Even though there is a chill in the air and fall is jussssst around the corner, I still love eating a big salad for dinner. Over the course of two weeks, I think I ate chicken Caesar salads 5 times. It started when we were out for dinner with Joey's family, and nothing really appealed to me on the menu. And then the next time I went out for lunch I ordered one. Then we went out to dinner a few days later and I ordered another one. And then I made it for dinner one night, and subsequently enjoyed salads for lunch for a few days afterward. That's the beauty of this recipe. All of the components can be prepped in advance, then when it's time to eat it's just a matter of throwing it all together.
Traditionally, Caesar salad dressing is made with raw eggs, but given the fact that I'm pregnant, I decided to go with a version using a combination of mayo and Greek yogurt instead. I also knew that I wanted the dressing to stay fresh for a few days in the refrigerator, and I don't feel comfortable eating raw eggs over the course of several days.
Even though there are several components to the salad, it really does come together pretty quickly if you use your time efficiently. As the grill and oven preheat, you can make your dressing, prep the bread for croutons, and prep the chicken for grilling. And then while the chicken and croutons cook, wash and chop your lettuce and shave the Parmesan. The chicken should be done a few minutes before the croutons, so you have a few minutes to let it rest before slicing it. Then you just throw it all together and you're ready to eat!
I know that a lot of people are turned off my anchovies, but I really think they are important for the flavor in this dressing. Personally, I'm not a fan of chopping them up, and since I usually only use small amounts at any given time, I like to use anchovy paste. It is very stable in the refrigerator, and you can just squeeze out as much as you need for any given recipe. I usually use 1 teaspoon of anchovy paste for each anchovy that a recipe calls for.
If you are always on the lookout for lunch ideas, this would be a good one. Just prep everything Sunday night and pack a salad each day.
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from Savory Sweet Life
- 3-4 cups cubed bread, from a baguette
- 3 Tbs butter, melted
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbs fresh minced parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
adapted from Annie's Eats, originally from The Parsley Thief
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 3-4 Tbs water
- 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1-2 tsp anchovy paste
- 2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 head of Romaine lettuce
- 2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- shaved Parmesan cheese
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Meanwhile, cut the bread into 3/4-inch cubes and place in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, garlic, parsley, salt, and pepper, and pour over the bread cubes. Toss to coat well, and arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, and check to see if they are golden and crispy. If not, bake up to an additional 15 minutes, stirring and checking every few minutes.
Meanwhile, make the dressing. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and combine until a smooth dressing forms. Add additional water if necessary, to achieve your desired consistency. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
Measure out 2-3 tablespoons of the dressing, and brush the chicken breasts with the mixture. Grill the chicken about 7 minutes per side, or until cooked through and no longer pink in the center. Set aside to rest 5-10 minutes.
As the chicken and croutons cook, wash and chop the romaine and use a vegetable peeler to shave the Parmesan cheese. When ready to serve, toss the lettuce with as much dressing as you'd like, portion the salad out onto plates, and top with chicken, Parmesan, and croutons. Sprinkle kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper over the salads before serving.