Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

A flavorful marinade creates the most delicious Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad topped with easy homemade Focaccia Croutons. This is a salad you will crave on a regular basis!

A bowl of chicken caesar salad with dressing in the background.

Before we head into all things fall, I just had to bring you one more “summer-ish” recipe. There’s plenty of soups and cozy holiday fare on the way. Promise.

My love for salads has no boundaries and definitely does not adhere to a calendar. This Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad is a meal I am happy to eat any time of year.

Salad topped with grilled chicken and focaccia croutons in a bowl.

If you don’t want to fire up the grill, the chicken can be prepared on a stovetop grill or even in a skillet. So there. No excuses not to make it even when it’s too chilly to BBQ.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Marinade

The ingredient for chicken caesar marinade on a white surface.

This marinade creates exceptionally flavorful grilled chicken and is what really makes this recipe special. The resulting grilled chicken is perfect for this salad and a variety of other recipes and is even delicious enough to stand on its own as an entree.

Marinate and Grill the Chicken

Marinade is poured over chicken in a plastic bag.
  • Whisk the marinade ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Slice your chicken breasts through the middle or pound them to 1/2-inch thickness – thinner chicken means more surface area drenched in the fabulous marinade which will result in more flavorful chicken that cooks more quickly.
  • Place the chicken in a zippered plastic storage bag and pour the marinade over the top. Press out as much air as you can and seal the bag. Use your hands to move the chicken around in the bag until it is well coated with marinade.
  • Refrigerate for at least an hour or longer. One hour will yield very flavorful chicken but if you’d like to get this out of the way earlier in the day that works too!
  • Grill the chicken on an outdoor or stovetop grill until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F when checked with an instant read thermometer.
  • If preferred, the chicken can be cooked in a little olive oil heated in a skillet on the stove.
  • Transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board and slice when cool enough to handle.

Focaccia Croutons

A loaf of store-bought focaccia and some olive oil are all you need to create the most incredible, fresh croutons EVER! They are crispy with a nice chewy bite and beyond delicious warm from the oven. Costco has an incredible pesto focaccia in their bakery department that I love but use any variety you like. The more seasoning, the better.

Get the Focaccia Croutons started while the chicken is on the grill.

Cubed focaccia on a baking sheet.
  • Spread cubed focaccia out over a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and use your hands to mix the bread until lightly coated with oil.
  • Bake for 5 minutes and then toss with a spatula. Continue to bake for an additional 6 to 7 minutes or until lightly crisped and browned.
  • Remove from the oven and set them aside.

Caesar Salad Dressing

Caesar salad dressing drips from a spoon into a mason jar.

You can use your favorite store-bought Caesar dressing but for a truly restaurant quality salad mix up your own! My easy Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing takes just 5 minutes to prepare and keeps well stored in an airtight container in the fridge for days which means you can get this part of the prep out of the way ahead of time.

Assemble the Salad

A Caesar Salad topped with Focaccia Croutons with grilled chicken in the background.
  • Chop romaine lettuce and toss it with some Caesar salad dressing and shredded Parmesan. Season with freshly ground black pepper, to taste.
  • Top it with the sliced grilled chicken, sprinkle with additional Parmesan.
  • Top the salad with the Focaccia Croutons and serve with additional Caesar salad dressing on the side.
A fork lifts a bite of caesar salad.

What to Serve with Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Protein heavy salads like this are substantial enough to serve all on their own but I also love to serve them with an easy soup recipe. My Broccoli Cheese Soup, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, or Roasted Cauliflower Corn Chowder are all great choices for rounding out this meal.

Salad topped with grilled chicken and focaccia croutons.
Salad topped with grilled chicken and focaccia croutons in a bowl.
Print

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Focaccia Croutons

A flavorful marinade creates the most delicious Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad topped with easy homemade Focaccia Croutons. This is a salad you will crave on a regular basis!

Course Main Dish, Salad

Cuisine American, Italian

minutes

minutes

hour

hour minutes

Servings 4

For the Grilled Chicken Marinade

  • 1/2 of a lemon juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

For the Focaccia Croutons

  • 1/2 pound focaccia 3/4-inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

For the Caesar Salad

  • 1 head romaine chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 recipe Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing or your favorite store brand

Grilled Chicken

  • Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk it well to combine.

  • Place the chicken in a zippered plastic storage bag. Pour the marinade over the top. Press out as much air as you can and seal the bag. Use your hands to move the chicken around in the bag until it is well coated with marinade. Refrigerate for at least an hour or for up to 8 hours.

  • Grill the chicken on your outdoor or stovetop grill for approximately 4 to 5 minutes per side, until the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F when checked with an instant read thermometer. If using thicker pieces of chicken, cooking time will increase. If preferred, the chicken can be cooked in a little olive oil heated in a skillet on the stove.

  • Transfer grilled chicken to a cutting board and slice into small strips (approximately 3-inches or so). Set aside while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

Focaccia Croutons

  • While the chicken is on the grill, spread the cubed focaccia out over a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and use your hands to mix the bread until lightly coated with oil. Bake for 5 minutes and then toss with a spatula. Continue to bake for an additional 6 to 7 minutes or until lightly crisped and browned.

  • Remove from the oven and set aside.

Assemble the Salad

  • Chop romaine and toss with about half of the Caesar dressing (or more, if desired) and half of the shredded Parmesan. Season with pepper, to taste. Top with sliced chicken. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan. Top the salad with the Focaccia Croutons and serve with remaining dressing on the side.

  • To save time, look for thin-sliced chicken breasts at the store. If your chicken breasts are regular thickness, slice them through the middle or pound them to 1/2-inch thickness – thinner chicken means more surface area drenched in the fabulous marinade which will result in more flavorful chicken that cooks more quickly.
  • For the Focaccia Croutons, use any variety of store-bought or homemade focaccia you love. I really like the Costco’s Pesto Focaccia available in their bakery department.

Grilled Chicken Marinade adapted from Recipe Runner

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