Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

I’m sure Caesar salad is a staple in most households.

However, I’m sure most of the time it involves a bottle of dressing and a bag of croutons. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s just not our style.

Rather, we’ve found the perfect (easy, and salmonella-free) recipe for a Caesar dressing from scratch. It’s as creamy or creamier than anything you can find in a jar, and bonus! You know exactly what did (or didn’t) go into it.

Didn’t use up all that nice fresh crusty bread you bought for dinner last week? It’s too dry to eat by itself, but it is perfect for homemade croutons. Just like black bananas are the perfect candidates for banana bread, day (or week) old bread is just crying out for a more fulfilling future than the garbage. Give it that satisfaction by turning it into crispy, golden brown, homemade croutons.

Yet, even with the extra steps to make it all from scratch, it is still a surprisingly quick and easy dinner. A weeknight meal. Something satisfying for the whole family (especially if your family includes 3 cats. Yes, those anchovies and chicken strips are quite tempting. Bad kitties!)

Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

Makes 2-4 servings. Dressing recipe adapted from Epicurious.


Ingredients:

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 anchovy fillets, mashed

Scant cup light olive oil

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Chicken:

1 large skinless, boneless chicken breast

salt and pepper

3 tablespoons canola oil


Croutons:

1/3 cup olive oil

One 1-pound loaf of day-old bread, preferably sourdough, sliced and cut into large cubes (about 2 cups)


1 large head of romaine lettuce

fresh shaved parmesan cheese


Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper flakes, mustard, and anchovies. Slowly whisk in the oil to emulsify. Stir in the cheese and season with sat and pepper. Refrigerate in a covered container. When ready to use, whisk again. Dressing will keep up to 10 weeks, refrigerated, in a covered container.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, drizzle olive oil over bread and toss until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a baking tray and bake until golden, turning to brown all sides. Actual baking time will vary depending on the variety and dryness of your bread, watch them carefully to ensure they do not burn.


Place chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap. Pound breasts to a uniform thickness (about 3/8"). Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.


In a large skillet, heat canola oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Carefully add chicken breast to pan. Cook until both sides are lightly golden and chicken is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer to cutting board and slice into thin strips.


To assemble, trim the lettuce and toss with some of the vinaigrette. Arrange on salad plates, top with chicken and croutons, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.


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18 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. Love caesar salad! I’m so glad you posted this. I never would have thought red pepper flakes would be a part of the dressing. Hope to try it sometime.

  2. I love Caeser Salad and this looks wonderful!

  3. Oy vey…put my email and blog in wrong. I need to stop multitasking. ;-)

  4. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like a good Caesar salad. This looks delicious, especially with homemade croutons. Yum!

  5. I love Caesar salad…………!!!!!!!!!
    Thanks for your recipe

  6. I love your blog. :) The salad looks delicious. I’ll try it as soon as I can. :)

  7. I love Caesar salad and I’ve been dying to make my own croutons!

  8. This Caesar salad looks wonderful. I would love to make it but I know my husband would not eat it because it has mayonnaise in the dressing. Do you think there is anything I could use as a substitute? Maybe Greek yogurt or sour cream?

    • My suggestion? Don’t even tell him. The mayonnaise is there solely as an emulsifier, to help the oils and the other liquids to come together. There is no mayo-like flavor in the final product whatsoever. He’ll never know.

      Traditional Caesar dressing uses a raw egg as an emulsifier, which you could do if you think the mayo won’t go over well. I made the substitution because I didn’t necessarily want to be eating a raw egg on my salad, but to each his own, I guess!

  9. Seriously going to make that tonight with chicken strips. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. Caesar salad is my absolute favorite. I have it for dinner a lot of nights and I hate to admit, it’s from a salad kit. I’m not a fan of making the raw egg version, so I’m excited to try yours. Plus I always have bread that needs to be used. Thanks for this recipe!

  11. This looks delicious! Chicken Caesar salad is one of my favorite salads of all time! Gorgeous!

  12. Your homemade crouton recipe for Caesar salad is terrific! Thank you for sharing.

  13. Mmm. How delish does this look. I want!!!

  14. It’s always surprising when things we are accustomed to buying are just as easily made at home. Your salad looks great — like something you’d get in a restaurant!

  15. When I was in high school, I had a thing for trying the caesar salad at every eating establishment I’d go. It was mostly due to being a vegetarian and not understand the proper nutrition of being one… but mostly it was because this salad one of my favorite foods. And your caesar looks delish, can’t wait to try it myself!

  16. Just had a batch of croutons toasting in the oven when I came across your post. Your recipe looks delicious – as they always do!

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