Change up your weekend grilling with this tasty Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Creamy Light Dressing. The lettuce, bread and chicken are ALL grilled to perfection.
This recipe was originally share July 2015 and has been updated May 24, 2018
The first time someone mentioned grilling lettuce I was completely grossed out. I could NOT imagine anything good coming from that.
Grilling was for meat and some vegetables, I thought. However after trying a grilled lettuce salad I was hooked!
Is Grilled Lettuce Gross? NO, Just the Opposite!
Grilling lettuce seems totally counterintuitive, right? You’d imagine it would wilt and become totally creepy (at least that was what I imagined).
Grilled romaine lettuce is still crunchy and the flavor turns to be deeper and smoky, actually giving the lettuce some flavor (which lighter varieties often do not have much of). Perfect for Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Creamy Light Dressing!
What Are the Ingredients for a Caesar Salad?
Caesar Salad is a classic and this update to a Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad is fantastic. Often Caesar Salads are made tableside in fancier restaurant and the balance of the ingredients considered a culinary art form.
I love, love, love a Caesar Salad. The cool, fresh, crunchy romaine lettuce. The tangy dressing featuring distinct flavors of oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic and anchovies (don’t be afraid!).
Crisp-edged croutons are a perfect finishing touch. In this Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad the croutons are homemade so perfect for either those gluten-eating or gluten-free.
I love some protein on the salad too to make it a full and filling entrée. The grilled chicken is smoky but still moist.
With summer on the horizon a Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad is easy and quick to make. It’s a great summer option for a main dish.
Why Make THIS Caesar Salad?
In this recipe thesucculent boneless chicken breasts, romaine lettuce and bread (or gluten-free rolls as I used) are all grilled! It adds flavor and makes clean up a breeze.
The dressing has been lightened up from the traditional classic version, still retaining the signature flavors but making it forgiving to our exposed summer waistlines.
Optional Trick for Smoking the Chicken Breasts
Place a piece of heavy foil on the back section of the grill and add grilling wood chips to it then heat the grill. As the grill heats the wood begins to smoke imparting more smoky flavor to the chicken breasts!
This technique is a great way to bring some smoky flavor to any grilled foods especially when using a gas grill.
How Long Does Making Grilled Chicken Casear Salad Take? 12 Minutes Grilling Time!
The entire salad takes about 12 minutes to grill if grilling the components in serial fashion (I’m distractable so that worked best for me); the chicken followed by the bread and finally the lettuce. The time can be made shorter by grilling the lettuce and bread at the same time but needs to be watched closely to not char them more than desired.
TIP SAVING TIP: The dressing may be made beforehand and chilled in the refrigerator until ready to use it, or warmed at room temperature (though due to the sour cream it should not be left out for any duration especially in hot temperatures).
How to Make Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad with Creamy Light Dressing – Step by Step:
Don’t let the length of the recipe scare you off. Everything is divided into sections with easy directions and no step takes more than 5 minutes!
- All salad dressing ingredients are combined in a bowl, whisked to fully combine then refridgerated
- The chicken breasts are pounded to an even thickness (which ensures even cooking), brushed with an oil-herb mixture and grilled for 3 minutes on each side (includes a tip for perfect grill marks!)
- The baguette is sliced, buttered and grilled for 30-60 seconds, flipped and grilled for 30-60 seconds more
- Romaine lettuce is brushed with olive oil-herb mixture and grilled 1-2 minutes on each side then allowed to rest
- The chicken, bread and lettuce are all chopped, added to a salad bowl and tossed with the dressing and shredded parmesan cheese
Enjoy Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad as a side dish with these grilled recipes to go with it:
- Grilled Spicy Salt and Pepper Shrimp Skewers
- Easy Grilled Chicken Shish Kabobs
- Honey-Mascarpone Ice Cream with Balsamic Ripple, Grilled Figs and Walnuts
If you’ve tried this Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad recipe or any other recipe on BoulderLocavore.com please don’t forget to RATE THE RECIPE and let me know where you found it in the comments below, I love hearing from you!
Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
A fresh take on a salad classic. Grilling the romaine lettuce, bread or rolls and chicken for a Caesar Salad enhances the salad's flavor beautifully. A lightened up creamy Caesar dressing tops it all off. NOTE: The time to heat the grill is not included in the overall recipe time.
For the Herb Infused Olive Oil:
- ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2-3 teaspoon mixed Fresh Herbs (I used lemon thyme, oregano, chives and a bit of rosemary; use the flavors you love best), diced
Ingredients for the Light & Creamy Caesar Dressing:
- 1/3 cup Light Sour Cream
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 2 teaspoons Red Wine Vinegar
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 teaspoons Anchovy Paste
- 2 medium Garlic Cloves , minced
- 1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper , preferably freshly ground
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
Ingredients for the Salad and grilling:
- 1 pound boneless , skinless Chicken Breasts, usually 2 breasts per pound
- 3 Romaine Lettuce Hearts (they are usually sold in packages of 3)
- For Gluten-eaters: 4-6 thick slices of French Bread (baguette)
- For Gluten-free eaters: 4 Udi’s French Dinner rolls (or equivalent gluten-free bread option)
- ½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
- Optional: a handful of wood to add smoke to the chicken grilling (I used apple wood) and a piece of heavy duty foil approximately 8 inches by 6 inches)
- Combine the ¼ cup of olive oil and fresh herbs in a bowl. Set aside.
Preparing the dressing:
- Add all ingredients to a small mixing bowl and whisk to fully combine. Cover and set aside or refrigerate if using later.
Grilling the Chicken:
- Heat the grill to medium heat at 350 degrees (gas or charcoal). Clean and oil the grill. If adding smoke to the chicken follow the next step instead.
- TO ADD SMOKE TO THE CHICKEN BREAST GRILLING (optional): Place the piece of foil at the back of the heating grill and add the wood on top of the foil. When the grill reaches 350 degrees and the wood begins to smoke, clean and oil the grill. (NOTE: use about half the amount of wood chips shown in the photo)
While the grill is heating, place the chicken breasts between two sheets of wax paper and pound them to an even thickness. They should be aproximately 1/2-inch thick (refer to the grill photo). This ensures even cooking.
- Lightly brush one side of the chicken breasts with the olive oil-herb mixture. Place the chicken breasts on the prepared grill, olive oil brushed side facing the grill, for 1 ½ minutes with the grill lid closed; rotate 90 degrees and cook for another 1 ½ minutes (the rotation makes the great grill marks).
- Lightly brush the top of the chicken breasts and flip them over on the grill. Grill 1 ½ minutes then rotate 90 degrees and cook another 1 ½ minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken breasts should register 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer and any juice will run clear. Note: if using smaller chicken breast portions modify the cooking time to not overcook.
Remove from the grill to rest. Carefully remove the foil and wood chips if smoking.
Grilling the Bread/Rolls:
- If using rolls slice them lengthwise. Brush the cut side lightly with the olive oil-herb mixture and place face down on the grill. Brush the top side of the bread/rolls with the olive oil mixture while on the grill. Watch carefully and flip over as soon as grill marks appear (30 seconds to 1 minute per side). Set aside.
Grilling the Romaine Lettuce:
- Remove any damaged outer leaves. Slice the lettuce lengthwise retaining the root which will hold the lettuce together during grilling.
- Lightly brush both sides of the lettuce with the olive oil-herb mixture and place on the grill. Grill until marks appear; 1-2 minutes. Flip over and repeat. Remove and allow to rest for a few minutes.
Assembling the salad:
Chop off the root from the grilled lettuce hearts and discard. Slice across the romaine hearts and add to a serving bowl. Cut grilled bread/rolls into bite-size pieces and add to the bowl. Slice chicken across the breast and add to the bowl. Toss with the dressing and parmesan cheese; serve.