This crispy chicken kale caesar salad isn’t your average caesar salad! It’s made with a base of kale, radicchio, and roasted butternut squash, and then topped with our homemade crispy chicken breasts all tossed together in a deliciously creamy caesar dressing.
We’re here to change your minds about caesar salads not being veggie-packed! Our crispy chicken kale caesar salad features our super creamy homemade dressing, and a base of kale and radicchio tossed with roasted butternut squash.
This hearty, nutrient dense salad is one that I love serving as a main dish. It’s super flavorful and can be partially prepped ahead of time — which is something I’m always looking for in recipes to make on weeknights as a busy mom of 2.
What You Need for Crispy Chicken Kale Caesar Salad
Kale and radicchio: chopped kale and radicchio makes for a hearty and flavorful base to this salad.
Butternut squash: you’ll cube the squash and roast it before tossing in the salad. It adds a sweet and rich flavor.
Chicken breast: we’re using 1 lb. of boneless skinless breast pounded super thin, and then egg washed and breaded with panko and parmesan before being pan fried to crispy perfection.
Caesar dressing: we used our homemade dressing recipe, but feel free to sub 1:1 for your favorite store-bought caesar.
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Substitutions + Variations
Use a different protein: Have fun with this salad recipe and use a different protein! Try one of the following for starters:
Make it vegetarian: Hoping to keep this vegetarian? Simply remove the chicken breast.
Add more veggies: Why skimp on the veggies when you can truly pack them in? Add whatever you have in the fridge such as bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower or carrots.
Can’t find radicchio? You can use endive, red cabbage, or more kale.
Choosing a dressing: We made our homemade caesar dressing for this salad, but you can also use a store-bought Caesar dressing in a pinch.
Our Go To Caesar Salad Dressing
Our homemade Caesar salad dressing is seriously so good. It’s creamy, tangy, and easy to make. What sets ours apart? Our classic Caesar dressing swaps the raw egg yolk for mayonnaise and use some Greek yogurt. Here’s what you need:
Homemade Caesar Dressing
Make this simple homemade Caesar salad dressing recipe. It’s made without eggs and has a base of Greek yogurt and mayo, making it extra creamy!
This salad is best enjoyed right away when the chicken is crispiest! The chicken breading will lose its crunch and become a bit soggy as leftovers. Want to prepare this salad ahead of time? Follow our make ahead instructions below.
Make Ahead Instructions
This is such a great make-ahead salad recipe! We recommend preparing everything besides the chicken, and then storing the veggies and kale separately from the dressing.
When you’re ready to serve, cook the chicken, and then dice it into chunks. Then, toss everything together with the dressing. Enjoy!
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Crispy Chicken Kale Caesar Salad
- 4 cups chopped butternut squash cut into 1-inch cubes
- ¼ cup olive oil separated
- 2 teaspoons sea salt separated
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper separated
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 large eggs whisked
- 4 cups chopped kale deboned
- 1 small head radicchio rinsed and chopped
- ½ cup shaved parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup Caesar dressing we used this homemade dressing recipe
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF and spread the butternut squash out on a baking sheet. Toss the butternut squash with 1.5 tablespoons of olive oil. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper. Toss and bake for 25-30 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from the oven and let cool.
- While the squash is roasting, prepare the chicken. Place the chicken breasts onto a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap. Pound the chicken with a meat tenderizer until the chicken is about ½-inch thick.
- Add the panko and grated parmesan to a large bowl and mix and add the eggs to another bowl.
- Dredge each chicken breast through the egg mixture. Allow any excess egg wash to drop from the chicken breast. Then, dredge the chicken through the panko mixture until coated. Then repeat, until both chicken breasts have been double-dredged.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. When the olive oil is fragrant, add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown and the internal temperature of 165ºF. Remove from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- While the chicken rests, add the kale and ½ tablespoon of olive oil to a large salad bowl and massage until the kale has softened, about 1-2 minutes.
- Carefully cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add it to the bowl with the kale. Add the butternut squash, radicchio, and shaved parmesan cheese. Toss.
- Finally, add the caesar dressing to the salad and toss until all the ingredients are coated.
Tips & Notes
- The butternut squash can be replaced with sweet potatoes.
- If you are unable to find radicchio, you can use endive, red cabbage, or more kale.
- We made a homemade dressing, but you can also use a store-bought Caesar dressing.
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin from The Edible Perspective.