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.
Watch the 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)
- Finely chop and smash together the garlic cloves and anchovies until a coarse paste forms. Transfer to a medium bowl. Finely grate 3/4 cup Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces) and add 1/2 cup to the bowl. Zest half of the lemon into the bowl. Stir in the mayo, soy sauce, and Dijon mustard.
- Transfer half the dressing to a shallow dish. Pat the chicken thighs dry, season with salt and pepper, then add to the dish and turn to coat.
- 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.
- Separate the leaves of the lettuces and toss into a big bowl. Squeeze half the lemon (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) over the greens, sprinkle with salt, then toss to combine. Add the remaining dressing and remaining 1/4 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.
- (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.