Behind the Scenes

This Chicken Caesar Salad Pizza Is Meant for the Grill

The lifecycle of a Plated recipe—from our Test Kitchen to your home kitchen—tends to follow a similar path, always with a few delicious surprises along the way. As you might imagine, it’s an incredibly creative and collaborative process. Our recipes are often inspired by personal favorites that we’re dying to revamp and share with you, like our Head Chef Elana’s tribute to her mother’s special-occasion chicken recipe. Other times, we challenge ourselves to remake a classic with a twist—such as this white bean chili, complete with roasted butternut squash and homemade tortilla chips.

Every month, the Culinary team gets tons of inspo from our restaurant field trips—as is the case for this mashup pizza inspired by our visit to a cozy little pizza restaurant in Brooklyn. This is Plated’s first grilling recipe of the season, and it’s packed with three different reasons to love your grill (okay, five if you count the fact that this is a pizza, and it’s topped with Caesar salad).

The Inspiration

Because we’re obsessed with all things Caesar and all things pizza, the Cesare Pizza (pictured above) is a hands-down must-order. It’s piled high with crunchy romaine, curls of shaved Parmesan, thinly sliced grilled chicken, plenty of tangy Caesar dressing, and croutons. Bread topped with more bread: a really great idea. We just needed (yes, needed) to bring our spin on this perfect pie to your kitchen.

Chef Andrea, who actually lived and worked in Italy during culinary school, was the obvious choice for recipe writer. She decided to take out the croutons (see above celebration of bread on bread, but counter that with our #summerbod goals), and swapped in whole-wheat pizza dough for a heartier chew that makes us feel good about ourselves. Andrea also added juicy grape tomatoes, and made it all about the grill: grilled crust, grilled chicken, and grilled lemon to lend a smoky flavor to the classic creamy dressing.

The Mashup

To get some fairly obvious facts out of the way: we love pizza. We love Caesar salad. And we especially love juicy grilled chicken on said salad. One of our favorite ways to punch up a classic Caesar is by adding roasted tomatoes—they take on an intense flavor that pairs well with Parm, and they practically burst in every bite. Here, though, Chef Andrea left the tomatoes raw to provide bright contrast to all of the deep, rich flavors imparted by the grill.

The prep happens first, so that when you’re ready to head out to the grill, you don’t have to keep running back inside to check on anything. Simply start with a quick slice on the romaine, halving the tomatoes and lemon, making the dressing, and rolling out the dough. Our classic Caesar dressing pairs homemade garlic paste with a little tangy anchovy, mayo, grated Parmesan, and the fresh juice of half a lemon.

After a turn at the grill, it’s a cinch to top your pizza and dig right in. With the tender snap of grilled whole-wheat crust, crunchy fresh salad, creamy curls of shaved Parmesan, smoky charred chicken, and intensely sweet lemon, we really feel this recipe is a supremely chef-y upgrade on the original.

Hail Caesar (salad pizza)!

Fun fact: The Caesar salad was not invented in Italy, but it was created by an Italian. Caesar (born Cesare) Cardini and his brother Alex (known Stateside as Alessandro) moved their restaurant business from San Diego to Tijuana, Mexico, to avoid the restrictions of U.S. Prohibition laws. It was there that Caesar created his signature dish—”Caesar’s salad”—which quickly became a hit with Hollywood celebrities who frequented a nearby high-brow hotel.

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