Southwest Chicken Caesar Salad

Southwest Chicken Caesar Salad is a simple twist on the classic Caesar salad. Caesar salad is my all-time favorite salad, and it’s all in the dressing. The dressing for this salad is my original version with just a few added spices. Packed with garlicky, lemony flavor that you can’t get from a store bought bottle.

Not going to lie, the making of the dressing takes a lot of whisking, but that’s as complicated as it gets and it is sooo worth it. My favorite dressing next to only a couple I’ve had in restaurants. By just adding chili powder and smoked paprika, it turns this classic dressing into something with a little kick!

Classic romaine and parmesan cheese plus a few new friends get added to the salad party. Sweet corn, tomatoes, and black beans are what give this salad a little something extra. Cooked and chopped chicken, and fresh made croutons too! Grilled chicken is always my first choice, I just like the extra char grilled flavor.

If fresh sweet corn is in season when you make this, I highly recommend grilling your corn on the cob and then cutting it off. It adds great char grilled flavor. For the croutons you can certainly use store bought, but I always have random bread in the freezer. Just tear it into pieces, drizzle with olive oil, garlic salt, and some parsley if you have it. Toast them up just for a couple minutes under the broiler.

Bonus hot tip: serve these in a large flour tortilla as wraps, and throw them on the grill or skillet to get a little crisp on the outside, so good! This salad mixture would also be delicious stuffed into pita bread. Hope you enjoy this twist on a classic, Southwest Chicken Caesar Salad.

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Southwest Chicken Caesar Salad

My favorite classic Caesar recipe, but with some added spices and salad toppings!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Laura Doerr


For the Caesar dressing

  • tsp anchovy paste
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp mayo
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

For the croutons

  • 1 large piece of bread, torn about 1 cup
  • Drizzle olive oil
  • Garlic salt
  • Fresh or dried parsley

For the salad

  • 4 cups romaine lettuce chopped
  • 1 cup tomatoes chopped
  • 1 cup corn
  • 1 cup black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 chicken breasts cooked/grilled and chopped


For the dressing

  1. On a cutting board using a large knife, smash and press together the minced garlic and anchovy paste until combined and smooth.

  2. In a medium bowl whisk together egg yolks until smooth, whisk in the Dijon, mayo, Worcestershire, and garlic anchovy mixture. Whisk in the lemon juice, and while continuing to whisk, slowly stream in the olive oil. Whisk for about 1 minute. Slowly stream in the vegetable oil while whisking continuously. Whisk for another minute until smooth and dressing begins to thicken slightly.

  3. Whisk in the parmesan cheese, plenty of fresh grated black pepper, smoked paprika, and chili powder. Store in an air tight container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Best made at least 1 hour ahead of time for flavors to combine.

For the croutons

  1. On a baking sheet pan, toss the torn bread with olive oil, a dash of garlic salt, and a sprinkle of parsley. Place under the broiler for 2-4 minutes or until golden brown. Watch closely as it happens quickly and can burn easily. Set aside to cool.

Salad Assembly

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine all salad ingredients. Toss with desired amount of dressing, and top with fresh croutons.

Recipe Notes

Grilled chicken adds a nice flavor to this salad, otherwise take some help from the store and use rotisserie chicken, or cooked and cubed freezer chicken that’s been stove-top cooked.

This salad makes an awesome wrap too. Try grilling your wraps, yum!

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