Healthy Recipe: Kale Caesar with Grilled Chicken & Crispy Chickpeas

Healthy recipe for kale Caesar salad with grilled chicken and crispy chickpeas.

Kale Caesar with Grilled Chicken & Crispy Chickpeas

Recipe by Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN | Photo by Erin Kunkel

Caesar salad can be so refreshing. It can also be heavily doused with goopy dressing and greasy croutons. Try this lightened and brightened version, which transforms the popular salad into a colorful, protein-packed meal. The lemony dressing is easy to make, and fun when you simply shake everything up in a jar. Replace pale romaine with superfood kale and radicchio, for a boost in antioxidants. And instead of croutons, roll chickpeas in herbs and spices and roast until irresistibly crispy. Plus, there’s chicken in the mix. You can grill it up yourself or leverage leftovers.


For the Caesar dressing
Juice of 1 lemon
1 large pasteurized egg yolk*
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon anchovy paste or reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) grated Parmesan cheese

For the crispy chickpeas
1 can (15 oz/470 g) chickpeas, no salt added, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1½ teaspoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 6 oz/185 g each)
8 oz (250 g) chopped fresh kale
2 oz (60 g) chopped radicchio or red cabbage (about 1 cup)
¼ cup (1 oz/30 g) shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese
4 lemon wedges for serving


To make the Caesar dressing, in a jar, combine the lemon juice, egg yolk, mustard, anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, ½ teaspoon black pepper, and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Cover and shake until well combined. Add the grated Parmesan and shake again.

To make the crispy chickpeas, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a bowl, toss the chickpeas with 1 tablespoon olive oil, the rosemary, cayenne, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the chickpeas are gently browned and crisped on the outside, but still creamy on the inside, about 35 minutes. Stir once halfway through roasting.

Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the chicken breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the chicken over the hottest part of the grill and cook until well done (165°F/74°C), about 6 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes, before slicing across the grain.

In a large bowl, toss the kale with the Caesar dressing until the leaves are slightly softened, about 1 minute. Add the radicchio and toss to combine. Sprinkle with the shaved Parmesan and crispy chickpeas.

Divide the salad between bowls or plates. Place the grilled chicken on the side. Grind with pepper, if you like, and serve with lemon wedges.

Makes 4 servings

*This dressing contains raw egg yolk. If you’re concerned about the risks or would like to make a vegan version, you can substitute with 2 tablespoons hummus or mashed avocado.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories 416
Protein 32 g
Total fat 23 g
Saturated fat 5 g
Carbs 23 g
Fiber 7 g
Total sugar 4 g
Added sugar 0 g
Sodium 615 mg

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