Homemade chicken caesar salad is a delicious, light dinner that is perfect for those dog days of summer. Crisp and crunchy romaine topped with juicy, flavorful chicken, freshly made croutons, and a creamy, homemade caesar dressing takes this salad recipe to the next level.
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I always feel so virtuous and healthy when I dig into a big salad for dinner – even if I top it with a creamy dressing.
Caesar salads were something that I would order at a restaurant but never made at home. I’m not sure why I waited so long, but it was worth figuring it out.
This homemade chicken caesar salad will change the way you think about salads. Make the dressing and croutons the day before. Marinate the chicken overnight. Then, all you have to do for dinner is grill the chicken and assemble the salad. It makes for a really easy weeknight dinner.
TIPS FOR MAKING A HOMEMADE CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD
- Pick romaine lettuce heads that are firm and heavy in weight with tightly closed leaves.
- Tear the romaine with your hands or use a plastic lettuce knife to chop the leaves so that they keep their green color and don’t brown.
- For more tender chicken and quicker grilling time, slice your chicken breasts in half horizontally.
- The anchovies add a salty flavor, but no fishy taste. If you can’t find or prefer not to use them, add an additional ¼ – ½ teaspoon of salt to the dressing.
- For the best flavor, buy a wedge of parmesan cheese and grate it yourself. You can also buy shredded or grated parmesan cheese in small bags. Don’t buy the fake stuff in the shaker bottle.
A decadent chicken caesar salad recipe with homemade croutons and dressing that is so easy and delicious, you may not want to order it out again.
For the dressing:
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (or 3 anchovy fillets packed in oil)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For the croutons:
- 1 small loaf (about 12-ounces) day old sourdough bread, cut into ¾”-cubes
- ¼ cup melted butter
- 2 teaspoons garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
For the grilled chicken:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast, about 2 pounds
- ½ cup caesar dressing, divided
For the salad:
- 8 cups torn romaine lettuce hearts
- 1 cup caesar dressing
- 1 cup homemade croutons
- 4 grilled chicken breasts, sliced
- ½ cup shaved parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Make the dressing: Place all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until well mixed and emulsified. Scrape into a container with a tight fitting lid and store in the refrigerator until needed.
- Next, make the croutons. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat and set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the cubed bread. Drizzle butter over the cubes and then sprinkle the garlic salt and Italian seasoning over them. Toss to coat the bread cubes and then pour them onto the prepared baking sheet. Shake the pan so the cubes are in a single layer on the pan.
- Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes, turning with a spatula every 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven and set aside to cool. Store in a ziplock bag for up to 3 days.
- Let’s grill the chicken. If the chicken breasts are thick, slice them in half horizontally. Add the chicken to a ziplock bag.
- Pour ¼ cup of the caesar dressing over the chicken and massage into the chicken breasts and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the ziplock bag and place on the hot grill.
- Cook the chicken, turning and basting with the remaining ¼ cup of caesar dressing, until no longer pink, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from grill and allow to rest while preparing the salad.
- For the salad, in a large bowl, add the romaine lettuce. Pour 1 cup of dressing over the lettuce. Add the croutons. Toss all to coat with the dressing.
- Divide the salad among 4 large dinner plates.
- Slice the chicken and add the slices to the plates.
- Sprinkle each plate with the shaved parmesan, a bit of salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately and enjoy.
- Prep Time: 3 hours 35 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Serving Size: Serves 4