Grilled chicken caesar salad sandwich recipe is the best of both worlds

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwich

active time:30 minutes

total time:45 minutes


active time:30 minutes

total time:45 minutes


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When I pull out the charcoal grill on a Sunday afternoon, I often cook a variety of proteins and vegetables, so we can make meals from them all week long. This assortment always includes chicken.

I love the smoky flavor that the grill provides, and poultry is so versatile. I can eat it hot. Or, later in the week, I can chop it up into a chicken salad or slice it and toss it with crisp greens or slip it into a quesadilla for a quick meal.

At the moment, this dish is my favorite way to eat fresh chicken off the grill because it turns all the delicious parts of the famous Chicken Caesar salad into a sandwich you can pick up and nibble on.

Boneless, skinless chicken thighs — or breasts, if you prefer — get a short, quick marinade with oil, mustard, and garlic powder before grilling. You can cook the protein in a grill pan or in the oven, if you prefer.

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Then crunchy lettuce or lettuce is generously tossed with homemade Caesar dressing. You can use your favorite store-bought brand, if you’re in a hurry, but these are very easy to make—and so much better.

It calls out common ingredients you’d likely have at home, including fresh garlic, Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, honey, pepper, and olive oil. I like to include mashed anchovies, but that’s optional.

So, you ask, why not just make a salad?

Maybe it’s just me, but I think the best bites of a Caesar salad are the ones that include a little chicken, a topping of greens and a healthy dose of crunch from garlic toast.

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What makes a sandwich a little longer than a salad is that you get that combo in every bite.

To mimic the toast, at the end, I like to brush the inside of thin ciabatta rolls with some sauce, then grill on both sides until the bread is nice and golden. This way, rolls can represent toast—usually a supporting role—in a big, crunchy way.

Try it and tell me what you think.

Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwich

storage: Refrigerate chicken and sauce separately, up to 3 days. Leave the dressing at room temperature for 10 minutes and shake vigorously to incorporate again.

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  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds total)
  • 4 anchovy fillets, drained and mashed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or finely grated
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce such as crystal, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 to 12 large lettuce leaves, washed and cut into small pieces
  • 4 ciabatta rolls
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)
  • Cornice for serving (optional)

In an airtight container large enough to hold the chicken, whisk together the oil, mustard, and garlic powder. Add the chicken and stir until well covered. Cover and leave on the counter for 10 minutes or refrigerate overnight.

Make the salad dressing: While chicken is seasoning, in a medium bowl, whisk together anchovies, garlic, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, hot sauce, honey, and pepper until well blended. Slowly add the oil in a steady stream, continuing to whisk until the sauce becomes an emulsifier. Taste, and adjust seasonings to taste (see Storage).

When you’re ready to cook, prepare a gas or charcoal grill for direct heat grilling or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Place the chicken, with the marinade still attached, on the grill or grill pan. Cook, without moving the chicken, until it shows grill marks, about 5 minutes. Flip and cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the chicken’s internal temperature registers 165 degrees on a quick-read thermometer.

Lightly brush the insides of the ciabatta rolls with some of the seasoning and place the cut side down on the grill pan or hot grill until lightly browned. (You can grill both sides of the rolls if you like.)

When you’re ready to make your sandwiches, in a large bowl, mix the romaine with 1/2 cup of the sauce until well coated. Place a piece of chicken on the bottom half of each roll, cover with a generous portion of the seasoned romaine and add the grated cheese, if using.

Cover with each roll, and serve with a cornice on the side, if desired.

Calories: 745 Total Fat: 53 g; saturated fat: 10 g; cholesterol: 189 mg; Sodium: 1,087 mg; carbohydrates: 30 g; Dietary fiber: 5 g; sugar: 4 g; Protein: 42 grams

This analysis is an estimate based on the ingredients available and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietician or dietician.

From Recipe Editor Anne Maloney.

Tested by Anne Maloney; Email questions to

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