I’m always looking for fun, protein-packed salads to make ahead and stash in the fridge. Although it’s not “formal” meal prep, this Caesar Chicken Salad is a great way to get ahead on a couple of lunches or light dinners for the week ahead.
The recipe will feed four to six, depending on the appetites, so it’s not just for “meal prep.” It would be a great light dinner for the family or a wonderful potluck item, too. This salad can be served on its own, in veggie cups, wraps, or sandwiches or maybe like I did over a bed of greens with a few extra veggies.
About Caesar Chicken Salad:
This is chicken salad to the nth degree. It’s loaded with veggies and has a homemade bright, tangy peppery Creamy Caesar Dressing. It’s really a stand-out and the black pepper in the dressing is key. Use your best judgment, but use lots of it!
Now, I’ve written the recipe as I’ve made it, but feel free to sub in or out your fave veggies (or other ingredients) in this salad. (Maybe let price be your guide if you’re on a budget.)
If you do plan to keep the salad around for a few days (four or five would be the limit) you’ll want to choose sturdy veggies that don’t wilt or weep. If you want to add in the classic romaine, it’s sturdy enough to go right in the salad, but I’d suggest if you’re not eating it all the same day that instead, just serve it on a bed of romaine.
The dressing portion of the recipe might make a bit more than you need. It really depends on how moist or dry your chicken is and how heavily you want to have your salad dressed.
Around the House:
Just a quick update on happenings. A few weeks ago I promised some kitten pics – we adopted two kittens we saw at a garage sale (they were living under a bush, along with their Momma.) Then Jessi decided we had to have Momma Cat, too, after we found out the owners were moving and a rescue group failed to show up for them.
Well, here are the little rascals, Katana & Monta, along with my deplorable Labradorable, Chance. Latest news? Momma Cat is carrying 6 more kittens. The vet figures she must have gotten pregnant just days before we adopted them and she’s due in a couple of weeks. Anyone in the Atlanta area looking to give a kitten a new home in a few weeks? I’ll keep y’all posted.
Making the Chicken for the Caesar Chicken Salad:
Any chicken can be used for this salad. Leftover chicken or for a super easy option, Rotisserie chicken, or you can cook some up just for this recipe. If you’d like you can poach your uncooked chicken in barely simmering water and then cube or shred it or cut the uncooked chicken into cubes, season it, and saute it. Heck, maybe you want to season and grill your chicken.
When I’m having a busy week, I like to pull out my Instant Pot and cook up a couple of pounds of chicken to use in meals throughout the week. The IP does such a fabulous job of “poaching” chicken. You can look at my post for Meal Prep Chicken for some inspiration.
Making the Dressing for the Caesar Chicken Salad:
You’ll need to pull out a blender for the dressing. Just add in the cubed Parmesan and pulse till it is basically pulverized, then drop in the garlic and pulse to mince it up, then toss in everything but the oil. Once you blend, keep the blender running and drizzle the olive oil in through the top. It will thicken up nicely. You may need a little more or a little less olive oil. Just watch for it to get to a nice thick consistency then stop drizzling.
The dressing is rich, creamy, and pretty thick; that’s the key to having it hold and cling onto the rest of the ingredients. If you want to use this for something like a tossed salad, you’ll want to add a bit more oil.
If you’ve already made your dressing and used part of the dressing in your chicken salad and want to use the rest for a tossed salad, you can thin the rest with just a bit of warm water.
Saving Money on Caesar Chicken Salad:
There’s no need to ever pay full price for chicken – it goes on sale too often. It pays to know the difference between a good sales price and a rock bottom sales price (usually about once a quarter) and stock up at the low. Often these are larger family packs so portion out in sizes suitable for meals for your family and freeze.
Your Parmesan cheese is a potentially pricey item. Check your buyer’s club, or if you’re not a member, check Aldi. If neither works, watch for sale pricing on your “near” deli cheeses. There are often coupons in the store, online, or at the producer’s website and combined with a sale, the price will usually beat either the buyer’s club or Aldi.
The big surprise with “near deli” cheese is that grated or crumbles are almost always more expensive than wedges. You’ll need to compare the pricing ounce for ounce. Keep it clean (don’t put it on a dirty counter or cutting board and use clean hands) and it will last longer.
We’re in a forecasted “heat dome” area, a week of solid ’90s coming up. I can’t say I’m thrilled, especially being used to Minnesota weather! So far no cicadas anywhere around where I’m living, thank goodness! How about you guys out there? I can’t even wrap my head around it! One thing you can count on for sure, you’ll never see a cicada recipe on this site, lol!! Take care all,
Caesar Chicken Salad
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Salad
Creamy Caeser Dressing:
- 2 ounces cubed Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup thick yogurt or mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- Pinch of salt
- Several grinds freshly ground black pepper
- 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, possibly a little more or less
Caesar Chicken Salad:
- 20 ounces raw chicken, cooked by desired method and cubed or shredded
- 3/4 cup (about one large stalk) finely diced celery
- 1/2 cup (about 1/4 of a smallish red onion) finely diced red onion
- 3/4 to 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- enough of the Creamy Caesar Dressing to moisten to desired consistency
- salt & pepper to taste
Creamy Caeser Dressing:
- Add the cubes of cheese to the blender and pulsing on low speed, blend until the cheese is finely broken down, increasing speed as necessary. Drop in the garlic through the chute and continue to pulse until it, too, is broken down and finely minced.
- Stop the blender and add in the yogurt or mayonnaise, mustard, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
- While the blender is running, drizzle in the olive oil (note you may need a bit more or a bit less) until it blends into a thick salad dressing consistency.
Caesar Chicken Salad:
- Mix together the chicken, celery, red onion, tomatoes and grated Parmesan cheese. Add in the Creamy Caesar Dressing as desired. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve immediately or chill. Serve with additional vegetables if desired, perhaps on a bed of lettuce or other greens, in a sandwich or as a wrap. Leftovers should keep 3 to 5 days depending on the vegetables used.
Keywords: Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes, Chicken, Chicken Breast, Dressing, Main dish salad, parmesan, Red onion, Salad, Salad Dressings, Tomatoes