This Caesar salad with blackened chicken combines the classic Caesar salad with the bold and spicy flavor of blackened chicken. This salad recipe is perfect for a quick lunch or a light dinner.
Caesar salad with blackened chicken
Caesar salad has always been one of my favorite ones. And the original Caesar salad will always remain my number one choice. Especially, if it’s made with from scratch fresh ingredients.
Caesar is often served as a starter. By adding blackened chicken breast, you can easily turn it into a filling and full-of-flavor meal.
This salad is not only delicious but has a beautiful presentation, a perfect dish for any occasion.
Did you know that almost all store-bought Caesar dressings contain anchovies. If you do not like anchovies, I have an anchovies-free Caesar dressing recipe. It takes 5 minutes to make using only a few simple ingredients.
I love how the bold blackened chicken pairs with the crunch of fresh lettuce, the tangy dressing, and the nutty richness of shaved Parmesan, creating a perfect mix of flavors and textures every salad needs.
Related recipe: Tuna Caesar salad
About blackening spice
The history of blackened seasoning dates back to the Creole and Cajun cuisine of Louisiana. Although the cooking technique of searing the food with a mix of spices dates back much further, the origin of the modern blackened spice mix is often credited to Chef Paul Prudhomme. He made it popular in his own restaurant in the 1980s, in New Orleans.
While the recipe ingredients for blackening spice mix can vary, it usually includes paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, and black pepper. The mix is rubbed onto the meats, seafood, and vegetables and cooked in a hot pan to create that blackened crust.
The seasoning is very popular in the southern parts of the United States, but it has also become popular in other parts of the US and around the world. As a result, blackened seasoning can be found now in every grocery store and it is widely used to add bold flavor and heat to the dish.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Romaine lettuce: I always use whole romaine lettuce hearts, as they always taste fresher. Of course, you can use prepackaged cut romaine that comes in a bag.
- Croutons: I used ready bagged croutons, but you can make your them at home by baking bread cubes with oil and seasonings until crispy. Or if you have an air fryer, use our recipe to make homemade Caesar croutons.
- Caesar dressing: If using a store-bought Caesar dressing, I like to add to it a few chopped anchovies. It makes a big difference and tastes just like as homemade.
- Chicken breast: chicken breast is the leanest option, but you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs.
- Olive oil: you will need olive or other neutral oil to cook the chicken.
- Blackened seasoning: simply mix 2 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon black pepper, and ½ teaspoon salt.
- Shaved Parmesan: garnish the salad with some shaved Parmesan or other Italian-style cheese.
- Black pepper (optional): I always add some freshly ground black pepper for serving.
How to make it
Step 1. Remove any outer leaves that seem wilted or yellow. Place the romaine heart on a cutting board and slice it lengthwise. Chop each half into bite-size pieces. Discard the core.
Note: you can also tear the leaves with your hands or leave them whole (if they are small enough to fit the salad plate.
Step 2. Place chopped lettuce leaves into a large bowl (use a spinner bowl if you have it) and fill it with cold water. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (optional). Let the lettuce soak for at least 30 minutes. Drain the water and spin the salad to dry.
Note: if you do not have a spinner, I recommend washing the leaves whole and patting them dry it using paper towels.
Step 3 Meanwhile, let’s prepare the chicken. In a small bowl, combine salt, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme and black pepper. Coat the chicken breast with the blackened spice mix.
Cut the chicken breast into tenders or strips. Rub the blackened seasoning over the chicken. Preheat the frying pan and cook the chicken over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side or until full cooked and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Step 5. In a large shallow dish, add romaine lettuce. Dice the anchovies (if using) finely and mix them with a dressing. Drizzle salad with the dressing and gently mix. Arrange cooked chicken on top of the salad. I also like to add some croutons, and shaved Parmesan. Garnish with some black pepper if desired. Enjoy your salad!
- Soak romaine leaves in cold water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Add 2-3 chopped anchovies to a store-bought Caesar dressing to make it taste just like at the restaurant.
- Add the dressing right before serving to prevent the salad from being soggy.
- You can use Rotisserie chicken or any leftover cooked chicken you have in the fridge.
- Serving: serve it as a starter or main dish. Caesar salad is typically served with the dressing already mixed in with the salad ingredients. If requested, you can serve the dressing on the side.
- Table etiquette: if serving as a starter, enjoy the salad with a salad fork (the smaller one). Use a knife to cut larger ingredients such as chicken into bite-size pieces.
Food safety tips
- Never wash raw chicken as the bacteria may spread all over your kitchen sink and counters.
- Wash hands with soap after handling raw meat.
- Cook the chicken until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Always wash lettuce.
You can easily make this salad ahead of time by preparing all the ingredients and storing them separately.
Wash and chop the lettuce and place it in an airtight container or a jar. It can remain fresh for up to 3 days.
Cook the chicken and store it in a separate air-tight container for up to 3 days as well.
When ready to eat, reheat the chicken in a microwave and add to the rest of the ingredients.
Frequently asked questions
This particular recipe is 400 calories per serving. For accurate nutritional information, you have to weigh and measure all the ingredients.
Blackened chicken is spicy because of added cayenne. To make it mild, skip cayenne completely or use a mild chili powder instead.
Other salads you may like
Caesar Salad with Blackened Chicken
- 1 frying pan
- 1 salad spinner or a bowl
- 1 large dinner or salad bowl
- 2 ea Romaine hearts
- 4 Tablespoons Caesar dressing, store bought
- 2-3 anchovies, chopped optional
- 16-20 Tablespoons croutons
- 2 Tablespoons shaved Parmesan
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil optional
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper for serving
Blackening spice mix
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Chop or tear the romaine lettuce. Discard the core. Add chopped lettuce to a salad spinner and fill it with cold water. Rinse and spin to dry.
- Cut the chicken breast into tenderloins or strips. Rub the meat generously with blackened seasoning.
- Preheat the nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add oil (if using). Place the chicken breast in a hot pan and cook it for about 4-5 minutes on each side over medium-high heat until fully cooked.
- In a small bowl, add 2 Tablespoons of Caesar dressing and chopped anchovies. Stir to combine.
- In a large dinner or salad bowl, add chopped romaine, blackened chicken and drizzle the salad with the dressing.
- Garnish with croutons, shaved Parmesan and black pepper. Hope your enjoy this delicious Caesar salad with blackened chicken.
Blackening spice mix
- In a small bowl, add 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon cayenne, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon black pepper. Mix to combine. Rub generously on meat before cooking.
- You can use a store-bought blackened seasoning or making your own is super easy and tastes better.
- I like to add chipped anchovies to any store-bough Caesar dressing for better taste.
- You can also use any other cooked chicken to make the salad.
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