The ultimate makeover: Chicken Caesar salad

The ultimate makeover: Chicken Caesar salad

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(41 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 25 mins


Serves 4
Angela Nilsen has been on a mission to make the not-so-innocent Caesar salad more honest. The result? A healthier and tastier version. So tuck in

Nutrition and extra info

  • Easily halved
  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal430
  • fat23g
  • saturates4g
  • carbs15g
  • sugars4g
  • fibre3g
  • protein43g
  • salt1.37g


    For the chicken

    • 1½ tbsp lemon juice
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
      olive oil

      Olive oil

      ol-iv oyl

      Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

    • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs
    • 1 garlic clove, bashed to bruise
    • 4 organic/free-range skinless boneless chicken breast fillets, about 140g/5oz each

    For the croutons

    • 100g rustic granary bread
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
      olive oil

      Olive oil

      ol-iv oyl

      Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

    For the dressing and salad

    • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
    • ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tbsp lemon juice, plus extra for squeezing
    • good pinch chilli flakes
    • 4 anchovies fillets, finely chopped



      Silver, slender salty little fish found mainly around the Black Sea and the Pacific and Atlantic…

    • 3 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise (we used Hellman's)
    • 4 tbsp fat-free yogurt



      Yogurt is made by adding a number of types of harmless bacteria to milk, causing it to ferment.…

    • 1 head romaine or Cos lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
    • 100g bag rocket or watercress



      Rocket is a very 'English' leaf, and has been used in salads since Elizabethan times. It…

    • 25g piece parmesan, shaved with a potato peeler



      Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…


    1. Marinate the chicken. Mix the lemon juice, oil, thyme and garlic in a shallow dish. Add the chicken and turn it over in the marinade to coat well. Season with freshly ground pepper and leave for up to 2 hrs.

    2. Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Slice, then cut the bread into big, rough cubes for the croutons. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then brush all over with the 2 tbsp oil. Bake for about 10 mins until golden and crisp.

    3. Meanwhile, put the garlic into a mini blender with the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, chilli and anchovies. Blend until smooth, add the mayonnaise and yogurt, then blend again – it should be the consistency of double cream. Adjust the taste with lemon juice and pepper. If necessary, thin with a couple of tsps of cold water to get the consistency right so it will coat the leaves.

    4. Heat a griddle pan until very hot. Lay the chicken on the griddle, on the side that had the skin on. Cook for 15-16 mins, turning once or twice, until cooked through. Remove, then let the meat sit for 5 mins before slicing.

    5. Keep any small inner lettuce leaves whole, tear the larger outer leaves into 2-3 pieces, then put them all into a large bowl with the rocket or watercress. Pour just under half the dressing over the leaves and carefully toss to coat – it’s gentler to use your hands. Either assemble in the bowl, or pile the leaves onto individual plates, tucking in the croutons, chicken and Parmesan. Drizzle the rest of the dressing over and around, then finish with an extra squeeze of lemon.

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    Comments, questions and tips

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    15th Jul, 2014
    Very nice. My wife doesn't like 'hairy fish' (anchovies) but she likes the taste when they are whizzed up in the dressing. Only one thing:- why heat up a whole oven just for the croutons? I use the grill pan, lined with foil and with no wire grill bit. Medium heat and toss them now and again, works fine.
    29th Apr, 2014
    Nice salad but nothing special. Liked the dressing.
    29th Apr, 2014
    Nice salad but nothing special. Liked the dressing.
    27th Apr, 2014
    Just to follow from my previous post. This is a firm favourite and everyone who has tried it has said it's the best recipe. It is certainly mine. I make it exactly as written and I find no changes are required.
    19th Apr, 2013
    I've made this recipe so many times! It is really delicious and beats any Caesar salad I have had in a restaurant.
    11th Jan, 2013
    I make this recipe on a regular basis for my other half, who loves it. It's simple to make, and tastes so good that I wouldn't want to go back to full-fat caesar salads! I don't have a griddle pan so I grill the chicken instead (just as good) and when I'm feeling lazy I add ready-made croutons. I also add whole anchovies since we love them.
    Melody Grace
    30th Sep, 2012
    Wow ! This recipe is so easy to follow and the result is delicious. No compromising on taste by substituting part of the mayonnaise for yoghurt. The boys ate it all. It's a thumbs up !
    Melody Grace
    29th Aug, 2012
    A caesar salad where the calories don't shoot off the scale and land heavily in your jeans. This salad is perfect for me as it's so easy to follow, light and delicate on stomach and tastes very good. I love chilli kick in the dressing (!)
    22nd Aug, 2012
    Sorry, I forgot to rate, this is my first time commenting on a recipe!
    22nd Aug, 2012
    I only used two anchovies in the dressing as not everyone likes them but put some extra ones on the table for those who do to help themselves. I added half a cupful of grated parmesan to the dressing, which gave it a delicious flavour, and added leaves from two heads of chicory to the salad. I still added some shavings of parmesan before serving, and the dish received rave reviews from friends and family.


    4th Jul, 2019
    If I make a batch up of the dressing, can I freeze part of it? Thanks
    goodfoodteam's picture
    8th Jul, 2019
    Thanks for your question. We haven't tried freezing this dressing and you will most likely find you have to blend it again due to separation, to give you a smooth consistency.
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