Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Salad gets a touch of sparkling cider

By Elaine Magee
Knight Ridder News Service

Q. I love to order Caesar salad in restaurants, and I would love to make a lighter version quickly at home. Any suggestions?

A. You aren't the only one ordering Caesar salads in restaurants — I'm pretty sure it is the most popular restaurant salad.

To lighten this popular salad, I created homemade, oil-free croutons, used Egg Beaters instead of raw egg in the dressing and here's a little "quick to fix" dressing secret: Choose a Caesar dressing you like (preferably one that uses canola oil, olive oil or soybean oil), even if it contains beaucoup grams of fat, then blend 1/4 cup of the dressing with 1/4 cup of sparkling apple juice (I find bottled dressing too thick anyway) and you've got half the fat in a dressing that's still delicious.

To make this more of a meal, add strips of broiled or barbecued chicken breast (boneless and skinless). In restaurant chicken Caesar salads, the chicken is usually breaded and fried and then cut into strips.

Original recipe (with chicken) contains around 500 calories, 31 g fat, 79 mg cholesterol per serving.

Chicken Caesar Salad

Oil-free croutons:

  • 4 slices sourdough bread (or 8 slices baguette), cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • Olive oil nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  • 1/4 cup regular bottled Caesar dressing (i.e. Girard's Caesar Dressing)
  • 1/4 cup sparkling apple cider (regular apple juice can also be used)


  • 8 cups of Caesar salad greens (1 Caesar salad bag — available in the produce section of your grocery store, or 1 large head romaine lettuce, inner leaves only; torn into bite-size pieces)
  • 3 tablespoons shredded parmesan
  • 2 chicken breasts — cut into 1/2-inch strips, boneless and skinless, broiled or barbecued (see note)

If making the oil-free croutons, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Spray the top of the bread with nonstick cooking spray. Flip the bread over and spray again. In a small cup, blend the cheese, garlic powder and pepper, and sprinkle evenly over the bread. Bake until the croutons are golden brown and crisp all the way through (about 5 to 10 minutes). Let cool.

In a small bowl, whisk the Caesar salad dressing with the apple cider; set aside.

Place the lettuce in a large serving bowl and top with the croutons, 3 tablespoons parmesan, then the chicken breast strips.

Drizzle the dressing over the top and gently toss to blend well. Serve.

Makes 4 servings

• Note: To broil chicken breasts, preheat broiler, then spray both sides of each chicken breast with canola or olive oil cooking spray. Lightly sprinkle both sides of chicken with a total of about 1-2 teaspoons of Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper (or similar salt-free seasoning blend). Broil each side about 4-6 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and cooked throughout. Let cool, then slice into 1/2-inch strips.

• Per serving: 270 calories, 20.5 g protein, 18 g carbohydrate, 12 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 46 mg cholesterol, 2.5 g fiber, 485 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 40 percent. Weight Watchers points, 6.

Elaine Magee is author of "The Recipe Doctor Cookbook" and "The Flax Cookbook." Write to her through www.recipedoctor.com. Personal responses cannot be provided.