There's nothing quite like a Caesar salad to hit all the right notes—crisp, fresh greens, tangy dressing, and a savory crunch from croutons. But why settle for ordinary when you can elevate this classic into a full-bodied meal? Enter the Sun-Dried Tomato Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken. This reinvention adds a hearty helping of grilled chicken and the deep, tart richness of sun-dried tomatoes, creating a salad that's both robust and brimming with flavor. Perfect for a summer soirée or a satisfying lunch, this is a dish that promises not just a meal, but an experience.
I've always believed that a great salad comes down to the quality of its dressing. So, I roll up my sleeves and make mine from scratch. In this recipe, garlic and Dijon mustard come together with egg yolks and olive oil, resulting in a dressing that's creamy, tangy, and packs just the right amount of kick. The fresh Parmesan cheese brings a salty sharpness that perfectly complements the sun-dried tomatoes. And let's not forget the grilled chicken—seasoned simply but cooked to juicy perfection. When you put it all together, what you get is a Caesar salad that's not just a side dish, but a star in its own right.
Why You'll Love this Recipe
- Flavor Explosion: The addition of sun-dried tomatoes infuses the classic Caesar salad with a burst of intense, tangy flavor that pairs wonderfully with the creamy homemade dressing.
- Hearty and Satisfying: With succulent grilled chicken strips added to the mix, this isn't just a salad—it's a complete, protein-packed meal that will leave you satiated.
- Easy to Make: Don't let the gourmet taste fool you; this salad is straightforward to prepare. In just 35 minutes, you can whip up a restaurant-quality dish that's perfect for any occasion.
- Customizable: Feel free to add your own flair to this adaptable recipe. Whether you want to include additional veggies, switch out the croutons for a gluten-free option, or adjust the dressing to suit your taste, the possibilities are endless.
How to Make Sun-Dried Tomato Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken
Prepare the Chicken:
- Preheat the Grill: Turn your grill or grill pan on to medium-high heat.
- Season the Chicken: Drizzle olive oil over both sides of the chicken breasts, then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Grill the Chicken: Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 6-7 minutes per side, or until the chicken is fully cooked and the juices run clear.
- Rest and Slice: Remove the chicken from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes before slicing it into thin strips.
Create the Dressing:
- Combine Wet Ingredients: In a small bowl, add the pressed garlic, egg yolks, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice.
- Whisk: Use a whisk to mix the ingredients together until well combined.
- Add Olive Oil: Gradually drizzle in the olive oil, continuously whisking, until the dressing thickens.
- Season: Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Assemble the Salad:
- Prepare the Greens: In a large bowl, place the washed and torn romaine lettuce.
- Add the Goodies: Toss in the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, croutons, and your freshly grilled chicken strips.
- Dress the Salad: Drizzle your homemade Caesar dressing over the salad.
- Toss and Mix: Use salad tongs to gently toss the ingredients until everything is well coated with the dressing.
- Garnish: Sprinkle the salad with additional grated Parmesan cheese.
- Serve: Dish out the salad onto individual plates or into a serving bowl.
- Enjoy: Your Sun-Dried Tomato Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken is ready to be savored!
Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Sun-Dried Tomato Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken
Quality Ingredients: Opt for high-quality sun-dried tomatoes and fresh Parmesan cheese for the most flavorful experience. When it comes to chicken, free-range or organic options tend to have better taste and texture.
Dressing Consistency: If you find your dressing is too thick, you can thin it out by adding a teaspoon of water or more lemon juice. Conversely, if it's too thin, adding a bit more grated Parmesan can help thicken it up.
Advanced Prep: You can grill the chicken and prepare the dressing ahead of time. Just store them separately in the fridge until you're ready to assemble the salad. This makes it a quick and easy option for busy weeknights or impromptu gatherings.
Crouton Choices: While traditional Caesar salads use garlic croutons, feel free to experiment. Multigrain or even gluten-free croutons can be excellent alternatives. For an extra layer of flavor, try making homemade croutons seasoned with herbs like rosemary or thyme.
Serving Suggestions: This salad pairs well with a variety of wines. A crisp white wine like a Sauvignon Blanc or a light-bodied red like Pinot Noir can complement the rich and tangy flavors of the dish. If you’re not into wine, a chilled glass of iced tea or lemonade also pairs nicely.
Sun-Dried Tomato Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken
- 2 chicken breasts boneless and skinless
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 heads romaine lettuce washed and torn into bite-size pieces
- ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- 1 cup croutons
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
For the Caesar Dressing:
- 2 cloves garlic pressed
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Season the chicken breasts with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill for 6-7 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked and juices run clear. Let it rest for a few minutes, then slice into thin strips.
- While the chicken is cooking, make the dressing. In a small bowl, combine the pressed garlic, egg yolks, Dijon mustard, and lemon juice. Whisk until the ingredients are well combined.
- Gradually add the olive oil into the mixture while continuously whisking until the dressing thickens.
- Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese, then season with salt and pepper. Set the dressing aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, sun-dried tomatoes, croutons, and sliced grilled chicken.
- Drizzle the Caesar dressing over the salad and gently toss using salad tongs until everything is evenly coated.
- Sprinkle the salad with the remaining grated Parmesan cheese, serve immediately and enjoy your Sun-Dried Tomato Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken!
Sun-Dried Tomato Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken - FAQ
While homemade dressing adds a special touch, you can certainly use a store-bought Caesar dressing to save time. Just be sure to choose one that you enjoy, as the dressing plays a major role in the overall flavor of the salad.
Absolutely! This salad is versatile and would work well with grilled shrimp, salmon, or even tofu for a vegetarian option. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly.
If you have leftover salad, it's best to store the components separately to prevent sogginess. Keep the grilled chicken, dressing, and other salad elements in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. When you're ready to eat, simply reassemble and enjoy.
Yes, the dressing can be made up to 2-3 days in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and give it a good shake or stir before using.
or best results, use a sharp knife to cut the sun-dried tomatoes into small, bite-sized pieces. If the sun-dried tomatoes are packed in oil, you might want to pat them dry with a paper towel before chopping to make it easier.
Yes, you can use Romaine hearts. They are typically more tender and have a milder flavor compared to the outer leaves of a full head of Romaine. Adjust the quantity based on your preference for leafy greens in your salad.