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Healthier Grilled Caesar Salad Recipe

Char-grilled lettuce and a lighter vinaigrette dressing change everything.
Healthier Grilled Caesar Salad RecipeMitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

Caesar salad may be the most misleading food in America—it’s the type of dish you order when you want to be good to your body, only to find out it’s eating up half of your day’s calories. This recipe transforms the high-calorie dressing into a lighter vinaigrette and adds substance, flavor, and nutrition in the form of sun-dried tomatoes and olives. Think of this as the Caesar salad, reimagined.

Nutrition: 410 calories, 29 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 610 mg sodium

Serves 4

You’ll Need

Dressing

2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
2 anchovies (soak in milk for 10 minutes if you want to mellow the flavor)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
6–8 turns of a black- pepper mill
1⁄2 cup olive oil

Salad

4 hearts of romaine
2 English muffins, split
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6–8 oz each)
Olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
¼ cup black or green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan

How to Make It

  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Combine all the dressing ingredients except the oil in a food processor, and pulse to blend. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil.
  3. Cut the romaine down the middle lengthwise, leaving the root end intact so the leaves hold together.
  4. Brush the romaine, English muffins, and chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  5. When the grill is hot, add the chicken and grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side until firm and caramelized. Remove the chicken and allow to rest.
  6. Place the lettuce and English muffins on the grill. Cook the lettuce for 1 to 2 minutes, just enough to lightly char and wilt the leaves.
  7. Cook the English muffins until brown and crispy.
  8. Slice the chicken into thin strips.
  9. Cut the muffins into bite-size pieces.
  10. Arrange both, along with the olives and sun-dried tomatoes, over the individual lettuce halves. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with cheese.

Eat This Tip

Grill Outside the Box

Seem strange to grill lettuce? How about potatoes? Or even peaches? Truth is, there are very few fresh foods that don’t benefit from the char of a fiery grill. The concentrated heat teases out the natural sugars in food, which in turn creates caramelization (i.e., those nice grill marks) and extra layers of flavor. Test out the theory: Place a bunch of grapes directly over a low flame, and turn a few times until soft (but still holding their shape). Toss with toasted almonds, feta, and baby spinach. You can thank us later.

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