There’s nothing better than carbs and this lemon chicken caesar panzanella salad is the best salad I’ve had all summer. Plus there’s a hint of lemon!
What is Panzanella?
Panzanella is a type of Tuscan salad made with anchovies, chopped salad vegetables, and bread soaked in dressing.
Summer is all about sunshine, no schedule, lazy evenings and in my humble opinion, lots of good food. I love summer food and this is definitely the time of year that Cade loves to get inspired with food the most. Me too, of course, I mean who doesn’t enjoy a beautiful farmers market packet full of fresh produce, homemade goodies and lately food trucks galore.
I know, everyone’s probably getting a little tired of food truck talk but I love it. People are going after their dreams and making things happen. So cool! Cade and I recently had a really yummy chicken caesar salad and you guys, there was lemon zest all throughout it! It was bright, light, summery and so fresh. We also saw this blackened salmon Caesar salad so Cade insists we try it next.
Cade asked me if I could recreate a lemon chicken Caesar salad at home but while I was cooking up the croutons I got all excited about all of that bread and let myself get a tad carried away. A simple caesar salad turned into the most amazing lemon chicken Caesar panzanella salad and we are officially calling it the best salad of 2017. Period. Until we make this Fusilli Caesar salad and then it may be in a tie because pasts is sooooo one of our favorites.
How Do You Make Croutons?
Buy some great bread and let it sit on the counter for a few days, chop it up, drizzle with olive oil and bake it until crisp.
We like to add a sprinkle of salt too.
Let the bread cool completely.
Like seriously, you can’t rush it because it will be a soggy salad if you allow it to be even a little warm.
While it’s cooling go ahead and grill up your chicken breasts.
Nothing fancy, just olive oil, salt and pepper.
Allow this to cool and place in the fridge, covered.
And if you’re making homemade croutons why don’t you throw yourself into the kitchen and make this crazy yummy homemade Caesar dressing too! I love how thick and creamy it looks.
When you’re ready to assemble chop up the cold chicken, some Romaine lettuce for a nice, fresh crunch, and zest 1 lemon. Toss the bread, chicken and lettuce with a squeeze of lemon, zest, a drizzle of olive oil and the Caesar dressing. Now top with shavings of parmesan cheese and a crack of fresh black pepper and plop the whole bowl back in the fridge. Yes, you can eat it immediately, but it actually tastes even better an hour or two later. Too much longer and it will slowly start to break down but that bread holds up pretty nicely so don’t stress.
Best. Salad. This. Year.
Make it and tag us if you do, @ohsweetbasil #ohsweetbasil
Lemon Chicken Caesar Panzanella Salad
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Lemon Chicken Caesar Panzanella Salad
- 1 Small Loaf Italian Bread 2-3 days old and chopped in 1" cubes
- 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil plus more for chicken and salad
- 1 Cup Caesar Dressing or to taste
- 2 Chicken Breasts boneless, skinless
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 Lemon zested
- 1 Heart of Romaine chopped
- Parmesan Cheese shaved
- Heat a skillet to medium heat.
- Add the olive oil and some of the bread.
- Add a pinch of salt and toss to coat.
- Cook the bread until golden, stirring occasionally, about 10-15 minutes.
- Repeat until all the bread is cooked.
- Set aside on a platter to cool.
- Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat and drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper over each side of the chicken and then place in the pan.
- Turn down to medium and cook for 5-7 minutes per side or until cooked through.
- Remove to a plate to cool for a few minutes and then wrap in plastic wrap and set in the fridge.
- Once everything is cool,
- chop the chicken and place it all in a large bowl.
- Add lemon zest, one squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and lettuce.
- Add the dressing to taste and toss to coat.
- Top with parmesan and a fresh crack of black pepper.
- Set in the fridge to rest for an hour or two and serve!
One of our favorite recipes when company is coming to dinner is this simple Teriyaki Chicken Salad recipe.