You know how salad never tastes even remotely the same at home as it does in a restaurant? You can do all the Pinteresting and specialty shopping you want, and nothing will taste like a perfect steak house salad. And it is even worse for those of us who are limited in what we like in our salads! (Think croutons, meat, and cheese! ha ha) My favorite salad for many years as been the Chicken Caesar Salad from Applebees–without the dressing (I know….I eat like a ten year old!) and with CRISPY chicken rather than grilled. (I do love grilled chicken, and as soon as my new Intermittent Fasting course is up and live, I am going to share my amazing oven grilled chicken marinade recipe….want to get some new pics for it!) But no matter what I did, I couldn’t duplicate at home. They have amazing sour dough croutons that aren’t airy or break-your-teeth hard. They are juuuuust right. They have the crispest Romaine. Perfect salad cheese. Yes, I am craving it right now!
So I have been on a mission for some time to duplicate some of that deliciousness—at home, with fewer carbs, and more “real foods.” And here we are…..
It’s a loose recipe with no dressing (sorry….can’t help you out on that one for this recipe since I don’t like dressing!)….but the secrets are perfectly crisped chicken and amazingly crunchy croutons. And I do BOTH of these in my air fryer!
Here are some tips:
2) Crispy chicken is dependent upon the dipping and breading–follow instructions below for both. The breading should be coarser if you want crispy (think High Protein cereal or crustless, toasted low carb bread crumbs or pork rinds).
3) Croutons burn quickly in the air fryer. Watch them closely. They will continue to crisp after you remove them from the fryer.
4) Buy organic Romaine heads (Dirty Dozen!), clean thoroughly, cut with scissors, leave in colander to drain. Very clean, a little damp, and perfect sizes make the best Caesar type salads.
5) Use a fresh block of Parmesan cheese that you SHAVE rather than shred. It really does make the salad so much better. (In a pinch, I use a 6 Cheese Italian Salad bag from Kraft.)
6) Put your chicken on hot. It is so much better when it is hot and crispy!
- Cut Romaine and place on pie plate. (We do all of our salads for the two of us on pie plates---can spread out toppings among the greens better!)
- Shave Parmesan and sprinkle with pepper and seasoning blend if desired.
- Snip chicken across salad while still warm. (I use kitchen shears for this.)
- Top with croutons.
- Pour dressing of your choice!