Saturday, February 25

Baked Chicken & Romaine Hearts Caesar Salad

Something is so wrong about roasting lettuce in the oven. And yet something is so right about it.

Something is so wrong about dressing the chicken in a salad and leaving the lettuce scantily clad (ooh la la). And yet... something is soooo right about it.

It's like 65 degree days in the winter. Or watching Dance Moms. Or playing QI or LA in Words with Friends. You know there's something off about it; but it's still just awesome when it happens.

I love salads. I could eat big, vegetable packed, leafy, colorful salads all the time. And love it. And I think the only issue that I would ever encounter would be the lack of warmth in the winter. Sometimes you just need a hot meal, ya know? 

Problem. Solved.

Baked romaine hearts have so much more flavor than their raw counterparts. They soften and become almost juicy. The ends of the lettuce crisp in contrast. When eaten with the Caesar chicken the flavors combine in a way that's much better than Caesar salad as it should be. Or as it USED to be.

Everything in this dish is baked on one sheet pan for easy cleanup. The most mess that you will make is in breading the chicken. Your dishwasher will thank you.

And so will your mouth....

Soundtrack: You're listening to the boiler room...

Baked Chicken and Romaine Hearts Caesar Salad
Serves 3-4
Inspired by Bon Appetit

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 1/2 tbsp EVOO
2 tbsp chopped Italian parsley
2 garlic cloves, chopped, divided
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 c cherry tomatoes
10-15 pitted kalamata olives
2 hearts of romaine lettuce, halved lengthwise
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
lemon, cut into wedges

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie or baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a medium shallow bowl, combine Pecorino, panko, EVOO, parsley, and 1 clove garlic. Press chicken into the breading mixture to coat (press hard so that it will stick). Lay each piece of chicken out on the baking sheet, leaving space for a piece of romaine between each. Intersperse the strips of red bell pepper between the chicken. Roast for about 15 minutes, or until panko begins to turn golden brown.

Meanwhile, give the romaine hearts a very light drizzle with EVOO. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. 

After the 15 minutes, remove baking sheet from oven. Add lettuce, tomatoes, and olives, being careful to place the tomatoes and olives in places where they will not roll of the sheet into the oven. 

Place the entire sheet back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes. 

Remove from oven and plate each piece of romaine with a piece of chicken and a portion of the roasted veggies. Before serving, use 1 lemon wedge to drizzle juice over the entire salad. Serve while still hot.


  1. Never did lettuce in the oven but I love it on the grill! I will have to try it this way, thanks!

  2. Of course! You should definitely give it a try. I think it makes for a softer heart and then most of the crisp stays in the end and feels more dry than grilled lettuce. Could just be me though!