This Crispy Cajun Caesar Salad recipe is Amazing! It’s LOADED with Spicy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders, a EASY Homemade Caesar Dressing and paired with Crisp Romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese and delicious Croutons! It makes such a delicious lunch or dinner salad!
What kind of lettuce is in Caesar Salad?
Romaine or sometimes known as cos lettuce is most commonly used for Caesar salad recipes. The lettuce has a long oblong shape. The outer lettuce leaves can sometimes be mildly bitter however the centre of the romaine lettuce tends to be sweeter in flavour.
Do you love croutons with salad? – Well try out my AMAZING QUICK & EASY RECIPE!
How to cut romaine lettuce for salad
The best way to cut romaine lettuce for a Caesar salad is to cut the tough bottom root off, slice the romaine down the middle to make two halves and then finally chop into 1.5/2 inch square pieces.
How to dry lettuce without a salad spinner
To dry lettuce without a salad spinner lay the washed lettuce leaves on top of a clean kitchen towel or disposable kitchen towels. Then get another towel to gently press against the top side of the lettuce to soak up any excess water still remaining on the leaves.
What cheese is used in chicken Caesar salad?
Classically Parmigiano-Reggiano, which is made in Italy, is used for Caesar salad. Or more commonly available parmesan cheese is also used. The hard cheese is within the Caesar salad dressing and also typically grated on top of the salad for additional flavour.
What is Caesar dressing made of
Caesar salad dressing is made of the following ingredients;
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Garlic clove
- Tinned Anchovies
- Fresh Lemon juice
- Dijon Mustard
- Worcestershire sauce
- Black pepper
How to make your own Caesar salad dressing
Homemade Caesar dressing tastes so much better than store bought versions! My recipe for the dressing is lovely thick and creamy therefore coats the romaine lettuce in the salad quite well. The process of making the Caesar dressing is pretty easy as you just blend all the ingredients until smooth. I find the best tool for making the dressing is a food processor to achieve the best smooth texture.
How to make Caesar salad dressing without mayonnaise
You can also make Cesar salad without mayonnaise. Instead you would incorporate egg yolks rather than mayonnaise and with the addition of olive oil to make the Caesar dressing. The consistency is usually slightly runnier than the dressing recipes containing mayonnaise
What goes well with chicken Caesar salad?
Caesar salad can be a standalone dish by itself as it is very filling especially with the addition of carbs from the croutons and protein when topped with chicken. The popular dish also appears in many mainstream fast food restaurants such as; Wendy’s, Chick fil a, McDonalds, cheesecake factory, featuring their own rendition of the classic dish.
As well as chicken Caesar salad being a side dish it can also be paired within other recipes. Here are some popular pairings below;
- Chicken Caesar pasta salad
- Chicken Caesar salad wrap
- Buffalo chicken Caesar salad
- Chicken Caesar salad pizza
How to make crispy chicken Caesar salad
Caesar salad is such an easy salad to make! All you need is cooked chicken, Caesar salad dressing, chopped romaine or cos lettuce, grated or shavings of parmesan cheese and croutons.
- Simply mix in some of the Caesar dressing with the chopped salad
- Place the salad into a large serving bowl
- Top with croutons, sliced pieces of cooked chicken and then add the grated/shavings of parmesan cheese
Type of chicken for Caesar salad
The most popular cut of chicken used in chicken Caesar salad is chicken breast. For my Crispy Air fryer spicy chicken salad recipe I use the chicken tender section of the chicken breast.
What are chicken tenders
Chicken tenderloin is attached to the chicken breast, it’s a much smaller thin size of white meat just under the breast. Chicken tenders are super juicy and do not require a long time to cook due to their size.
How to make chicken tenders
You can buy chicken tenderloins from the supermarket already prepped, they are also sometimes described as “chicken fillets”. You can make your own chicken tenderloins by slicing 1 inch thick vertical pieces from boneless chicken breasts.
How to cook air fryer chicken for Caesar salad
- An air fryer is perfect for cooking crispy chicken tenders. This method of cooking is also very healthy as you cut out the deep frying step which can be very fatty. Here are the easy steps below on how to make the Spicy Cajun chicken tenders for the caesar salad. (get the full detailed recipe at the bottom of this blog post; including ingredients, timings and measurements)
- Add the chicken tenders to a bowl then mix with the Cajun seasoning, salt & black pepper.
- Prepare another two small bowls, with whisked egg and the other with Cajun seasoned flour
- Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, then place into the seasoned flour and shake off the excess before adding to the air fryer basket. You might need to do this in batches depending on the size of your air fryer, do not overcrowd the basket!
- Spray the chicken tenders with a generous amount of oil whilst in the basket. Air Fry for 10 – 12 minutes at 180◦C / 350◦F, flip over at 6 minutes and spray again with oil as there will be some flour patches on the chicken.
- Once cooked remove from the basket and set aside.
How to cook chicken tenders in the oven
If you don’t have an air fryer you can also cook the chicken tenders in an oven. Simply added the chicken tenders, once dredged in the egg and seasoned flour mixture, onto a greased oven tray. Spray the chicken with oil & bake. Flip the tenderloins over half way through cooking and spray again with oil.
What temp to oven bake chicken tenders
The temperature to bake chicken tenders in an oven is 180°c/350°f for 15-18 minutes. Preheat the oven beforehand for the best results.
How to reheat chicken tenders in air fryer
Air fryers are super handy as they are also great for reheating meals as they keep the food item crispy. They are a lot quicker than a conventional oven and help to avoid the soggy texture you get in a microwave when reheating battered/fried food.
If you would like to save some of the chicken tenders for meal prep or lunch on another day. Simply add the chicken tenders to the air fryer basket and air fry for 5 minutes at 180°c/350°f .
