Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

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Chicken Caesar salad is such an easy, fuss-free weeknight meal. Add some smoky summertime flavor by grilling the chicken and the bread croutons!

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Photography Credit: Sabrina Modelle

Caesar salad is a classic. Crisp romaine, rich and garlicky dressing, crunchy croutons, and the pungent tang of good Parmesan—they come together to create a uniquely balanced salad.

This version adds a smoky element with the grilled chicken and the grilled garlic croutons.

THE INGREDIENTS FOR CAESAR SALAD

This salad comes together quickly and easily with simple ingredients, many of which you probably already have on hand. I’m using boneless and skinless chicken thighs, which stay juicier than chicken breasts and cook very quickly.

You can prepare the chicken ahead of time, either by marinating it up to 24 hours in advance or by grilling the chicken up to two days before and serving it as a cold salad.

I use gluten-free sourdough to make my grilled croutons—which are basically slices of bread—but you can use any good crusty bread.

Stale bread works great for croutons as it crisps up beautifully. If yours is very fresh, that’s fine too. You’ll get a crispy exterior with a softer interior. I typically serve this with 2 or 3 slices of grilled “croutons” per person.

The chicken and croutons can be served hot, cold, or at room temperature. I like the contrast of the warm croutons and chicken with the crisp cold greens, but it’s great with cold chicken, too.

Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe grill the bread

HOW TO TIME THE COOKING

Make sure your grill is hot before beginning to grill. Even a high-BTU gas grill needs at least 10 to 15 minutes to build up heat. If you have a thermometer on your grill, make sure it reads at least 500ºF.

I like to grill the bread first, and then the chicken. That way I can watch each of them and also to make sure there is no cross contamination between the raw chicken and the lightly grilled bread. The bread only takes a couple of minutes and the chicken takes about 8 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the thighs.

More Summer Salads!

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe

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Ingredients

For the grilled chicken

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the grilled croutons

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 loaf crusty baguette, cut into slices about 1/2-inch thick

To assemble

  • 4 heads romaine lettuce hearts
  • Heaping 1/2 cup (2 ounces) Parmesan, thinly shaved
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Caesar dressing, store-bought or homemade, or more as needed

Method

1 Marinate the chicken: In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 20 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe make the marinade Grilled Caesar Salad with Chicken whisk the marinade ingredients

2 Brush the bread with oil: Combine the olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper to a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to coat each side of the bread. Set aside on a tray.

Grilled Caesar Salad with Chicken brush the bread with oil

3 Heat your grill: Preheat your grill to high heat to around 500°F with two zones for direct and indirect grilling.

4 Grill the bread: Grill the slices of bread over direct high heat for 2 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and set aside while grilling the chicken.

Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe grill the bread Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe set the bread aside

5 Grill the chicken: Grill the chicken for 5 minutes on one side without disturbing, then flip and move the chicken to the cooler side of the grill. Cook 3 to 5 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165ºF.

6 Finish the salad: Tear the romaine hearts into bite sized pieces and toss with the dressing in a large bowl. Divide the greens between plates and top with the grilled chicken, shaved Parmesan, grilled croutons. Finish with freshly cracked black pepper.

Grilled Caesar Salad with Chicken serve the salad

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Sabrina Modelle

Sabrina Modelle started The Tomato Tart in 2010. Since then, recipes and photographs have been featured in media outlets, worldwide. The site features handmade, homemade, food that happens to be gluten free. When she’s not working, Sabrina can be found with her nose in a cookbook and a dog in her lap.

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