Southwest Grilled Chicken Caesar

The Simple Art of EatingWell

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In this Southwestern spin on the classic Caesar salad, avocado stands in for raw egg and some of the oil in this rich, creamy dressing. Grilled spice-rubbed chicken makes it satisfying.

Southwest Grilled Chicken Caesar

Makes: 4 servings, about 3 cups each

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  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, tenders removed (see Tips)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder, divided
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 avocado, diced, divided
  • 1/2 cup shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
  • 10 cups chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 cup croutons, preferably whole-wheat


  1. Preheat grill to high.
  2. Pound chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap with a meat mallet to an even 3/4-inch thickness. Combine 1 teaspoon each cumin and chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt; sprinkle on the chicken.
  3. Oil the grill rack (see Tips). Grill the chicken until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
  4. Puree half the avocado, 1/4 cup cheese, anchovies, water, lemon juice, oil, garlic, pepper and the remaining cumin, chili powder and salt in a food processor until smooth. Gently toss with romaine, croutons, the remaining avocado and cheese in a large bowl. Serve topped with the grilled chicken.

Tips & Notes

  • Tips: It’s difficult to find an individual chicken breast small enough for one portion. Removing the thin strip of meat from the underside of a 5-ounce breast—the chicken tender—removes about 1 ounce of meat and yields a perfect 4-ounce portion. Wrap and freeze the tenders and when you have gathered enough, use them in a stir-fry or for oven-baked chicken fingers.
  • Oiling a grill rack before you grill foods helps ensure that the food won’t stick. Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to coat the food with cooking spray.


Per serving: 360 calories; 21 g fat (5 g sat, 10 g mono); 66 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 1 g added sugars; 27 g protein; 8 g fiber; 751 mg sodium; 777 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (215% daily value), Vitamin C (63% dv), Folate (55% dv), Potassium (21% dv), Calcium (18% dv), Iron (16%)

Carbohydrate Servings: 1

Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 2 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 3 fat

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