Living 2,000 miles apart creates one major difficulty for Diana and I; we can’t share all of the amazing things that we eat. This post happened because Diana was jealous of an Instagram picture of my lunch months ago and was too far away to enjoy it with me. She asked for the recipe to recreate it in LA but admitted she really just wanted me to make it for her. So I did and we’re sharing our secret for the ultimate Skinny Caesar Salad with you!
When I’m at home and preparing a meal for myself, I try to cook reasonably healthy. I’ll admit to splurging on extra bacon with breakfast and I go through phases of baking way too much, but overall, it involves mostly veggies and protein… and a cocktail or two. Chicago has a ton of delicious options, but really lacks good meal-sized salad options. For whatever reason, I get major cravings for Chicken Caesar Salad. Of course, when I’m craving anything, the hunger is incredibly specific. I can’t just have ANY Caesar salad. I need the most perfect croutons, the most tender chicken and the lettuce shredded just right in order to satisfy the craving. This sounds crazy, but it’s very true. Since moving to Chicago, I have a process for making my version of perfect Chicken Caesar Salad. I think my greatest cross to bear is being able to make myself whatever I’m craving.
Egg yolks, olive oil and lots of cheese don’t help with my light vibe for this salad. I really don’t enjoy store-bought mayonnaise — I didn’t eat mayo at all until I lived in Paris and realized they’re not all created equal. I make my own mayo, but only when I want the mayo or aioli to be the star of the show — not the case here. I make this dressing with a Greek yogurt base so I can add all the cheese and croutons I want without it being heavy at all.
We also need to talk about the chicken: I do not like grilled chicken for this dish. It gives the chicken an undesirable crust and boneless skinless chicken breasts are almost always over-cooked. Because we want the most tender chicken of all time, I used my Sansaire to cook my chicken breast sous-vide. Without fancy cooking toys, I vote using rotisserie chicken or gently poaching your chicken to ensure it is super tender.
The last crucial component to satisfy this craving is a batch of buttery croutons. When I was in culinary school, the croutons we made had to be perfectly square, crust-less and absolutely saturated in butter. They were incredible, but we’re not being quite a precise on these. I take leftover crusty bread and cut it in rough cubes and toss in a 50/50 concoction of butter and olive oil. These might not land on a plate at a fine dining Parisian restaurant, but they’re rustic, delicious, and kind of addictive.
On a technical note, this serves 4, but Diana and I don’t really have a problem finishing it all ourselves.
- 8 ounces crusty bread, cut in 1-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup non-fat Greek yogurt, we love Fage!
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
- ½ lemon, juiced and zested
- 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, we like Lea & Perrins Reduced Sodium
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or made into a paste
- ½ cup grated cheese, divided
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 head romaine lettuce, washed, thoroughly dried and thinly sliced
- 1 pound chicken, poached and cut in ½-inch cubes
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Toss bread cubes in melted butter and olive oil. Bake until golden brown – about fifteen minutes, tossing croutons every five minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, stir together Greek yogurt, anchovy paste, lemon juice, ½ the lemon zest, Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, garlic paste and ¼ cup grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Toss romaine lettuce in dressing, top with chicken breast, croutons and remaining cheese. Enjoy immediately!
love this one Ali! keep the “skinny” recipes coming
I love it! I usually alawys pick up a rotisserie chicken when I go to the store. It’s great to have recipes and ideas for using it up! I like it even better because the kids can do it on their own.
totally just made the croutons sans salad b/c i couldn’t resist after reading your blog!! please keep ’em coming 🙂
Thanks for sharing your talents with us… I can see myself trying to make all these dishes. I love to cook too!! It’s in our genes.. Will be following you and making your recipes!
Keep on keeping on!! Love you.. xoxoxo
Ali this sounds great ! who the heck cares about a perfect squared crouton. It’s all in the taste ! I will try this recipe real soon as I love salad any which way !