Low Calorie Chicken Caesar Salad – No Mayonnaise

This has now become my most popular salad at home. Somehow, I’ve gone back to the simple classic, giving weight to the phrase ‘Old is gold’.  My favourite leaf is now Romaine lettuce, overthrowing the very popular rocket leaves and arugula with their peppery flavour. In fact, this is the only leafy salad my kids eat happily and actually like and has become a house favourite. 

My daughter loved it, surprising me to the core. Rocket leaves, most people’s favourite, is actually in her words, ‘The worst food I ever ate’ and the poor green has even starred in an essay titled that. Nevertheless, since I’m hell bent on making my kids eat everything, especially vegetables, I’m over the moon to think that some salad has found favour. 

This is a very simplistic Caesar’s salad. It has a very easy dressing – unlike the traditional Caesar’s salads which have Worcestershire sauce and anchovies etc –  but this dressing packs a punch. Simple, clean flavours of everything you would naturally have in your kitchen at all times. In salads I now use Himalayan pink salt, but if you’re using table salt, you may need to use less. 

All the seasonings are according to individual preferences. You want to add more or less of anything, yoghurt, salt, pepper, garlic, feel free. Though this is the bare minimum of yoghurt you should use. Don’t reduce the yoghurt, can make more but not less. This is just what I use. I make this salad with my homemade mayonnaise too, and it comes out as well. There’s very little difference in flavour between the more calorific mayonnaise and the yoghurt, thanks to the garlic and the lime and the pepper which flavour the low calorie dressing beautifully. 

Chicken Caesar

Since I have no fancy breads at home, I make do with my humble multigrain slice for the croutons in the salad because face it, what’s a Caesar’s salad without croutons! I don’t butter or oil it however, it will absorb enough from the dressing anyway. This salad has no iceberg lettuce as I find it extremely bland and tasteless. I’ve added green lettuce and Lollo Rosso here. All in all, I’m pretty pleased with it. 

Ingredients (Serves 1)

Dressing

1½ heaped tablespoons thick yoghurt (40 grams)
¼ tsp garlic paste (4 gms)
¼ tsp salt (2 gms) I used Himalayan pink salt
6 turns of cracked black pepper from a pepper mill (1gm)
1½ tsp lemon juice

Salad 

1 chicken breast + pinch of salt and pepper + 1 tsp oil
8 small and medium leaves of Romaine lettuce 
1 leaf green lettuce 
2 leaves Lollo Rosso lettuce 
1 slice of multigrain bread or any bread of choice for your croutons
1 wedge of parmesan cheese + a vegetable peeler

Get Started (pictorial steps below)

  • Wash the lettuce well and dry out the moisture with paper towels or napkins. 
  • Combine all the ingredients under “dressing”, mix well and set aside.
  • Lightly sprinkle a pinch of salt and cracked black pepper on both sides of the chicken breast. Heat the oil on a pan on medium and place the chicken breast on it for 1.5 minutes. Then turn the chicken breast over and keep for 1.5 minutes. Then turn the gas on to the lowest setting, cover the pan with a lid and keep it for 4 minutes. Then place it on a chopping board to rest for at least 10 minutes.  
  • After that, cut the chicken breast into 1 cm cubes. I find it easier to eat in smaller pieces. Less cutting required while eating. 
  • If you don’t have fancy breads at home, make a slice of multigrain toast in your toaster then place it in an oven that was heated for 5 minutes then turned off. Keep the toast in the oven for about 10 minutes. Place the bread in the oven after the heat has been turned off. This will give it that additional crunch. Then break it into small pieces about 1 cm.
  • Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces and keep in a large bowl. Add the chicken and the pieces of toast. Pour in the dressing and toss well with two forks till the dressing has coated everything evenly. 
  • Place the salad on a serving plate or bowl and shave strips of parmesan cheese with the vegetable peeler and place all over the salad. 
  • Eat immediately.

Important Notes: In summer wash the salad leaves with ice cold water else the leaves will wilt faster than you know it. Rocket leaves especially are a soggy mess especially in the Indian summer and cannot be kept in the refrigerator for too many days.

Pictorial Steps:

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