Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad with Tomatoes and Burrata.
This Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad with Tomatoes and Burrata is not your ordinary salad. Grilled or pan-seared pesto chicken tossed together with a creamy, lemony parmesan tahini dressing, fresh romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and burrata cheese. This salad is simple to toss together, extra colorful, super flavorful, filling, and even healthy too. Enjoy this for dinner and save the leftovers for lunch the next day. It’s pretty hard for a salad to get more delicious than this herby pesto chicken Caesar. The perfect dinner to serve any night of the week all summer long.
I’ve been thinking of my Nonnie often lately and missing our time together. I may have shared this story before, but I thought it was worth repeating.
For the longest time, I steered clear of all things Caesar salad. Way back when I was twelve I had a rather bad experience with Caesar Salad. I was out to lunch with my Nonnie, something the two of us would often do on weekends. We’d shop, grab lunch, then most likely shop a little more. It was something we both really enjoyed and I always looked forward to. Since her passing, it’s a memory I often look back on and cherish.
Me being the very odd child that I was, I decided to order a Caesar salad…
Two things I need to note. One, normally my Nonnie chose rather nice places to eat out. But this time we were at a Champs (which ended up closing) in Westlake, Ohio. It was a new spot, but I wouldn’t say it was the nicest place she’d ever taken me too.
Two, seeing that as I was only twelve, I didn’t know that a classic Caesar salad contained raw eggs in the dressing. I also didn’t understand that this might not be the right lunch spot to order a Caesar salad. Long story short, the salad ended up all over the floor of my Nonnie’s car on the ride home. It was not pretty. Yep, I was pretty much scarred for life…I’ve never had a classic Caesar salad since. Well…
At this point in my life, I think I’d surely eat a Caesar salad, but…I’d rather eat my own. I love creating my own version with a fun Caesar-like dressing that’s raw egg-free! I know, some will say that I cannot truly call this a Caesar salad then, but it’s close enough for me.
And most importantly? It’s GOOD. Very. GOOD.
The details on this pesto chicken Ceasar salad…
Start with the croutons. Every Caesar-like salad needs crunchy croutons. I love making mine with torn ciabatta bread and lots of garlic plus flaky sea salt. I crisp them up in a little olive oil in a skillet. It’s very easy to do and they’re definitely worth the effort to make as opposed to using store-bought.
The salad itself has plenty of fresh greens. I like using a mix of romaine and shredded Tuscan kale, fresh
cherry tomatoes, lots of herbs, and creamy burrata cheese too. If you have a hard time finding burrata, I would recommend using fresh mozzarella balls.
Onto the chicken. I kept it easy, yet flavorful at the same time, by simply tossing the chicken with basil pesto. Using pesto is my go-to way to add delicious flavor, but keep the recipe easy as can be. Right now I’m loving making basil pesto with all the fresh basil we’re currently growing in the summer garden (which was thankfully protected from Tuesday’s snow in the greenhouse).
Since the weather is nice now (I mean, except for Tuesday). I decided to skewer the chicken and throw it on the grill. Grilled chicken adds that summer touch, and I love the flavor and char the chicken gets from the grill. That said, if you don’t love grilling, you can easily cook the chicken up in a skillet.
On to that creamy parmesan dressing…
This is truly one of my favorite dressings. I’ve used it before in this kale salad and I’m repeating here because it’s really just that good.
Now, a few notes on this dressing, because it’s not a classic Caesar dressing. Traditionally, Caesar dressing contains anchovies and raw egg yolk, but this dressing has none of that. I know, technically this really isn’t a Caesar salad, but hear me out. The flavors are spot on…actually better in my opinion.
So what’s the key? A combination of creamy tahini (sesame seed paste), Dijon mustard, and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce (did you know that one of the main ingredients in Worcestershire is anchovies?). The tahini adds the creaminess that the raw egg yolk would add, while the Dijon and Worcestershire sauce add all the savory, salty flavors that the anchovies would add. Promise, it’s just as delicious…better actually.
Bonus? No raw eggs means you don’t have to worry about any kind of stomach issues while enjoying this Caesar. As mentioned, I know from experience how not-fun it is to eat a Caesar salad that’s delicious going down…but not so delicious coming back up.
Put it all together…
Once the salad is tossed, and the chicken grilled, combine everything in a large bowl and top with burrata cheese.
Is cheese traditional? Nope. But let’s just be honest, adding burrata cheese is always a good idea. It’s mozzarella cheese on the outside and creamy burrata cheese inside. Delicious. And I especially love burrata paired with summer cherry tomatoes and basil. The mix is light and refreshing, yet still feels satisfying and exciting.
This is truly one of those salads you’ll be excited to serve. It’s full of color, flavor, texture, pesto chicken, homemade croutons…and the creamy burrata really seals the deal. This salad would be great for Father’s Day or the 4th of July!
Looking for other summer salads? Here are a few of my go-to’s.
Lastly, if you make this pesto chicken Caesar salad with tomatoes and burrata, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Pesto Chicken Caesar Salad with Tomatoes and Burrata
Definitely not your everyday salad. Delicious, easy to throw together, egg-free, colorful, healthy, and filling!
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 cups torn ciabatta bread
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size chunks
- 1/2 cup basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
- red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and black pepper
- 6 cups shredded romaine lettuce
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 8 ounces burrata cheese, at room temperature
- fresh herbs, for serving, such as chives, thyme, and basil
PARMESAN TAHINI DRESSING
1. To make the croutons. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the bread and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden and toasted all over, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with salt. Slide bread crumbs onto a plate, discard the garlic.
2.To make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper.
3. To make the chicken. In a bowl, combine the chicken, pesto, crushed red pepper flakes, and a large pinch of salt. Set your grill, grill pan or skillet to medium-high heat. Take skewers and thread the chicken pieces on. Alternately, you can cook the chicken in a skillet until browned all over.
4. Grill the skewers until lightly charred and cooked through, turning them occasionally throughout cooking, about 10 to 12 minutes total.
6. Assemble the salad. Add the romaine, tomatoes, croutons, chicken, croutons, and dressing. Toss to combine. Once the salad has been tossed, top with burrata, drizzle with oil, season with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.
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