Soups & Salads

Jerk Chicken Caeser Salad with Fresh Avocado, Cherry Tomatoes & Croutons

An amped up version of Your favorite Caesar Salad
Filed Under > Food

Jerk Chicken Salad Recipe with Cherry Tomatoes, Fresh Avocado and Croutons Jerk Chicken Caesar Salad with Cherry Tomatoes Jerk Chicken Caesar Salad recipe

I love a good caesar salad.  The sad thing is nothing on a classic caesar salad is relatively healthy.  So I tried to fuss with the standard recipe a bit to make it a more on the healthy side.  And this amped up jerk chicken caesar salad with cherry tomatoes, fresh avocado and croutons hits the spot. 

I’ve come to find that I really prefer my chicken, or any proteins on my salads to be warm.  That’s where the grilling comes in; you know I love grilling on our Big Green Egg.  But since I was making this salad for lunch, I simply used my Le Creuset cast iron griddle on my stovetop.  

When cooking or grilling chicken it can be tricky; you can’t have it pink and you don’t want it dry either.  So my trick here is to use a grill press like this one under $30 that applies pressure on the meat to help it cook evenly throughout.  I use my grill press for burgers, sausage links, bacon, you name it…and it always proves to be a great thing to have.  

For my jerk chicken caesar salad I season the chicken quite liberally with a jerk dry rub.  Then I get the griddle, sprayed with organic high heat non stick, to as hot as it can get.  I place the chicken on the griddle and use my grill press to press down.  I grill each side for about 3 minutes or until the grill marks are pressed in and the outside is just a tad on the crisp side.  Then I turn the heat down to a medium low or low, and continue to cook the chicken through.

Lastly, I rely on a meat thermometer that tells me when the chicken is five degrees under being done—at 160 degrees—and I pull it out to let it rest.  Like all meats, the chicken will continue to cook after it’s removed from the heat, so I give it a five degree window.

The rest of my jerk chicken caesar salad is easy breezy to pull together.  In this recipe, I use both iceberg lettuce and a romaine blend; I know iceberg doesn’t bring a whole lot of nutritional value to the table, but I do like the texture and the cold crunch that comes with it.  I roughly chop both types of lettuce, and combined them together to form the base of the salad.  Next, I add lines of fresh avocado, jerk seasoned chicken cut into thin strips, halved cherry tomatoes and garlicky croutons.  

My philosophy, when it comes to croutons, is that if you’re going to waste the calories then go big and get a great crouton. I love picking up the garlic and olive oil ones from Whole Foods if I’m tight on time, like I did here today, but if I ever have a French bread baguette in the house, I rough chop it and drizzle olive oil, garlic and salt on it then pop it in the toaster oven till it turns a golden brown.  Homemade croutons are surprisingly SO easy to make, and they last a really long time once they’re cooked and sealed in an airtight container. Enjoy!  Truly, MKR

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Jerk Chicken Caeser Salad with Cherry Tomatoes & Fresh Avocado

Ingredients

  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • jerk chicken rub seasoning
  • 1 bag iceberg lettuce, roughly chopped
  • 1 bag romaine lettuce blend, roughly chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 avocados, roughly chopped
  • Croutons, optional
  • Grated parmesan, optional

Instructions

  1. Cut chicken breasts in small strips.
  2. Season chicken with jerk seasoning/rub.
  3. Spray grill pan liberally with a high-heat spray.
  4. Heat grilling pan on high heat; getting it super hot.
  5. Put chicken on grill pan and and apply the grill press on top, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  6. Once a side is crispy, flip to the other side; grill each side twice.
  7. Turn down the heat to medium-low. Test the thickest part of the chicken with a meat thermometer; it should be around 160 degrees.
  8. Turn stovetop off, and let chicken rest. It will continue to cook for at 5 more degrees. No pink should be seen.
  9. Compile the rest of the ingredients in a salad bowl or on a platter.
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Strawberry Kale Salad with Fresh Jalapenos, Pumpkin Seeds & Poppy Seed Dressing

An Unexpected Twist On A Simple Under-5-Minute Salad
Filed Under > 30 Minute Meals

Strawberry kale salad with jalapenos, pumpkin seeds & Poppy Seed DressingStrawberry kale salad with jalapenos, pumpkin seeds & Poppy Seed DressingBaby kale salad with strawberries, pumpkin seeds & more via waitingonmartha.com

Lets be honest, salads can be boring.  So I’m always trying to think outside of the box to come up with salad recipes that I’ll thoroughly enjoy, but are beyond easy to make.  Enter my Strawberry Kale Salad with Pumpkin Seeds, Jalepeno and Poppy Seed Dressing.  

This four ingredient Strawberry Kale Salad allowed  me to get a little creative with my ingredients and almost fooled me into thinking I wasn’t actually eating a salad!  And it never hurts when the salad is this gorgeous. 

