My dad called me last week and told me it was in the high 80s in California. I looked out my window at the flurries coming down and wished Tennessee wasn’t so far from California! Since then it has begun to warm up slowly, but my heart is still missing my first home! I decided to pull out the BBQ from its winter hibernation, whether it was warm enough or not, and grill up some chicken for some juicy Chicken Caesar Salads. This meal always reminds me of home because of how many times we ate it out on the patio for Sunday night dinners. It is also a fairly healthy dinner option and boy do I need that now that these jeans are getting a little snug from all this winter cooking! Let me show you how quick but flavorful these chicken caesar salads can be:
First, dice up 10-15 baby carrots, a package of grape tomatoes, and a cucumber. You’ll also need to wash and cut a head of romaine lettuce. I like romaine lettuce the best because it is a heartier leaf and holds up well under the veggies, chicken, and dressing.
Next, I cut a jalapeno lengthwise and gently pull back on the seed cavity, trying to keep it all together. The seeds of a jalapeno are what make them spicy, so if you don’t like any heat, throw them out. If you’re like me and prefer a little kick, toss a few into the salad with your diced jalapeno. Now go wash your hands! Whatever you do, don’t peel the seeds of a jalapeno and then rub your eyes, nose, or lips because you’ll be in burning pain the rest of the day!
Throw all those lovely veggies into the lettuce. If need be, you can keep this in the refrigerator with a damp paper towel on top for a couple of hours until you’re ready to serve. The paper towel will keep the moisture in the salad, preventing the carrots from drying out.
Now head to the BBQ and grill up however many chicken breasts you desire. I use my 3 ingredient tangy marinated chicken to go on top of chicken caesar salads. It is my favorite chicken marinade and it goes with virtually anything! On my other post I also give important instructions on how to grill your chicken to perfection. Check it out here.
Once the chicken is done and sliced, I grab the salad and my favorite caesar dressing. Maybe one day I will make my own, but I’m not too confident working with anchovies yet! Jen Segal at Once Upon a Chef has a great recipe for homemade caesar dressing that uses mayonnaise and anchovy paste rather than raw eggs and straight anchovies. So when I have more time (can you tell me when that will be?) I will give it a try, but for a quick dressing I tend toward Marzetti’s because they are fresh and without preservatives. You’ll find them in the refrigerated section near the produce.
Mix your desired amount of dressing into the salad and coat all those beautiful vegetables! I put my sliced chicken on top and serve the chicken caesar salads with homemade parmesan croutons. Sometimes I also like to add pepitas and tortilla strips on top because of their pop of color and crunchy texture. These salads really are scrumptious and signal a kind of beginning to spring and summer. They are fresh, light, but most of all tasty! It turned out to be a beautiful weekend here in Knoxville and we got a good amount of garden prep done while the sun was out. These chicken caesar salads were just the ticket for reminding me of home but helping me enjoy where I am. Happy Cooking ya’ll!
Chicken Caesar Salads
- 4-6 grilled chicken breasts
- 1 head Romaine lettuce chopped
- 1 small package grape tomatoes cut in half
- 10-15 baby carrots sliced lengthwise
- 1 cucumber diced
- 1 jalapeno seeded and diced
- Caesar dressing to taste
- Optional: croutons pepitas, tortilla strips
- Grill chicken breasts as desired
- Cut and chop all vegetables
- Toss salad with desired amount of dressing
- Top salad with grilled chicken
- Serve salad with desired toppings: croutons, pepitas, tortilla strips, etc.