Chicken Caesar Salad with Cannellini Bean Dressing

Chicken Caesar Salads are the most popular salad on American menus. This “enlightened” recipe uses cannellini beans or white kidney beans in place of the egg in the traditional Caesar dressing. This simple substitution decreases the calories and cholesterol and increases the potassium and fiber, and also provides an extra serving of vegetables. This recipe also exemplifies the 2010 Dietary Guidelines message to “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables (Romaine lettuce and beans)” and make the remaining half one-quarter lean protein (chicken) and one-quarter whole grains (croutons).

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Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • 6-6 oz. chicken breasts, grilled and sliced into ¼-inch strips

For the Anchovy Garlic Vinaigrette

  • ½ tablespoon oil-packed anchovies, drained and finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup fruity extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Dressing

  • 1-15 oz. can cannellini or white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon oil-packed anchovies, drained and finely minced
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

For the Croutons

  • 6 oz. whole wheat French baguette, cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic

For the Salad

  • 6 large hearts (18 cups) of romaine, washed, dried, and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 oz. shaved Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Number of Servings : 6

Serving Size: 4 cups (3 cups leafy greens, 1/2 cup croutons, 1/2 cup chicken)

Chicken Caesar Salads are the most popular salad on American menus. This “enlightened” recipe uses cannellini beans or white kidney beans in place of the egg in the traditional Caesar dressing. This simple substitution decreases the calories and cholesterol and increases the potassium and fiber, and also provides an extra serving of vegetables. This recipe also exemplifies the 2010 Dietary Guidelines message to “Make half your plate fruits and vegetables (Romaine lettuce and beans)” and make the remaining half one-quarter lean protein (chicken) and one-quarter whole grains (croutons).

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare the Anchovy Garlic Vinaigrette that will be used to dress the grilled chicken by combining the anchovies and minced garlic in a small saucepan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and warming slightly over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the rest of the olive oil, the vinegar, and the black pepper.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the grilled chicken slices with 3-4 tablespoons of the Anchovy Garlic Vinaigrette, toss well to coat the chicken, and set aside. It is best to do this step when the chicken is still warm; it will absorb more flavor from the vinaigrette.
  4. Prepare the dressing by combining all ingredients for the dressing in a food processor, and blending 2-3 minutes until smooth. Set aside.
  5. Prepare the croutons by combining the olive oil and minced garlic in a large mixing bowl. Add the whole wheat bread cubes, and toss well to ensure all cubes get covered with the garlic oil. Place the breads on a baking sheet, and bake for 6 minutes.
  6. Prepare the salad by combining the romaine lettuce with the dressing. Toss well, and then divide evenly among six dinner plates. Top with chicken and croutons. Finish each plate with a few pieces of shaved Parmesan.

Recipe courtesy of Chef Joyce Goldstein and Amy Myrdal Miller, MS, RDN, FAND. Photo by Scott Miller.