This chicken Caesar salad uses plenty of Parmesan to create a creamy egg-free anchovy and olive oil dressing to drizzle atop romaine lettuce, seared boneless chicken breast, and Parmesan toasts.
One of America’s most beloved salads, the Caesar salad has changed quite a bit from its roots at a Tijuana restaurant, where it was used as a dip for romaine lettuce. The original dressing included a very softly boiled (coddled) egg, but this eggless chicken Caesar salad version gets its body and creaminess from Parmesan cheese.–Rick Rodgers
Does this Caesar salad contain raw egg?
Those of you who cook for the very young, the very old, the very sick, the very preggers, or the very finicky, you can let out a sigh of relief. This lovely homemade Caesar salad contains no egg in the dressing, which means you can make it for everyone you love—even those for whom raw egg is a no-no. That doesn’t mean you won’t hear any criticism, though. We’ve found that Caesar salad dressing is a very personal thing, and while we love the bejeebers out of this recipe, just to be fair, it’s not quite as lavishly thick, rich, and creamy as some dressings we’ve experienced. Consider yourself warned.
Chicken Caesar Salad
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated plus a 4-ounce (125-gram) wedge, plus more to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon anchovy fillets in oil drained and minced (or substitute anchovy paste), plus more to taste
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts halved
- 2 romaine hearts
- Parmesan Toast whole or chopped (optional)
- In a blender, process the 3/4 cup oil, the grated Parmesan, the lemon juice, anchovies, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper to make a smooth, thick, dressing. Taste the dressing. If a richer, creamier, more robust dressing is desired, add more Parmesan and/or anchovies.
- Using a meat pounder or the bottom of a heavy skillet, pound the chicken breasts until they’re a uniform 1/2-inch (12 millimeters) thickness. Sprinkle the chicken evenly on both sides with a total of 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium. Working in batches to avoid crowding, add the chicken and cook until the underside is golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Flip the chicken and continue cooking until the other side is golden brown and the chicken feels firm when pressed on top in the center, 4 to 5 minutes more.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes. (If you wish, let the chicken cool completely. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.) Slice the chicken across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
- Chop the romaine lengthwise into strips or tear it into bite-size pieces. In a large bowl, toss the romaine with about half the dressing. If desired, add more dressing and toss again. Season with salt and pepper. (Any remaining dressing can be covered and refrigerated for up to several days.)
- Divvy the salad among 4 bowls. Top each with equal amounts of the chicken slices and the whole or chopped Parmesan Toast. Using a swivel vegetable peeler, shave curls of cheese from the Parmesan wedge over the salad. Serve at once. Originally published July 12, 2015.
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Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This chicken Caesar salad was delicious, and my whole family loved it! And I appreciated that there wasn’t raw egg in the dressing so that I could serve it to my young children. For the dressing, I used anchovy paste instead of the anchovy fillets because that’s what I had on hand.
The dressing came together easily in the blender. I scraped the sides with a rubber spatula once during processing. My dressing was pourable and not too thick. I chose to serve the chicken warm because I prefer warm chicken on green salads. I used 2 hearts of romaine from one of those 3-packs that they sell at the grocery store and I didn’t have as much romaine as the recipe author probably planned on. I had only enough lettuce for 3 servings and more dressing than I could use. I tore the romaine into bite-size pieces. If I had been trying to impress, I would’ve torn the romaine lengthwise for a prettier presentation.
I chose to make the Parmesan toast to add to the salad. They were the perfect addition to the salad, and since they’re quick, I don’t see why you’d make the recipe without them. Next time, I’ll start those first so I’m not waiting on them at the end.
Salads are a favorite meal for me to prepare in the heat of summer. I also love that the ingredients can be prepared ahead of time and tossed together at meal time. I used a tenderizer to flatten the chicken but in the future would slice the breast into 2 pieces if the chicken is a thick piece. Actually, cooking the chicken on the grill would be my preference.
