destroy some of their nutritional value!
Do: toast your bread (or buy pre-toasted croutons) so they are slightly crunchy
Don’t forget about making this delicious dish yourself or as part of an appetizer spread at one of these upcoming gatherings where guests come hungry!
Don’t: use a store-bought Caesar dressing or you’re just going to be disappointed.
Do: serve this dish with breadsticks and croutons if desired.
How to make Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing
Caesar Salad Dressing Ingredients:
- ½ c. sugar-free mayonnaise
- ½ c. Greek yogurt
- ½ T. fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 t. Dijon mustard
- 1½ t. anchovy paste
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste**
- ¼ c. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- ¼ c. light olive oil
*Taste before adding additional salt because the anchovy paste is naturally briny.
Chicken Caesar Salad Ingredients:
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 2 t. Italian seasoning
- ½ t. garlic powder
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 large head Romain lettuce, cleaned, chopped, and dried completely
- ½ c. shaved Parmesan cheese + more for serving
Chicken Caesar Salad Directions:
- Prepare the dressing by combining the mayonnaise, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, and anchovy paste in a medium-sized bowl. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and whisk to combine.
- Add grated Parmesan cheese to the dressing and stir to combine. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the dressing and whisk until thoroughly incorporated into the mixture. Taste and season with additional salt and black pepper, if needed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Place top oven rack in the center position and pre-heat to 400°F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat™ baking sheet.
- Arrange the chicken breasts on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with the Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Note: An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken should read just over 160°F when it is ready. The temperature will continue to rise several degrees while the chicken rests.
- Remove chicken from the oven and cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing.
- To serve, assemble the salad by adding the chopped Romaine lettuce to a large mixing bowl. Add the shaved Parmesan and drizzle with 1/3 cup dressing. Gently toss to combine.
- Divide salad between chilled salad plates and top with the sliced chicken breast. Serve immediately with the remaining salad dressing and additional shaved Parmesan on the side. Enjoy!