I’m going to jump right in and say I am on a mission to make Crispy Hot Honey Chicken Caesar Salad a thing. Who’s with me? Ever since I paired up with my friend and fellow foodie, Carissa Stanton of @broccyourbody, to make our Hot Honey Chicken Sliders (gluten-free), they have been on heavy rotation in my house. I needed a way to switch it up, and it was an instant favorite when I added the Crispy Hot Honey Chicken to the Cilantro Caesar salad from my cookbook. Honestly, the salad of my dreams. Crispy Hot Honey Chicken, Caesar salad, croutons and grated parm (+ plenty more topping options). Can you think of a more ideal combo? This is truly a salad we all need in our lives.
SWEET, SPICY, CRISPY CHICKEN FOR THE WIN
The Hot Honey Chicken Sliders were one of my favorite recipes of 2023, so it only made sense to bring them into 2024. Crispy Hot Honey Chicken is quick and easy to make, and super healthy, but you’d never know because of how much it tastes like a deep-fried, restaurant version. And the sauce, which is simply made by whisking together hot sauce + honey – it’s everything.
I like to use organic chicken breast for a high-quality, high-protein choice of meat. Macronutrients are not something I personally track, but I do always make a point to ensure I’m including a sufficient amount of protein, healthy fats and carbohydrates in my meals throughout the day. Arrowroot starch powder and cassava flour are great ingredients to coat the chicken with to not only keep it gluten-free, but because they’re both plant-based.
We used a handful of seasonings to really *spice* up the “breading” mixture – garlic, chili + onion powders, paprika, and sea salt. All of these spices combined make for a perfect blend and are packed with nutritional benefits, like helping to regulate cholesterol levels (paprika and garlic + chili powders) and contributing to bone health (thanks to the calcium and magnesium found in onion powder). Though this recipe calls for a small amount of each, every little bit helps!
HEARTY AND HEALTHY
Now let’s get into the salad – which I’m shocked over, TBH. When you add the sweet and spicy, juicy yet crispy, sliced chicken over a bed of crisp romaine tossed in a tangy and bold Caesar dressing, you’ll immediately be convinced to join me on my mission of making Crispy Hot Honey Chicken Caesar Salad a thing.
Romaine is one of my favorite leafy greens to use as a base in salads because it’s crunchy, mild in flavor and filled with heart-healthy nutrients like folic acid and potassium. In my cookbook, Rachael’s Good Eats, I had to include my go-to Cilantro Caesar Salad which contains recipes for homemade croutons and a homemade dairy-free Caesar dressing. But life gets busy, and the reality is there’s just not enough time sometimes. So, in a pinch, I’ll use SideDish dairy-free Miso Caesar (code RACHAEL10), or Primal Kitchen dressing – two of my favorites. When going the store-bought route, it comes down to taking the time to read labels, aiming to avoid added sugars and inflammatory ingredients.
Salads are so customizable, so I love to provide options for toppings and mix-ins. The more flavor, texture and nutritional benefits, the better, right? We’re not messing around with this one. Fresh chopped cilantro is a nice mix-in for that powerful, lemon-peppery taste and can help rid the body of heavy metals (which can be found in a wide range of foods). I also like to top with sliced avocado and lemons, for healthy fats + added Vitamin C, and grated parm because, well, it’s just a necessity. To amp up the crunch, I like to add hemp seeds and pumpkin seeds for their antioxidant benefits, protein and immunity boosting effects. All the more reason you need this salad in your life!
A SALAD THAT CHECKS ALL THE BOXES
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s always my goal to show that every meal is an opportunity to make something truly delicious without having to sacrifice the nutritional quality. This Crispy Hot Honey Chicken Caesar Salad is nothing short of that. It checks all the boxes of a dream meal. It’s flavorful, filling and filled with greens and all the better-for-you ingredients. A hard yes!
If you’re currently joining me and the GOOD // SWEAT community in our 8-week workout challenge – where everyone is working their way through either my GOOD // SWEAT Strength Guide (1.0) or GOOD // SWEAT Strength Level Up (2.0) – then this is a perfect meal to fit into your weekly rotation for lunch or dinner. This salad hits the spot every time and is bound to be a major crowd-pleaser. Let me know what you think in the comments if you make it!
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED:
- Organic chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise, about 1/4-inch thick
- Arrowroot starch powder
- Cassava flour
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Sea salt
- Onion powder
- Ground pepper
- Avocado oil
Hot Honey Sauce
- Hot sauce (we used Cholula but Frank’s or any hot sauce works great)
- Romaine hearts, chopped
- Caesar dressing (I like SideDish Miso Caesar – code RACHAEL10, Primal Kitchen, or my homemade dairy-free dressing from my cookbook)
Optional toppings + mix-ins:
- Cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- Croutons (I like to make homemade sourdough croutons, recipe in my cookbook)
- Grated parm
- Avocado, sliced
- Lemon slices
- Raw hempseeds
- Raw or roasted pumpkin seeds
- Fresh ground black pepper
HOW TO MAKE CRISPY HOT HONEY CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD
Make the Crispy Hot Honey Chicken
Set out 3 wider shallow bowls: one with the arrowroot, one with two whisked eggs and one with the cassava flour + seasonings whisked together.