How to season chicken for Caesar salad
The seasoning for a chicken Caesar salad will vary as there are so many ways to make this classic salad. Most chicken Caesar salads use chicken breast which is grilled or poached with mild seasoning such as salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, olive oil etc. The spicy chicken tenders in this recipe use Cajun seasoning for the chicken tenders marinade and in seasoned flour for extra amazing flavour! Here are some other ways below which you can season chicken for a Caesar salad;
- Blackened chicken Caesar salad
- Buffalo chicken Caesar salad
- Fried chicken Caesar salad
- Southwest chicken Caesar salad
What is Cajun seasoning
Cajun seasoning is a quintessential spice blend from the ethnic group Cajuns, mainly based in America, predominantly in the states of Louisiana and Texas. The spice is used throughout Cajun cooking and sometimes can be spicy.
How to make Cajun seasoning
To make Cajun seasoning rather than buying a premade spice blend is really simple, just mix the 1 x teaspoon each of ingredients below and store in an airtight jar. You can adjust more or less of the spices to suit your taste preferences too.
- Smoked paprika
- Garlic powder
- Kosher salt
- Onion powder
- Freshly ground black pepper
What to use in place of Cajun seasoning
Some great substitutes for Cajun seasoning which also have great similar flavours is Creole Seasoning and Old Bay Seasoning. You can buy both spice blends premade or make homemade versions with the ingredients below;
Old Bay Seasoning
Cayenne pepper, celery Salt, nutmeg, paprika, ground cinnamon, black pepper, ground ginger, ground dry mustard.
Salt, red pepper, paprika, garlic powder, oregano, basil, thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper and onion powder.
Is Chicken Caesar salad Keto friendly
Chicken Caesar Salad can be slightly keto friendly with a few healthy tweaks to the recipe.
- Keto Dressing – the dressing has a high fat content and minimal amount of carbs.
- Keto Crispy Cajun Chicken – To make the air fryer spicy chicken Keto friendly swap the plain/ all-purpose flour for almond flour. Almond flour is a great alternative to plain flour as it has a substantially lower net carb composition compared to plain/ all-purpose flour which is made from wheat. You could also use seasoned grilled chicken as an alternative without any breading/coating.
- Keto Croutons – For the croutons you could leave them out of the salad or use a keto friendly bread alternative rather than using the ciabatta bread in this recipe.
Thank you so much for reading along. I hope you making your Cajun air fryer crispy chicken Caesar salad!
If you try this recipe, I would be grateful if you could leave a review and star rating, you can find this at the bottom of the page and recipe card
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This Crispy Cajun Caesar Salad recipe is Amazing! It’s LOADED with Spicy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders, a EASY Homemade Caesar Dressing and paired with crisp romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese and delicious croutons! It makes such a delicious lunch or dinner salad!
Homemade Caesar Dressing
- Grated parmesan cheese – 3 x tablespoons
- Garlic clove – x 1
- Tinned Anchovies – x 3 fillets
- Fresh Lemon juice – ½ lemon
- Dijon Mustard – x 1 teaspoon
- Worcestershire sauce – 1 x tablespoon
- Black pepper – ½ tablespoon
- Mayonnaise – 1 ½ Mayo / 345g
Air Fryer Crispy Cajun Chicken
- Chicken breast tenderloins – 450g/1 pound
- All-purpose flour – 2 cups/130g
- Egg x 1
- Cajun seasoning 4 x tablespoons
- Red chilli Flakes – (optional 1 x teaspoon)
- Salt 2 teaspoons
- Pepper ½ tablespoon
- Vegetable oil Spray bottle
- Romaine or cos lettuce – chopped
- Extra Parmesan cheese for topping
- Croutons – use store bought or try out my How to make croutons in an air fryer recipe
Air fryer crispy chicken
- Add the chicken tenders to a bowl then mix with 2 x tablespoon of the Cajun seasoning and 1 x tablespoon of salt.
- Then prepare another two bowls, 1 with the egg whisked and another with the combined flour, remaining 2 x tablespoons of Cajun seasoning, ½ black pepper and 1 x tablespoon of salt.
- Dip the seasoned chicken into the egg mixture, then place into the seasoned flour and shake off the excess before placing into the air fryer basket. You might need to do this in batches depending on the size of your air fryer.
- Spray the chicken tenders with a generous amount of oil whilst in the basket Air Fry for 10 – 12 minutes at 180◦C / 350◦F, flip over at 6 minutes and spray again with oil as there will be some flour patches on the chicken. Once cooked remove from the basket and set aside.
Homemade Caesar dressing
- Whilst the chicken is cooking add the dressing ingredients into a food processor, blend until smooth. You may need to stop midway to scrape down the sides with a specular to ensure all the ingredients are blended into a smooth sauce.
- Assemble the salad by mixing some of the Caesar dressing with the chopped lettuce in a large bowl. Add croutons and sliced pieces of the air fried crispy Cajun chicken tenders! You can add extra shavings of parmesans cheese to the salad.
- Check the spice and salt level of the Cajun seasoning, some can be more salty or spicier than others, adjust the recipe to your personal taste preference where needed.
- Spray the chicken tenders generously with oil before air frying. Half way through cooking repeat the process to remove any seasoned flour patches on the chicken tenders.
- The excess Caesar salad dressing should be refrigerated and stored for up to 1 week.
- If you don’t have an Air Fryer Oven baked instructions can be in the body of this post, scroll up for more details
- Category: Lunch/Dinner
- Method: Air Frying
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Air fryer, Caesar Salad, Caesar homemade dressing, chicken tenders, spicy chicken, Cajun, croutons