Nixing plain greens for baby kale with a touch of spinach, freshly sliced strawberries, pumpkin seeds, and fresh jalapenos for kick was the perfect combo.  The balance of flavors—sweet to spicy—and the textures—crunchy pumpkin seeds to the soft strawberries—is absolutely divine…even coming from someone who can’t always be satisfied with just a salad. I do wish I had some herbed goat cheese, that would have really made sealed the deal.

And with a salad like this one, I always love a good poppy seed dressing.  The tangy citrus flavor and thick consistency cool down the heat from the jalapenos, and pair perfectly with the fresh strawberries.  Since I wanted to keep this salad super simple and under-5-minutes-to-make, I opted to use this store-bought poppy seed dressing, though you can absolutely make your own!  Tell me, how do you think outside of the salad box?  Truly, MKR

P.S. Wouldn’t this make for a beautiful salad for your Easter table or an upcoming bridal shower?  I just love the pop of red and the fresh greens!  xo 

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Strawberry Kale Salad with Fresh Jalapenos, Pumpkin Seeds & Poppy Seed Dressing

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 1 minute

Total Time: 6 minutes

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • 2 bags baby kale and arugula mix
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced or diced thinly
  • Handful of pumpkin seeds, to garnish each salad
  • Candied pecans, finely chopped (optional)
  • Herb goat cheese, molded into small crumbles (optional)
  • Dressing of choice (I used store-bought poppy seed!)

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour dressing, toss and serve!
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Everything But the Kitchen Sink Lettuce Cups with Vegan Green Goddess Dressing

Make This Super Simple & Healthy Meal In A Flash
Filed Under > 30 Minute Meals

Roasted Chicken & Vegetarian Lettuce Cups with homemade Vegan Green Goddess Dressing, Waiting On Martha
Roasted Chicken & Vegetarian Lettuce Cups with homemade Vegan Green Goddess Dressing, Waiting On Martha

Lettuce cups are a lot like nachos in my mind (and you know how deep my love for nachos runs).  You can truly throw anything you want in them and enjoy as an easy, fresh, guilt-free take on your favorite dishes.  I call these particular lettuce cups my “Everything But the Kitchen Sink” lettuce cups because I whip them up when I’m too weary to run to the store, instead using all sorts of things I find in the fridge for an easy and healthy weeknight meal.  Sound familiar?!

While these healthy lettuce cups are absolutely delicious the big winner here is the homemade vegan green goddess dressing.  I made mine dairy-free, using Vegenaise and Tofutti (two of my favorite vegan substitutions that taste just as good), amongst a lot of other goodness.  Guys, this dressing is so good that it might even overtake my love for homemade french onion dip.  The dipping possibilities are endless with this vegan green goddess dressing; I’m dunking chips in it as you’re reading this! And I promise you will NEVER taste the dairy free difference.

But back to the lettuce cups.  I mixed things up and made a few vegetarian chalked full of Mediterranean chickpeas and fresh avocado and the others with my favorite rotisserie chicken.  Even with the pulled rotisserie chicken, the dish is incredibly simple and fast to make, and not to mention super healthy to enjoy. I’m a big fan of making a rotisserie chicken on Sunday, then incorporating it in dishes for 2-3 days during the week.  The glory of a great leftover meal like this one never fails to put a smile on my face. 

For the actual lettuce cups I prefer to use a head of iceberg lettuce.  In order to get 5-6 cups out of each head of lettuce, I first chop off the bottom in one big slice.  Next, I flip the head over and very, very lightly hit it down on the cutting board.  This will loosen the center pieces, allowing you to slowly pull it apart.  Voila!  You have your lettuce cups.  Check out the recipe in it’s entirety below and please let me know if you decide make these this week, you’ll love them!  Truly, MKR 

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Everything But the Sink Lettuce Cups with Green Goddess Dressing
Yields 6
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
25 min
For the Lettuce Cups
  1. 1 head of iceberg lettuce pulled apart into 5-6 cups
  2. 1 rotisserie chicken, pulled apart
  3. 1 large can Garbanzo beans, rinsed
  4. 1 red onion, thinly sliced in rounds
  5. 1 fresh avocado, sliced
  6. 1/4 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  7. a small handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
  8. Plus any leftover herbs you have from your Green Goddess Dressing (see below)
  9. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  10. salt & pepper to taste
For the Green Goddess Dressing
  1. 1 medium avocado
  2. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  3. 1-2 tablespoons vinegar
  4. 3-5 tablespoons water
  5. 1/2 cup Vegenaise (vegan mayo)
  6. 1/2 cup Toffuti (vegan sour cream)
  7. 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
  8. 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  9. 4 tablespoons chives, finely sliced
  10. 2 cloves garlic
  11. Salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. For the dressing combine all ingredients into a blender and blend till combined.
  2. On a large platter lay down your lettuce cups and fill with desired toppings. Drizzle with vegan green goddess dressing and enjoy!
Notes
  1. *One head of lettuce should give you 5-6 cups.
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