Take turns dredging each halved piece of chicken first in the arrowroot, then in the egg, then in the cassava + seasonings.
Add avocado oil to a skillet and heat on medium. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, add chicken to brown and cook about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
Make the Sauce: in a large bowl, add a 2:1 ratio of hot sauce to honey and whisk together. Then, toss each piece of crispy chicken in sauce mixture until fully covered.
Transfer the fully coated + cooked chicken to a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Make the Salad
In a large bowl, combine the chopped romaine and Caesar dressing of your choice. Toss well. If you’re using chopped cilantro, add to bowl and toss to combine again.
Top the salad with the Crispy Hot Honey Chicken slices, and toppings of your choice: croutons, grated parm, sliced avocado, lemon slices, hempseeds, pumpkin seeds, and freshly ground black pepper. Add just a few or all of them for the heartiest, most delicious salad. Enjoy!
RECIPE SUBSTITUTIONS & QUESTIONS
For the chicken, I’m sure other flours will work instead of cassava flour. However, flour substitutions aren’t always a 1:1 ratio and quantity wise, so it may take some experimenting. While the sauce is not super spicy (I’d give it a 3/10 on my own heat scale), you could always scale the heat down by half, or however you prefer, to get it to your liking. Feel free to omit any of the seasonings.
You can use your favorite Caesar dressing – homemade or store-bought. Same goes for the croutons. All of the toppings and mix-ins are optional and customizable based on your preference or whatever you have on hand. That’s the best part of making salads – using what you’ve got and getting creative!
WHAT IS THE SECRET TO CRISPY CHICKEN?
There are a few key tricks to getting your chicken perfectly crispy. Using starch (we use arrowroot in this recipe, but you could also use corn starch) helps crisp up the crust on the chicken. It’s also important to have enough oil in the pan, and have the pan at the right heat. You want your pan (and oil) to be hot but not smoking.
DOES A CAESAR SALAD HAVE TO HAVE ANCHOVIES IN IT?
No! Not all Caesar salads, or dressings, include anchovies. Nor do they have to. For homemade Caesar dressings (like mine), you’ll find that some recipes will use capers instead of anchovies or anchovy paste as they contain a similar tangy, umami taste. You could even use capers as a topping instead of anchovies if you’d like; it’s all about personal preference.
SHOP THE RECIPE
HERE’S MORE HIGH-PROTEIN AND SALAD RECIPES TO TRY:
Click here to watch the reel I made of this recipe 🙂
Crispy Hot Honey Chicken Caesar Salad
For the Crispy Chicken
- 2 organic chicken breasts, sliced in half lengthwise, about 1/4-inch thick
- 1/4 cup arrowroot starch powder
- 1/3 cup cassava flour
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- 3 tbsp avocado oil
- 1 egg
For the Hot Honey Sauce
- 1/4 cup hot sauce, we used Cholula but Frank’s or any hot sauce works great
- 2-3 tbsp honey
For the Salad
- 3 heads romaine hearts, chopped
- 3 tbsp heaping, Caesar dressing, I like SideDish DF Miso Caesar (code RACHAEL10), Primal Kitchen, or my homemade DF dressing from my cookbook
Optional Toppings + Mix-ins
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- Croutons, I like to make homemade sourdough croutons, recipe in my cookbook
- Grated parm, to taste
- 1 avocado, sliced
- 2 to 3 lemon slices, cut 1/4 inch thick
- 2 tbsp raw hempseeds
- 2 tbsp raw or roasted pumpkin seeds
- Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Make the Crispy Hot Honey Chicken
- Set out 3 wider shallow bowls: one with the arrowroot, one with two whisked eggs and one with the cassava flour + seasonings whisked together.
- Take turns dredging each halved piece of chicken first in the arrowroot, then in the egg, then in the cassava + seasonings.
- Add avocado oil to a skillet and heat on medium. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, add chicken to brown and cook about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- Make the Sauce: in a large bowl, add a 2:1 ratio of hot sauce to honey and whisk together. Then, toss each piece of crispy chicken in sauce mixture until fully covered.
- Transfer the fully coated + cooked chicken to a cutting board and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
Make the Salad
- In a large bowl, combine the chopped romaine and Caesar dressing of your choice. Toss well. If you’re using chopped cilantro, add to bowl and toss to combine again.
- Top the salad with the Crispy Hot Honey Chicken slices, and toppings of your choice: croutons, grated parm, sliced avocado, lemon slices, hempseeds, pumpkin seeds, and freshly ground black pepper. Add just a few or all of them for the heartiest, most delicious salad. Enjoy!