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Okay, I swear I am not using the word “epic” lightly, this is seriously an Epic Chicken Caesar Salad, complete with anchovy breadcrumbs.
First off, I want to address all of the anchovy haters out there. Do you like Caesar salad? Then you like anchovies! The anchovy breadcrumbs made here from whole anchovies and their oil plus panko breadcrumbs add the perfect crunch and additional umami bite to this salad that makes it seriously restaurant worth and, well, EPIC. So just trust me here, okay? Okay, now let’s get into this recipe.
Here, you’ll start by making my Whole30 Caesar Salad Dressing. This has been popular on the blog for years and for good reason! It’s perfectly creamy and bright. Then set that aside while you simply sear your chicken breasts. I let the dressing and anchovy breadcrumbs be the star of the dish, so I keep it simple with just salt and pepper!
You’ll set the chicken aside while you prepare your anchovy breadcrumbs by simply mashing your whole anchovies and their oil into a paste then toasting the panko breadcrumbs into the mixture until perfectly browned and crunchy — keeping a close eye on them so as to not let them burn! Next, you’ll combine your lettuces and toss in the Caesar dressing, divide among your plates, then top with the sliced chicken, anchovy breadcrumbs, freshly grated parmesan, and lots of freshly ground black pepper.
What Makes this Caesar Salad Epic:
- For starters, my Whole30 Caesar Salad Dressing cannot be missed. If you’ve never had it, you’re in for a treat.
- The anchovy breadcrumbs add the perfect crunch and additional umami bite to this salad that’s beyond impressive.
- Although you can omit to keep this recipe dairy-free, I love topping my salads with freshly grated parmesan for a creamy, salty addition.
- Lastly, what would a Caesar salad be without lots of freshly ground black pepper on top?
This Epic Chicken Caesar Salad is great for a simple, yet flavorful weeknight dinner, but could also be served without the chicken for an impressive salad course when hosting. I additionally love to serve this without the chicken on a large platter alongside some grilled steak when hosting. Everyone can serve themselves up and you can sit back and watch them be impressed!
I cannot wait to hear what y’all think about this salad and hope to convert some anchovy haters into lovers after this recipe!
Epic Chicken Caesar Salad with Anchovy Breadcrumbs
For the Chicken:
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the Anchovy Breadcrumbs:
- 6 anchovies packed in oil or the remaining anchovies from the tin after making the dressing
- 1 tablespoon of oil from the tin of anchovies
- ⅓ cup gluten-free panko breadcrumbs I use Aleia Brand
For the Salad:
- 4 cups roughly chopped romaine or 1 head
- 7 ounces little gem lettuce leaves
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese omit for dairy-free
- Freshly ground black pepper
Make the Caesar Dressing:
- Find the full step-by-step for my Caesar Dressing here. Set aside while you make the rest of the salad elements.
Cook the Chicken:
- Place the chicken breasts on a cutting board and cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy skillet, pound the chicken until it is a uniform ½-inch thickness. Pat dry with paper towels. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, Make the Anchovy Breadcrumbs:
- Reduce the heat in the skillet to medium-low. Add the anchovies and anchovy oil to the skillet and cook, using the back of a wooden spoon to mash up the anchovies until they turn into a paste-like consistency, about 2 minutes.
- Once the anchovies are a paste, add the breadcrumbs and cook, tossing frequently, until the panko has just toasted and is golden, about 4 minutes, watching carefully so as to not burn. Remove from the heat and set aside.
To Assemble the Salad:
- In a large bowl, combine the romaine and little gem lettuces. Add desired amount of Caesar dressing and gently toss until well coated. Divide the salad among four plates.
- Slice the chicken and divide on top of each salad along with a generous sprinkle of grated parmesan (if using) and the crunchy anchovy breadcrumbs. Finish with a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Food Photography and Styling by Eat Love Eats.