Super Green BBQ Chicken Caesar Salad

August 14, 2016

BBQ Chicken Caesar Salad

Regular readers will know that I had to get a personal trainer because being a food writer made me fat. Or rather, I made myself fat being a food writer. When I first started he asked me to keep a food diary, to which I responded, “boy, are you in for a shock.”

At the time I was judging an afternoon tea competition, which required me to eat six teas a week for a couple of months. I’ve never seen anyone’s mouth drop open so fast (except perhaps mine every time I walk into the kitchen and see the peanut butter banana bread I’ll be posting about next week).

Grill the spring onions and broccoli too.

Grill the spring onions and broccoli too.

Every now and again he still says something like, “so, how’s the food going?” to which I respond, “um, yeah fine” because I really don’t know what else to say. How do I tell him that I started the day with a cheese börek from the Turkish food centre, spent the day testing recipes, which meant I ate two lunches and then I’m out for dinner because I’m working on an area guide?

Yeah I know, you’re jealous. Well, let me tell you that actually, eating a lot is hard. Often I just want to sit in bed and slurp instant noodles while watching Netflix.

And sometimes, I just want to eat a salad.

Crisp chicken skin is an important salad ingredient.

Crisp chicken skin is an important salad ingredient.

I made this salad on Snapchat last week and loads of people asked for the recipe. It barely resembles a traditional Caesar but really, who cares? The chicken is cooked on the BBQ because that’s fun and tastes great, but we’ve also had it just grilled or bashed thin then fried in a skillet. We add Tenderstem broccoli because I’m obsessed with it and also because this salad is a celebration of green things. I love the flavours of Caesar but really it’s just a load of lettuce in a bowl. This, my friends, is more satisfying.

Making the dressing.

Making the dressing.

Finally, no mayo here because I just find it gross in dressings, coating the back of your throat like engine oil. Grim. Yoghurt is fresher and combined with garlic, Parmesan and anchovies, makes a really lovely, rich yet sharp dressing.

Oh, one more thing – there’s a lot of garlic here, so I wouldn’t advise eating this before, say, a meeting, or indeed any human contact. Big flavours are what makes healthy-ish food work for me – it’s basically the opposite of energy balls, obscure flours and the milking of things which have no teats (see: almonds). I’m all about balancing salads with banana bread, and I’m about hitting a gym where the trainer kicks my ass so hard I sweat from my eyelids.

A simpler version of the salad with pan-fried chicken.

A simpler version of the salad with pan-fried chicken.

Super Green BBQ Chicken Caesar Salad

This serves two for a massive lunch that’ll make you feel like a total boss in the nutrition department.

For the dressing

4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 scant teaspoon sea salt
5 anchovy fillets
100g grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice ½ lemon (but reserve the other half)
3-5 tablespoons natural yoghurt

For the chicken

4 chicken thighs, boneless (I leave the skin on because again, I’m not wasting chicken skin for the sake of saving calories)
Salt and pepper

For the salad

6 spring onions
200g Tenderstem broccoli
2 little gem lettuces, leaves separated

Prepare a BBQ for direct cooking.

Open out the chicken thighs and give them a little bash if needed to make them the same thickness all over. We used skewers to fan them out too as you can see from the photos. When it’s ready, rub the spring onions and broccoli with a little oil and salt and pepper, and grill under tender and slightly charred (5-10 minutes).

Set aside while you cook the chicken. Season and cook over direct heat, turning every so often, until cooked through – around 20 minutes depending on the size of the thighs.

In a pestle and mortar, bash up the garlic with a pinch of salt. Add in the anchovy fillets and mush them up too. Add about half the cheese, mush it up then add the yoghurt. Stir in the rest of the cheese, plus the oil and lemon juice. Check for seasoning and balance – add more lemon juice or some black pepper if you want it.

Mix the lettuce leaves and a heaped tablespoon of the dressing in a large bowl then mix with hands. Do the same thing with the Tenderstem and spring onions.

Arrange on a plate and top with the chicken and a bit more of the dressing to taste.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Alicia (foodycat) August 14, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    I like the look of this! Although faintly disappointing because at first glance I thought it was crab, not grated cheese in the mortar and now I want crab dressing on everything.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves August 15, 2016 at 7:00 am

      The title didn’t give it away? 😉

      • Avatar
        Reply Alicia (foodycat) August 15, 2016 at 7:41 am

        Crab and chicken is nice together! But no – I obviously phased out with the reading comprehension part.

  • Avatar
    Reply Andy K August 14, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    Ooh I am making this because (a) I love a yoghurty dressing but I’ve never thought of Caesarising it and (b) your crab fried rice is literally the best recipe I’ve ever followed.

    One question though – d1ckhead alert – does 100g of grated Parmesan weigh more or less than 100g ungrated?

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves August 15, 2016 at 7:00 am

      Hi Andy! I’m really pleased you’re liking the recipes. Um, I suppose it does *more or less* – I really wouldn’t worry about it. We just forgot to weigh it before so then had to do it grated, sorry!

  • Avatar
    Reply Fi KP August 15, 2016 at 12:54 pm

    BRAVO NO MAYO. Down with it I say. Foul unguent.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves August 15, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      Haha! Not even in sandwiches? You gotta have it in sandwiches, Fi. Surely? (here though BLEEEUUUUURGHGHHGHGHGHGHGH)

  • Avatar
    Reply Mabbs August 15, 2016 at 7:24 pm


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    Reply Deborah August 17, 2016 at 1:21 am

    Love that Tenderstem broc too, and it’s good alone with that yogurt dressing; I put it in everything lately, bean soups, frittatas, you name it! Now I have a salad to add it to, thanks.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves August 17, 2016 at 7:04 pm

      I honestly can’t get enough of it. It’s got such a lovely sweetness and I love the bite of those stems – much better than regular broccoli which is all head and no stem.

  • Avatar
    Reply Kate August 18, 2016 at 7:59 am

    I made it, I loved it, I’m already plotting the next one. Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Reply Mabbs August 21, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    I LOVE CAESAR SALAD but they’re usually super pungent and mayo-y, blarf. Love the yoghurt idea.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves August 22, 2016 at 7:48 am

      Yeah, it’s too much in a dressing. Makes me honestly feel queasy.

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