Are you looking for the perfect healthy salad recipe? This Whole30 Chicken & Bacon Caesar Salad is made with crunchy romaine lettuce, crispy crumbled bacon, tangy Whole30 compliant homemade Caesar dressing, fresh summer tomatoes, soft boiled eggs, nutritional yeast, and cracked black pepper, then topped with grilled chicken breasts cooked on my new Ninja Foodi Grill. It’s an awesome high protein, Whole30, Paleo, Low Carb, and Gluten Free salad!This recipe and post were made in partnership with Ninja. All opinions are my own.
Let me start off by saying that I’ve always, always been obsessed with Caesar Salad. Growing up, I was probably the only 7 year old who ordered it at restaurants. The crunchy croutons, the parmesan cheese, the tangy dressing.. I loved it SO MUCH. But as an adult living a mostly Paleo lifestyle, it was a dish that mostly fell off my radar. I mean, what’s even the point of a Caesar salad without cheese and croutons, right? Wrong. A few weeks ago, my husband mentioned to me that he hadn’t had a Caesar salad in ages. “Of course you haven’t,” I said, “I haven’t made one for you!” Because of our schedules, I do about 99.99% of the cooking in our family, so generally, if I don’t cook it, we don’t eat it.
His comment made me start to crave a healthier version of the Caesar salad I always loved– one that tastes amazing but doesn’t make us feel like junk. It was fate, then, that the doorbell happened to ring right at that moment with a very special delivery — a gift from my pals at Ninja, their brand spanking new Foodi Grill!
Challenging myself to make a healthy Whole30 Chicken & Bacon Caesar salad seemed like the perfect occasion to break it in! I just LOVE trying out new kitchen gadgets, and I was really looking forward to this one. It’s cool because it replaces the need for a grill, a dehydrator, an air fryer, and a countertop oven, which is totally perfect for our life right now. I’m serious! Our outdoor space consists of a tiny balcony with zero room for a grill, and we’re short on indoor storage space in the kitchen, too! I guess that 1300 square feet might sound like a mansion by NYC standards, but to us country folk, it feels very… well, let’s call it cozy, shall we?
In just a matter of days, the Ninja Foodi Grill has climbed to the very top of my must-have cooking tools list. It grills perfectly (indoors!) and delivers a delicious crispy finish. I’ve been searing, sizzling, and air frying pretty much everything since the moment I got it. And here’s something else I found that works great in my busy world – it’s really, really, ridiculously easy to clean. I do NOT have the time to painstakingly clean out appliances, especially grill grates and things that splatter – but this has dishwasher safe attachments and a grease trap, so clean up is always a snap!
Do I have to marinate my chicken?
I always recommend marinating chicken breasts for at least 30 minutes, up to an hour. You can skip it, sure, but chicken breasts are kind of blah in the flavor department without it. The marinade helps infuse some flavor, so if time allows, you should definitely marinate your chicken.
Are Anchovies Really in Caesar Salad Dressing?
Yes, but not always. I know not everybody loves the idea at first, but anchovies are so important to giving layers of savory flavor to your Caesar Salad Dressing. If the recipe called for Worcestershire sauce, anchovies are often not included, but since anchovies are Whole30 compliant and Worcestershire sauce is not compliant, you definitely want to include them when you make this recipe at home. You can substitute anchovy paste if you’d like, but I prefer canned anchovies in oil. Just trust me on this one.
Okay, back to the recipe! I really think that eating clean should taste great and make you feel great, but I’m on a mission to recreate all the happy feelings I associate with the classic dishes I love, too. I’ve learned a few tips and tricks over the years that have given me a lot of confidence in Paleo substitutions in recipes. To make a Paleo / Whole30 Caesar Salad that gives me all the feels of the classic dish, there were a few important changes to be made. First, instead of the classic croutons, I substituted crunchy nitrate-free and sugar-free bacon. Salty, crispy, crunchy, perfect! Instead of parmesan cheese in the dressing and on top of the salad, nutritional yeast is an awesome nutty, cheesy swap! Be encouraged, as you get more comfortable cooking with Paleo recipes, you’ll find the things that work for you, too!
Nothing makes me happier than when I see my recipes made by YOU in your homes. Are you going to make this Chicken & Bacon Caesar Salad for your next Whole30? Let me know in the comments below, and if you share on Instagram, I’d love to see it! Be sure to tag me @cookathomemom!
Now make sure you save this delightfully healthy, Whole30 Grilled Chicken & Bacon Caesar Salad recipe!
Chicken & Bacon Caesar Salad
Whole30, Paleo, Gluten Free, Low Carb
Marinated Chicken Breasts
- 1 lb chicken breasts
- 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
Whole30 Caesar Dressing
- 2/3 cup mayo
- 4 anchovies in oil
- 2 small cloves garlic
- 2.5 tbsp lemon juice about 1 lemon
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp coconut aminos
- 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Salad & Toppings
- 8 cups romaine lettuce
- 4 eggs soft or hard boiled
- 8 oz. sugar free bacon cooked
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast
Prepare the Chicken Breasts
Put one chicken breast inside a ziplock bag or between two sheets of parchment paper. Gently pound the chicken using a meat tenderizer or heavy rolling pin until it's even in thickness. Repeat for the other chicken breasts.
Whisk together the marinade ingredients and pour it over the chicken, turning to coat. Marinate for 30-60 minutes.
Turn your grill to medium and allow to preheat. Add the chicken breasts to the grill, cooking for about 12 minutes, turning once. Remove from the heat and let the chicken rest before slicing.
Prepare the Salad Toppings
Wash and chop the lettuce. Cook the bacon and allow it to cool, then roughtly chop it. Boil the eggs however you like them and slice them into halves or quarters.
Make the Caesar Salad Dressing
Using an immersion blender set to low, mix together all the ingredients OR smash the garlic clove and finely chop the anchovies, then whisk all ingredients together in a bowl.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep it covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Assemble the Salad
Divide the lettuce among four large bowls. Top each bowl with nutritional yeast, salad dressing, chicken, eggs, and bacon. Sprinkle each salad with cracked black pepper and enjoy!
*For a low carb / keto option, simply omit the tomatoes.
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Are you looking for more Chicken recipes? Check out my recipe for Low Carb Spaghetti Squash, Pesto & Chicken Casserole!