Chicken Caesar Salad

This post was written in a paid partnership with Manitoba Chicken Producers. As always, all opinions are my own and I only promote products and services that I use and love.

When dining out, you’re almost guaranteed to find a chicken Caesar salad on the menu.  This classic is the perfect meal for lunch or dinner and is my personal favorite for easy meal planning, due to its versatility.

You can make this salad with mostly store-bought ingredients, or you can take it up a notch and make a more elaborate homemade version.  Let’s take a look at all of the components.

Greens

Traditionally, Caesar salad is made with romaine lettuce.  You can use a pre-washed bagged romaine from the grocery store, romaine hearts, romaine from your garden and even kale.

Serve torn lettuce, halved romaine hearts, or try grilling halved romaine hearts brushed with a bit of olive oil and seasoned with salt & pepper, like Manitoba Chicken Producers did here in this Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad recipe. I personally love grilling the lettuce because the smokiness from the grill adds another dimension of flavor. If it’s your first time grilling lettuce, watch this 60-Second video to see how it’s done.

Chicken

Use boneless skinless chicken breasts for your salad. You can take some shortcuts and meal prep the chicken for an easy meal. Here are a few different ways to prepare the chicken.

  • Pre-cook boneless skinless chicken breasts and slice them for quick and easy lunches or dinners
  • Season chicken breasts with lemon pepper
  • Crush croutons and use as a coating for a crispy baked chicken breast
  • Marinate chicken breasts in caesar vinaigrette
  • Use slow-cooked shredded chicken
  • Use frozen popcorn chicken or chicken fingers
  • Serve homemade Crispy Parmesan Chicken Strips on or with your Caesar salad

Toppings for your chicken Caesar salad

Typically, chicken Caesar salads are adorned with bacon bits and croutons, but you can up the ante by making your own croutons from a loaf of crusty bread or topping your salad with pancetta, prosciutto or capers. 

Meal Prep Tips for Chicken Caesar Salad

If you’re making chicken Caesar salad for dinner, it’s never a bad idea to make an extra one for lunch the next day.  I like to use mini mason jars (125 mL) to portion out the dressing. Alternatively, use large mason jars (1L) and do a salad in a jar, by layering the dressing, chicken, lettuce and bacon bits, then add the croutons just before serving. You could also use a tortilla, naan or pita to serve your chicken Caesar salad as a wrap.

Tearing the lettuce by hand versus cutting it with a knife will prevent it from browning and it will last about two days longer than it would if you cut it.

Finally, I’ve already mentioned ways to meal prep the chicken, but to elaborate on that, batch cooking several chicken breasts and freezing them, guarantees that you will have cooked chicken available for a quick meal anytime, even if it’s not Caesar salad. Use your cooked chicken in any of these recipes from manitobachicken.ca.

Rice Pilaf

This rice pilaf recipe is super quick and easy. It whips up in 10 minutes on a busy weeknight, which I love, AND it’s packed with flavor.

My mom used to make a similar recipe when we were kids and I adapted it to include mushrooms. I know that not everybody loves mushrooms, but you could swap them for carrots if you wanted to. Her original recipe also included 1 Tbsp. of parsley, but I never have that, so I never use it.

Meal prep tips

If you want to prep ahead for this recipe, you can chop all of the veggies a day or two before you need to make this. Using instant Minute Rice is really what brings the cooking time down to next to nothing, so if you’re going to use regular rice, remember to adjust the liquid and cooking time according to the type of rice you buy.

Rice pilaf pairs well with…

I usually make this as a side dish with chicken or pork. The rosemary garlic marinade and the lemon herb marinade are our go-tos when pairing chicken or pork with this rice.

Kid-friendly?

I want to say that this recipe is kid-friendly, but only two of my four kids like it. If your kids aren’t fans of cooked vegetables, foods that are mixed together, or “green things” (thyme) in their food, this recipe might not be for them. But here’s the good news: My new e-book Feeding Picky Eaters is now on the Shop page. It has over 20 strategies to help you engage your picky eaters at mealtime, as well as printable templates and actionable steps that you can implement immediately.

Enjoy this one and tag me on Instagram @toobusylivin204 if you make it!