I made the Parmesan toast for the salad and loved them. These are what sets this Caesar salad apart from other recipes. I would not skip them, I would like to try the bread on the grill, too, for another tastebud experience.
This Caesar salad dressing was super easy to whip up and it was nice not to have to use raw egg. (I love homemade aioli and raw cake batter, but for some reason raw egg on my salad kind of weirds me out.) The lack of egg also makes the salad safer if staying out at room temperature for a bit. That said, the consistency was definitely less creamy or smooth than a traditional Caesar dressing. I scraped the sides of the blender a couple of times, and I’d say the thickness was just right, but it didn’t get fully homogenous.
I did find the dressing to be more lemony than most Caesar dressings, which is something I’m fine with, as I like my salad dressings on the acidic side. I don’t like heavily dressed salads, and this recipe yielded the perfect amount of dressing. The Parmesan toast was wonderful. I had fancy wheat bread with caraway in it and it was great with the dressing.
Everyone loves a good Caesar salad. But not everyone knows how easy (and how much better than the store-bought variety) a homemade Caesar dressing is to make. The creamy yet salty combination of lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, anchovy paste, and fruity olive oil comes together nicely and is a perfect topping for crisp Romaine lettuce and tender chicken slices.
This is a lovely salad especially for warm weather months but is good all year round. And not just with chicken; you could easily substitute grilled shrimp or even crisped bacon. I liked that the Parmesan toast was included with this recipe, as I’m not a huge fan of the boring croutons that usually come with a Caesar salad, but cheese toasts, yes indeed!
In terms of the recipe itself, I made the dressing in a mini food processor, not a blender, and the consistency was a sauce-like consistency that yes, could be poured, but I used a rubber spatula to get out the remaining dressing that stuck to the bowl of the food processor.
For the chicken, I bought chicken fillets from the store, which are basically a half-chicken breast, so there was really no need to pound the chicken. I just seasoned it and cooked it for 4 minutes per side. I chilled the cooked chicken for 1 hour before slicing it and topping the salad with it. I had an extra baguette in the house, so I made the Parmesan toast, which was easy, crisp, and nice with the overall presentation of the dish. My only suggestion for this salad would be to serve it with lemon wedges in addition to the shaved cheese; it adds a nice look to the plate and I think a nice squeeze over the chicken slices is a nice bright touch.
A good chicken Caesar salad is a perfect light dinner that still feels very special. I made the dressing and pounded and cooked the chicken breasts early in the day knowing I was overscheduled and would be rushed at the dinner hour. The meal truly seemed to come together in minutes—the Parmesan toast was in the oven while I was slicing the chicken.
The dressing was perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing, but we only used about half the dressing (we’re not big dressing people). We all agreed this was a lovely supper and would also make a nice lunch. The only changes I made were while the Parmesan toast was in the oven we also made some Parmesan crisps (just grated Parmesan toasted to form a cracker, which you can make in pretty shapes if desired). Next time I’ll brine the chicken first in a large resealable bag with 1/4 cup salt and 1/4 cup sugar dissolved in the water for about 4 hours to make the chicken even moister. Still a great meal we will repeat again this summer.
When I was young, my parents used to take me to this “fancy” restaurant. It was always a special treat but it was also fascinating to me to watch the waiters prepare my Mom’s Caesar salad tableside. I would sneak a bite or two and I’ve never forgotten how fresh it tasted. The little extra flare from the waiters just added to the experience.
In college, I worked in a few restaurants where it became very trendy to add chicken, shrimp, or even salmon to Caesar salad. No argument here, I loved each addition. Every Caesar now came with the option of protein, and I can’t tell you the thousands of Caesar salads I have served, and made, over the years.
When preparing the dressing for this salad, I was surprised by the absence of egg in the dressing. I put all the ingredients in the blender and whipped it up. To my disappointment, it was pretty thin and runny. The flavor was good, but I like my dressing with a little more viscosity. I blended it longer in an attempt to thicken it more but it remained thin.
