Quick and Easy

Not Just Another Chicken Caesar Salad From Ali Slagle

April 19, 2022
36 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin. Prop Stylist: Brooke Deonarine. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog.
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

This salad's genius starts with a double-duty dressing-slash-marinade (that you don’t have to let marinade, or even wipe off before cooking), but doesn't stop there. It's fitting that in her new cookbook, I Dream of Dinner, Ali Slagle called this Not Just Another Caesar Salad, because it redefined what I want in the classic—and gave me a crunchy crouton trick that means I'll never skip making them again.

As Ali writes in I Dream of Dinner, “It’s hard to resist a good Caesar salad, so step right up.”

A few more tips: Ali says that this recipe is also excellent on the grill for both the chicken and the croutons, with similar timing. Because the croutons are a mix of crisp sides and fluffy middles and don’t have a hard outer shell on all sides (a good thing), scatter them on top rather than tossing them through with the dressing, so they stay crisp longer.

Recipe adapted very slightly from I Dream of Dinner (So You Don't Have To): Low Effort, High Reward Recipes (Clarkson Potter, April 2022).

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 earns an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

Hear more about this recipe from Ali herself on our podcast The Genius Recipe Tapes.
Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Not Just Another Chicken Caesar Salad From Ali Slagle
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 anchovies
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan, divided
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Few heads crisp lettuces (like Little Gem, romaine, or chicories)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (optional, for croutons)
  • 2 thick slices of crusty bread (optional, for croutons)
  1. Finely chop and smash together the garlic cloves and anchovies until a coarse paste forms. Transfer to a medium bowl. Finely grate ¾ cup Parmesan (about 1½ ounces) and add ½ cup to the bowl. Zest half of the lemon into the bowl. Stir in the mayo, soy sauce, and Dijon mustard.
  2. Transfer half the dressing to a shallow dish. Pat the chicken thighs dry, season with salt & pepper, then add to the dish and turn to coat.
  3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown and juices run clear, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board.
  4. Separate the leaves of the lettuces and toss into a big bowl. Squeeze half the lemon (about 1½ tablespoons) over the greens, sprinkle with salt, then toss to combine. Add the remaining dressing and remaining ¼ cup Parm and toss to combine. Thinly slice the chicken. Add to the salad and season to taste with salt and pepper, lemon, and Parm.
  5. (Optional) For croutons, after step 2, heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium-high. Add the slices of crusty bread and toast until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and season with salt. Cut into croutons and sprinkle over the salad.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • MBE
  • Clare Colley
    Clare Colley
  • meli6
  • bryan wark
    bryan wark
  • Rhonda35
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

31 Reviews

noramaye January 30, 2023
This was so good! I love caesar salads but had never made one at home before. I loved everything about it & followed the recipe as written. In the future I'll make it with chicken breasts because after a few days in the fridge, the chicken thighs were a little slimy. I didn't think that coating the chicken in the sauce did much for the chicken (& it made it hard to cook on stainless steel) so in the future I will just season the chicken as I normally would & pan fry it.
Lisa T. January 22, 2023
I made this today and the only substitution was Worcestershire instead of soy sauce. I made my own mayonnaise with avocado oil and otherwise followed both the recipe and the procedure. Tossing the lettuce with lemon juice and salt prior to dressing was a revelation. This is a great iteration of Caesar salad. I loved it!
Annie September 25, 2022
Wonderfully delicious Caesar salad - dressing. Oh my so good. The dressing was tasty on BLT sandwiches the next day, and then slathered on broiled swordfish the day after. And then sadly it was gone. : (
MBE June 13, 2022
Delicious! The only change I would make would be to toast the croutons in the drippings from cooking the chicken. One less skillet to clean and they could soak up all that yumminess! Easy to do while chicken is resting.
brushjl May 30, 2022
Omg fantastic. I followed the recipe exactly, except for the anchovies (sorry!), and it was still delicious. I used duke's mayonnaise, my favorite. Really really great caesar salad.
Marian M. May 11, 2022
My new go-to Caesar dressing. I haven’t tried it with the chicken yet. Oh, don’t worry that’s next. As a previous commenter mentioned, “adding lemon to lettuce, genius!” I had extra lemon juice so I added to the dressing. Oh so delish!. Made the salad for an impromptu dinner party; went together quickly, even with the homemade croutons. The tip for using sliced bread, then cutting into cubes after, genius! Thank you.
Clare C. May 1, 2022
I guess I wouldn’t call this marinating the chicken. It’s more like a dipping sauce. Although, given the fat content of chicken thighs, it probably wouldn’t make much difference as far as juiciness of the chicken is concerned.

