There’s a salad place near my house that makes a killer chicken caesar salad. It’s my go-to, no-so-guilty pleasure. I love it so much.
For some reason it tastes so much better than me making chicken caesar salad at home. Only thing is, it’s ridiculously expensive. Especially because I know that for the price I pay, I can probably make myself at least 4 salads.
So, to save my wallet, I recreated it at home. It is glorious! Crunchy, crisp romaine lettuce, kale, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, garlicky croutons, roasted chicken breast, toasted cashews, a ramen egg, a lemon wedge for squeezing, and homemade caesar dressing. SO GOOD I’ve eaten it every day for twelve days and I’m still not sick of it.
Caesar salad needs no introduction. There are fancy table side steak house caesar salads AND fast food caesar salads. For me, a caesar salad is only as good as it’s individual ingredients. The romaine lettuce should be crisp and crunchy. The dressing should be a garlicky creamy emulsified dressing with anchovies, Worcestershire, and lots of lemon. The croutons better be buttery and homemade – toasted on the outside and a little tender on the inside. A snow shower of freshly grated parm is the finishing touch.
How to make chicken caesar salad
This is a labor of love. If you make every component at home it can take a long time, not going to lie – but it’s so worth it. Personally I like meal pepping individual size salads in containers with small containers of dressing on the side so I can pretend that I have my own extra fancy salad cafe. I often just make a huge one for dinner too. Here’s how you do it:
- Make the ramen eggs: Medium boil some eggs, peel them, then pop them into a rich, umami filled marinade.
- Cook the chicken: While the ramen eggs are marinating, cook your chicken in the oven or air fryer.
- Make the croutons: While the chicken is doing it’s thing, toast some torn or cubed up bread in garlic butter on the stove over medium heat.
- Prep the romaine and kale: Wash and tear the romaine. Destem the kale, wash, and tear into small pieces.
- Make the dressing: Mix together lemon juice, dijon, Worcestershire, minced garlic, anchovy paste, parmesan cheese, and Kewpie mayo.
- Toast the cashews: This is an extra step that brings out the oils and nuttiness in cashews. Toast cashews in a dry pan over low heat, shaking occasionally.
- Assemble the salad: In a large bowl (the largest one you have) combine the romaine, kale, chicken, and croutons and toss with the dressing to taste. Top with the ramen egg, a fresh shaving of parm, the toasted cashews, and a lemon wedge for squeezing.
Shortcut chicken caesar salad
If you’re on a time crunch you can totally make this salad with already made ingredients and it’ll still be incredible. It’s the combination of romaine and kale plus the jammy egg and cashews that make it amazing. Here’s how to do it, shortcut style:
In a big bowl toss together the romaine, kale, chicken, and croutons with dressing to taste. Top with salted cashews, and a jammy egg. Serve with a lemon wedge and plenty of extra parm shaved on top.
- Roasted chicken breast – Chicken breast is best in salad. It’s pretty, it goes well, and it tastes good, especially when you cook it right. You can go with rotisserie chicken or your favorite cooking method. I favor air frying because chicken breasts come out juicy and perfectly cooked every time.
- Romaine lettuce – You’ve got to have romaine if you’re having caesar salad. It’s the crispest lettuce and it’s non-negotiable.
- Kale – The kale in this salad adds a bit more earthy, green flavor.
- Parmigiano Reggiano – Get the good stuff and you won’t need a lot of it. It’s full of umami cheesiness.
- Garlicky croutons – Little bites of garlic bread in salad, genius!
- Toasted cashews – Toast your own cashews if you have the time, they taste insanely good, even if you’re toasting already roasted cashews.
- Ramen egg – A ramen egg add saltiness, umami, and extra protein in a pretty little package.
- Caesar dressing – This dressing is what makes caesar salad caesar salad. Full of salty, umami forward ingredients, it’s garlicky, rich, and addictive. My secret ingredient is Kewpie mayo, which makes it richer and so much more delicious.
- Lemon wedge – The fresh squeeze of a lemon wedge right before you eat is *chefs kiss!*
A jammy ramen egg with it’s salty umami coated outsides is the perfect extra bite of protein in this salad. It elevates it from just a caesar salad to a Fancy Salad, capitals needed. The best part is that ramen eggs are meal prep worthy and perfect for snacking on. Boil some eggs until jammy then peel and soak in 3/4 cup instant dashi (supermarket, high end, or just chicken stock), 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup sake, 1/4 cup mirin, and 1 tbsp sugar for 1 hour or up to over night. After they’ve soaked, remove them from the marinade and store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can save the marinade in an airtight container too.
How to roast chicken for chicken caesar salad
You can use your favorite method to cook chicken, or even use store bought rotisserie. I find that the easiest thing to do is air fry it. It’s juicy every time. Toss some chicken breasts in a bowl with a bit of oil, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Air fry for 12-15 minutes at 400°F or until the juices run clear. Let rest then slice for the salad.
Homemade garlicky croutons
My favorite way to make croutons is with fresh bread. They end up being little cubes of garlic bread, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
- Rip or cut up some bread into crouton size pieces. I like ripping so there are craggily bits of contrast.
- Heat a generous amount of oil and butter in a skillet over medium.
- Stir in 1 clove of garlic as well as the bread and toss everything to coat.
- Cook until the bread is crusty, golden, and crisp, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat and snack but save some for the salad.
I like this Caesar dressing because it uses mayonnaise instead of eggs which means I can meal prep a big batch and keep it around without worrying. The secret ingredient is Kewpie mayo which adds richness and so much flavor. It makes a about 1 and a half cups of dressing.
In a bowl, whisk together 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 tsp Worcestershire, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and 1 tsp anchovy paste. Stir in a scant cup of Kewpie mayo and 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
There are a lot of steps, but you’re worth it. No sad desk salad for you. Speaking of sad desk salads, my favorite way to eat caesar salad is undressed. I like to poke ever single component on my fork then dip it into the dressing so everything stays crisp and the right amount of dressing is on every bite. How about you? Please tell me you’ll try this salad. I know it’s an investment but it will definitely be the best caesar salad you’ll ever make!
Chicken Caesar Salad
The best chicken caesar salad with a lot of moving parts but you’re worth it!
- Cook the chicken: Toss the chicken in a bit of oil and 1 tsp garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper and air fry for 12-15 minutes at 400°F or until the juices run clear. Remove from the air fryer and let rest.
- Make the croutons: While the chicken is cooking, rip or cut the bread into cubes. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat with a touch of oil and add 1 clove minced garlic and the bread and and toss everything to coat. Cook until the bread is crusty, golden, and crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Make the dressing: Mix together the lemon juice, dijon, Worcestershire, minced garlic, anchovy paste, parmesan cheese, and Kewpie mayo. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Assemble the salad: In a large bowl (the largest one you have) combine the romaine, kale, chicken, and croutons and toss with the dressing to taste. If desired, top with the ramen egg, a fresh shaving of parm, the toasted cashews, and a lemon wedge for squeezing.
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup dashi
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup sake
- 1/4 cup mirin
- 1 tbsp sugar
Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Turn the heat down to medium high and lower in the eggs, straight from the fridge and cook for 7 minutes. Remove the eggs and immediately plunge into an ice bath to cool. Meanwhile, stir together the dashi, soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar in a container that can hold the eggs. When cool enough to handle, peel and place in the marinade. Cover and place in the fridge for 1 hour or up to overnight.
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped roasted cashews
Toast the cashews in a dry pan over medium heat, shaking, until warmed through and smell nutty and toasted. Remove from the pan and let cool.
Chicken Caesar Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 671 Calories from Fat 506
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 12.2g76%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.