Rice Pilaf

Course rice, Side Dish
Keyword celery, mushrooms, pilaf, rice
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I use vegetable broth + 2 tsp. chicken bouillon concentrate)
  • 2 cups Minute Rice If not using instant rice, cook time will be longer.

Instructions

  1. Melt butter and sauté mushrooms, celery, shallot and garlic until softened.

  2. Add thyme, then chicken broth.

  3. Bring to a boil. Add rice, stir and remove from heat.

  4. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Recipe Notes

If using regular rice (not instant), add it to the pan before the broth and stir it into the vegetables before adding the broth. 

You may have to adjust the amount of broth you need, based on the ratio of water you need for the type of rice you choose to use. 

Pork and Vegetable Wontons

fried wontons plated with a soy dipping sauce garnished with cilantro and sesame seeds

Prepping the wontons

These pork wontons are a quick weeknight meal, once prepped. The assembly takes a little bit of time, so you might want to make these when you have time to prep. Mixing the ingredients for these wontons doesn’t take too long, but you might want to make an assembly line to fill and fold them to make it go faster.

Jump to Recipe
ingredients for pork wontons set out on the counter

Simple ingredients

The addition of red pepper adds a touch of sweetness and the water chestnuts add a nice crunch. You can substitute the ground ginger for fresh, and garlic powder for fresh garlic as well, so use whatever you have. I enjoy the flavor of the ground pork, but if that’s not for you, you can also make these with chicken or turkey.

unassembled wontons laid out in an assembly line

How to serve pork wontons

I love the crispy yet chewy texture of these wontons when they’re pan-fried and steamed. They make a great appetizer or lunch this way and can also be served alongside a rice or noodle dish for a full meal. You can also drop them into some hot broth with veggies for soup, another great option for lunch or dinner.

Dipping sauces for pork wontons

I combined a drop of sesame oil with soy sauce, a few red chili flakes, and sesame seeds to enjoy these. You can also use a combination of sweet chili sauce with soy sauce for a sweet and salty combo. The dressing from this Asian Grilled Chicken Salad would also make an excellent dipping sauce.

Meal prep strategies

There are a few meal prep strategies that you can apply to this recipe such as:

  • Prepping ahead of time
  • Making a double batch and freezing them

When I made these, I bought a 6 lb sleeve of ground pork and prepared it a few other ways so that I have some meal components ready for quick meals. I made some burgers, which you can season any way you like. This recipe for lemon basil chicken burgers has some great tips on how to make a great burger. I also cooked some unseasoned in a pan and froze it in 2-cup portions, so that I can use it in other meals, like tacos, lettuce wraps or burrito bowls.

Check out my Instagram page for a reel on how to make these pork wontons. Enjoy!

Pork and Vegetable Wontons

Delicate wontons that can be fried crispy or served in a soup.

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword pork, pork wonton, wonton
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Servings 30 wontons

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. lean ground pork
  • 1 can sliced water chestnuts
  • 1 red pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce *extra sauce for dipping
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • sweet chili sauce for dipping
  • 1 egg, beaten with one tsp water
  • 1 pkg. wonton wrappers

Instructions

  1. Finely dice water chestnuts and red pepper.

  2. Mince garlic.

  3. Combine pork, water chestnuts, red pepper, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil until there is no liquid in the bowl.

  4. Seperate wonton wrappers and lay out so that you can assemble all of the wontons at once.

  5. Drop 1/2 Tbsp of the wonton filling in the centre of each wrapper.

  6. Brush one corner of the wrapper with egg in an L shape.

  7. Fold the dry corner (the corner that doesn't have the egg on it) to form a triangle, and press to seal.

  8. Fold the bottom corners of the triangle on each other and use more egg to seal them if needed.

  9. At this point you can either cook them fresh, or freeze them.

  10. If freezing, spread out on a sheet pan so none of the wontons are touching. Freeze for 1-2 hours. Store in a silicone or plastic bag.

  11. To cook, heat 2 Tbsp canola oil in a frying pan. Add in wontons, making sure not to crowd the pan.

  12. Fry for 2 minutes until golden, then flip and fry for another two minutes.

  13. Add 1/4 cup water or broth to the hot pan and cover with a lid. Let steam for 5 minutes.

  14. Serve with soy sauce or sweet chili sauce for dipping.