I used romaine hearts that I separated and washed. I rolled the leaves in paper towels and put them in the fridge for about an hour to crisp. Since it’s summer, I decided to grill my chicken outside. The breasts were already thin so I just used salt and pepper and grilled it for 3 minutes per side. I let the chicken rest on a cutting board while I prepared the romaine.
I cut the romaine into bite-size pieces and put them in the bottom of a wooden salad bowl. I added about 3/4 cup dressing, which was plenty to coat each leaf.
After the chicken had rested, I sliced it into strips. I put a nice serving of romaine on each plate with a good amount of chicken. I shaved on some extra Parmesan and topped off the salad with my own homemade croutons. Although the dressing was on the thinner side, it had good flavor which carried over well to enhance the flavor of a simply cooked chicken breast. I really enjoyed this salad. The dressing was simple but flavorful and very reminiscent of the first Caesar salads I had as a child. If I made this salad again, I would mix all the ingredients in the blender except the olive oil, which I would drizzle in to emulsify the dressing.
This recipe makes a delicious chicken Caesar salad with relatively few ingredients. The dressing surprisingly packs a great flavor for having so few ingredients, but the consistency is very thick and not very pourable. I used one anchovy from a can of Trader Joe’s anchovies in olive oil and it tasted great, I couldn’t detect a “fishy” taste at all. If you don’t have anchovies, you could always substitute Worcestershire sauce.
I prepared the dressing using an immersion blender because I own a Vitamix blender which does not have a removable bottom and some high-quality ingredients would have gotten left behind if I’d tried to scrape the dressing out of my blender. My suggestion for anyone making this dressing is to use an immersion blender, food processer, a hand whisk, or a blender with a removable bottom for ease of scraping out the goodness of this finished dressing. With that said, it was so exciting to see my dressing transform from single ingredients to pale yellow creamy thickness within seconds. I left out the salt and only added pepper since my Parmesan and anchovies were already salty enough and the dressing was fine as-is.
One medium lemon yielded the exact amount of lemon juice required for the recipe. I only made half the salad and saved the rest of the dressing and ingredients for the next day. The dressing had the consistency of an artichoke dip but it still mixed with the lettuce just fine.
As a side note, this dressing would be really good spread on bread and toasted for garlic bread. I admit I used it as a dip and it is addictive to say the least. I love this dressing but it’s a lot of calories of fat in a single serving. It was good and rich, though. I am not sure if I’d make this again, but I may in a pinch when I don’t make my usual version, which is a classic tableside Caesar.
You know it’s the right amount of salad dressing when there’s just a little left on your plate after you finish eating! This Caesar dressing was great and it was easy to make in the blender. The consistency of the dressing was pourable—no need to scrape it off the sides of the blender as it poured easily. Some in the group that I served it to were hesitant because they usually shy away from Caesar dressing because it often has a lot of garlic, but this dressing only has 1 clove. Sure you can add more, but you really don’t need it.
I think what made this dressing was the freshly grated Parmesan that was blended in with the oil, anchovies, and lemon juice. I used anchovy paste and it worked fine. This dressing was really tangy and light as well. I also made the Parmesan toast. Add the chicken and it was a wonderful light dinner. It’s a keeper. The second time I just made this recipe, I cut the Parmesan toast into cubes and added them to the salad. The salad and dressing are also perfect for a very quick dinner when you have some leftover chicken. I’ll continue to make this recipe. We really enjoyed it.
If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
This chicken Caesar salad recipe is all about the dressing, which was wonderfully balanced and so delicious. The ratio of olive oil to lemon juice with the Parmesan, garlic, and anchovy paste made the perfect Caesar salad dressing—no raw egg needed. It was a pourable dressing compared to ones I’ve made with egg, which are usually too thick to pour. I’ll make this dressing over and over again.