0 hours 15 mins
0 hours 4 – 20 mins
0 hours 20 – 35 mins
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1 Small Garlic clove
1/4 Cup Lite Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. Red wine vinegar
1 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
1 Tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Anchovy filets in oil
Several grinds of fresh black pepper
1/2 Grinder roll, cut into large cubes OR 1 cup sourdough bread cubes
1/2 Tsp. Garlic powder
1/2 Tsp. Onion powder
1/2 Tsp. Dried oregano
1/4 Tsp. Kosher salt
1/8 Tsp. Fresh ground black pepper
2 Tsp. Olive oil
4 Cups Romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 Cup plus more to finish Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved
2 – 4 Chicken tenders, seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked through, sliced
Ground black pepper and kosher salt to taste
1) Make the dressing. In a blender, add the garlic clove and blend until it is finely minced.
3) Make your croutons. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut the bread you are using into large cubes and put into a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with all the seasoning. Toss to completely coat all the cubes of bread. Spread on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or tin foil. Bake in the oven until brown and crispy turning the cubes one or twice until golden on all sides. About 20 minutes. Alternatively, you can toast these under the broiler for 1-2 minutes on each side watching carefully so that they don’t burn. Let cool.
4) Cook chicken. Simply season the chicken tenders with salt and pepper. I spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and cook the chicken over medium high until brown on one side, then flip and cook until brown on the second side and cooked through. A total of about 8-10 minutes. Let the chicken cool for 5-10 minutes. Slice into bite sized pieces. Note that I use 1-2 chicken tenders per person based on how hungry we are or when I’m serving the salad (lunch vs. dinner).
5) Prep your lettuce. I like to prep my romaine lettuce by first cutting off the tough ends and discarding any wilted or damaged exterior leaves. Wash and try the lettuce. No one likes the tough inner core of the larger leaves, yet very few people remove them. You should. It makes eating a Caesar salad so much more enjoyable if you don’t have that tough inner core. Simply cut it out of the larger leaves using a sharp paring knife. You can leave it alone on the smaller more delicate inner leaves of lettuce. Proceed to chop the lettuce into bite sized pieces.
6) Prep your cheese. Grate and/or shave your Parmesan cheese. I like both. I like to mix half grated cheese with half shaved Parmesan to get some texture. Then, when I finish the salad, I like to shave more Parmesan on the top. You can use a vegetable peeler to accomplish this. Put your cheese to the side.
8) Divide onto to shallow bowls or salad plates, top with more shaved Parmesan and some more fresh cracked pepper and enjoy.
NOTES: My Healthy Creamy Chicken Caesar Salad for Two hits all the right notes with a fraction of the fat, and no eggs or excess oil. However, I haven’t sacrificed flavor in this dish and the anchovy filets and freshly shaved Parmesan cheese, combined with the freshly made croutons, make this a winner every time.
To get started with this recipe, you’ll want to make the dressing. This is where all the calories are saved in this recipe. I’ve eliminated the eggs and a ton of oil, and substituted light mayonnaise as the base. Note that you could lighten this up even more and use a fat-free mayo. To start, add a small garlic clove to the blender. I’ll chop it once or twice first to give it a heads start before adding to the blender. Blend until the garlic is finely minced scraping down the sides once or twice.
Next, you’ll want to add the mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, Anchovy Filets packed in oil and some freshly ground black pepper. Blend everything together until smooth. Scrape into a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. You can do this several days in advance. Just make sure it is covered.
Note, you can substitute anchovy paste for the filets. I’d use about a teaspoon. You can also use White Wine Worcestershire Sauce. That works just fine. For those of you who THINK you don’t like anchovies, believe me when I say you don’t taste anything resembling fish. It just adds a ton of flavor to the dressing, I think is absolutely necessary in a good Caesar dressing. Believe me, it just completely blends into the dressing and unless you tell anyone, no one know there are anchovies in the dressing. They’ll just know it is delicious.
Next, I make my croutons. Sure, you can use store-bought croutons, but why? They are easy to make and if you like, you can change up the flavoring. Just use your favorite spices. For mine, I’ve used a pretty classic garlic and onion powder base with lots of dried oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and toss with your spices. Then, you just put them on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for aboout 20 minutes until golden brown. Stir them once or twice so they crisp up on all sides. FYI: when I’m in a rush, I just put the baking sheet under the broiler for about 1-2 minutes on each side. Watch closely and stir and flip them once or twice until golden. This speeds up the whole process and works everytime. Be sure you let the croutons cool before adding to the salad.
What type of bread should I use for croutons?
This becomes just a preference. I used half a grinder roll for this recipe since that is what I had on hand. But sour dough bread, a french baguette or an Italian loaf of bread would all work. Use just need about a cup of the cubed bread for this recipe. The bread can be stale or a couple of days old too. Making croutons is a great use of left over or stale bread.
Cooking the chicken is very easy. You can use chicken breast or chicken tenders like I did. I’ll often have this for lunch and don’t need or want a whole chicken breast so I’ll cook up one or two chicken tenders for each person. I just sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook in a skillet sprayed with cooking spray. You could add a little olive oil to if you like. Cook on both sides until golden and cooked through. Let cool at least five minutes and slice into bite sized pieces. This is another reason I like the chicken tenders. No knife needed to eat the salad. The sliced chicken is already in bite sized pieces.
Prepping romaine lettuce for a Caesar salad
To get started, cut off the bottom of the romaine lettuce and discard that tough bottom. Discard any wilted leaves. You want a crisp salad. Wash the leaves and dry them with paper towels.
I love a good Casesar salad but what I don’t like is that tough, core in the larger leaves. I take the time to cut that out (much like you do when making stuffed cabbage). Using a sharp paring knife, cut a “v” in the middle of the leaf removing that tough core and discard. Then, just proceed with chopping the romaine into bite sized pieces. Wait until you see what a difference that makes. You don’t have to do this with the tender, inner leaves.
Next, grate and/or shave your Parmesan cheese using a hand held grater and a vegetable peeler. I really like combing both forms of the cheese. The grated cheese will blend in with the dressing and the salad while the shaved cheese adds texture and a lot of flavor.
Assembling your Healthy Creamy Chicken Ceasar Salad
Put all the chopped lettuce in a large bowl. Add the 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, the chicken and several grinds of black pepper and a pinch of salt. Go easy on the salt since the cheese is already salty. Add the dressing and toss to combine. Once everything is combined and you are ready to serve, add the croutons and toss again. Finish with more shaved Parmesan and more black pepper if you like. Enjoy!
Did you like this salad? If so, be sure to try some of my other favorite salad recipes. All of these are great as a meal for either lunch or a light dinner.