It would be worthwhile to actually use the dipping sauce as a marinade for chicken breast. I know chicken breasts have fallen out of favor with gourmands, who no longer eat them, but some of us still like them, especially when they have their moisture content increased by marinating.
robyn January 21, 2023
Chicken tenderloins are delicious in this recipe
draya3 May 1, 2022
This salad was just insanely good. That squeeze of lemon on the romaine is truly genius!
Noreen April 30, 2022
The recipe looks very delicious! What knife are you using? I’m looking for one just like that and would appreciate recommendations(s). Thanks!
meli6 April 28, 2022
When I read this recipe I thought it was brilliant. Easy weeknight dinner. A new take on Ceasar salad. So I purchased the book. Followed the recipe exactly, my family loved it. Looking forward to cooking recipes from my new cookbook.
cabirdy April 26, 2022
My husband thought this was of "restaurant quality". I subbed about 1/2 Greek yogurt for the mayo...I felt like that was too much mayo for us and also didn't use all the dressing. Fried up some coarse panko with some olive oil and Old Bay seasoning to add extra crunch, and served extra anchovies on top. Divine.
Jane H. May 1, 2022
You pretty much changed the recipe.
bryan W. April 26, 2022
This recipe is perfection. I marinated the chicken for a few hours but otherwise followed to the letter. Brilliant
Lisle April 22, 2022
Made this tonight for dinner. I did sub out the soy sauce with Worcestershire. I also used breast meat instead of thigh meat. Delicious!
Dani April 21, 2022
Made this for dinner tonight and I have to say, it’s probably my favourite Caesar salad. Loved everything about it. Instead of pan frying my chicken, I broiled it and it turned out perfect. Love the way the croutons were made. So simple and crispy. Thank you for another keeper . 😁
spenlo April 21, 2022
Just made this. It is simple and utterly delicious! Thank you so much for the lovely instructional video. It was extremely helpful.
adobeblue April 21, 2022
Kristen should have someone help her find a better shirt for her video. The one she has on looks almost stained due to the type of fabric it is and is somewhat distracting. As an editor, she should have access to a stylist who can select a suitable top for filming.

The recipe looks delicious.
Charles April 21, 2022
This has to have been written by a woman. I'm a guy and had to say, "hold on; what?" and then scroll back up up to the video to see what this was about. I can honestly say that Kristen's attire had not even registered with me the first time through (I'm a guy, right?). Yeah, there appears to be a small stain or wet spot on her top - she is prepping food, after all. So, Kristen, fuss over your wardrobe if you wish but I'm here for the recipes and tips.
Dani April 21, 2022
Wow, Adobeblue, you are commenting on a recipe that you haven’t tried, and all you talk about is her shirt. I will never understand why people just can’t be nice. Please don’t comment on a recipe if you haven’t tried it. People like me read the comments to get actual reactions from others about the recipe.
adobeblue April 21, 2022
I agree and also read the comments for that purpose. This shirt really bothered me. It looked like she was sweating or had a grease stain. Food 52 is not some YouTuber making a video on the fly, it is a big company so I felt I had to say something. No disrespect to the recipe, it looks great.
Jane H. May 1, 2022
Are you kidding?
cfelten April 21, 2022
Delicious. I made mine with Worcestershire sauce as I had run out of soy sauce. I really liked the dressing but will thin it out with a little lemon juice and water next time I use it (had a bit left over). Except for the Worcestershire sauce, I made it exactly as specified and was very happy with the result. Do put the little brown bits left in the pan after cooking the chicken into the salad for some extra savory crispiness.
Amy April 20, 2022
I don't like anchovies. Any substitutions? Thank you.
Lisle April 22, 2022
You won't taste them at all in the recipe. They add umami.

Amy April 22, 2022
Thank you but even the smell offends me! I wonder what else could work.
Lisle April 23, 2022
You could just omit them, they don't add a huge amount of flavor, it's subtle.

Rhonda35 April 25, 2022
Have you tried using anchovy paste - it's scent is much lighter. If that is still too much for you, use Worcestershire sauce in place of the soy.
Clare C. May 1, 2022
Fish sauce
sc June 13, 2022
Like the previous person, I also didn't have anchovies and subbed 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce. My husband raved about it and said it would easily be served in a restaurant.
Kevin K. December 21, 2022
Use Worcestershire as others note. Anchovy was NOT in the original Caesar (or Cesare, as in the original Italian) salad, claims otherwise notwithstanding. Worcestershire was.