A new take on an classic salad. If you like the good ol' classic cesar salad, you are going to love this updated version with grilled Cajun chicken and a creamy Greek yoghurt dressing. Perfect for summer!
Right, so I have never in my life made a classic cesar salad. Ever. It's been on my to make list for as long as I can remember, but for some strange reason it has never materialized. I guess it's not the entire truth, as I have made one or two using the bottle dressing, but never the dressing from scratch. It's still on my to make list. And I made a promise to myself that before the sun sets on this summer, I will have made one! Considering it's one of my all time favourite salads, I at least owe it to myself to give it a go and make it right.
Speaking of making salads right, or wrong in this case, I need to tell you about a salad I had last week.
As it's summer and the kids are home from school. we have been doing a few day trips. We'll be having a stay cation this year filled with some relaxing, a beach day here and there, afternoon drives and a few further a field excursions. So far we seem to be hitting the balance just about right and nobody seems to be bored out of their mind and I haven't gone crazy. So for mid July, that's a success.
Last week we headed to Gibraltar. A little piece of England in the heart of Spain. As I hardly ever make the short journey to the little English enclave, I thought why not for a day out. Off we went passports in hand and ready to embrace the summer crowds in the droves.
Like everything mid July, it was packed. Okay, I did know what to expect before we headed off in the morning. For my liking, quite possibly a little on the too touristy and too crowded side for me. But it's a day out, a break from the norm and a chance to eat something a little different for a change.
So, after waiting more than 40 minutes at a café for a coffee and two stale doughnuts, I decided that lunch had a to be a bit snappier. After walking around the hot and crowded streets for about 30 minutes, we couldn't seem to find anywhere that suited everyone. You see, I had a place in mind before we left in the the morning but guess what? That place was under renovations. So we kind of had to take what we could get. We spied a street corner bistro that had one table left in the shade. Perfect.
The menu was basic but we could see the food coming out and it all looks pretty reasonable. So, one pizza, one hamburger and one Caesar salad coming up!
And it was fast. Although I was just complaining about the coffee being too slow, I know I probably shouldn't complain about the lunch being too quick. But it turned up almost as I uttered the last words out of my mouth the waitress.
I don't often complain about food. In fact, I have never complained at a restaurant in my entire life. I have never complained at dinners, parties, get together, pot lucks, etc. I just eat what is put in front of me and am grateful that I didn't have to cook it. I'm pretty easy to please like that.
However, the salad. Well, ........... Verging on the point of inedible. The lettuce was wilted and brown in places, the chicken char grilled to the point of rubber, soggy croutons, about a gallon of some cheap knock off dressing and no parmesan to be seen never mind the bacon. But I managed to push it around the plate and eat what I could. Left a small tip and walked away without complaining. Maybe I should have said something and why knows maybe the next person would have got a better Cesar salad experience.
So, I am now on a mission to make the best Cesar salad going!
In the meantime, until that day comes, I have this Grilled Cajun Chicken Salad that is worthy of the name and would make any Bistro proud.
Let's get to the salad.
I make my own Cajun seasoning as I can't buy it locally. It is easy and I usually make a small jar and keep in on hand. If you want to make your own Cajun seasoning, here is how I do it.
2 Teaspoons salt
2 Teaspoons garlic powder
2 Teaspoons paprika
1 Teaspoon black pepper
1 Teaspoon onion powder
1 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 Teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 Teaspoon oregano
1 Teaspoon thyme
Just mix it all together and store it in a little jar. It keeps forever. If you want to make a larger batch to keep on hand, just double or triple the recipe. If you prefer it less spicy, leave out the chilli flakes.
I also ended up making my own croutons for this salad because I didn't have any on hand. If you are stuck with no croutons, making your own is super easy. Literally just cut up bread in small cubes, drizzle it with olive oil put it in the oven for about 5-8 minutes until crunchy. You can easily add herbs or seasoning to the croutons if you like.
I cooked the chicken on the barbecue because it was easy. However, you can just as easily cook it on the stove top. Just add a little oil to a pan, get it hot and add the chicken. Cook each side for about 5-7 minutes until cooked through. Basically the same as if you were to cook it on the barbecue. If you happen to have a grill pan or a cast iron pan, even better.
The dressing I made for this salad is a lighter version that the traditional dressing you would find in a Cesar salad but it really does make this salad delicious.
Not much else to say about the salad as it's all in the recipe below.
Happy salad making friends and enjoy good food!
Grilled Cajun Chicken Salad
Serves 4 / Prep time: 20 minutes / Cook time: 15 minutes
For the Salad:
1 Large chicken breast, flattened to about 1/2 inch thick
1 1/2 Tablespoons cajun seasoning
1 Head of romaine lettuce
1/2 Cup/45 grams parmesan shavings
1 Cup/30 grams croutons
4 Strips bacon
For the Dressing:
1 Cup/240 ml Greek yoghurt
1/4 Cup/60 ml olive oil
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 Tablespoon parmesan cheese, finely grated
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tablespoon white sugar
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/2 Teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
First make the dressing. In a medium bowl combine the yoghurt, olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar. Whisk to combine. Add the garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Stir in parmesan cheese until combined. Set aside.
Rub the Cajun seasoning over both sides of the chicken. Cook the chicken on a preheated barbecue for about 6-7 minutes per side until cooked through. Remove from barbecue and cut into strips.
Cook the bacon on the stove top until crispy. Drain on paper towels and crumble.
Assemble the salad. Toss together the romane lettuce with the bacon bits, parmesan shavings and croutons. Top with chicken. Pour over dressing when ready to serve.
Click the downloadable link below to print recipe!
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