Eating for Life

July 15, 2014

Asian Caesar salad gets a nutritionally superior twist

Take a little license with Caesar salad, and you have a nutritionally superior classic with an Asian twist. We lighten the dressing, pile on more veggies and substitute baked wontons for croutons.

Editor’s note: This recipe was originally published in 2009.

Poor Caesar Cardini. From Applebee’s to Wendy’s, everyone seems to take license with the namesake salad he created in the 1920s.

The Star’s Asian Caesar Salad With Grilled Chicken and Crisp Wontons takes the original salad’s sturdy base — crisp, nutritionally superior romaine rather than iceberg — then substitutes a crispy baked (not fried) wonton for the croutons.

While Cardini’s dressing was enriched by a coddled egg, we use fat-free sour cream, and the addition of grilled chicken, peas and celery only pumps up the nutrition.

Substitutions: For more visual pop and adult appeal, try sprinkling black sesame seeds on the wontons and use fresh pea pods instead of the frozen peas without changing the nutritional content.

Cooking tip: The recipe directions use a stovetop grill pan. If you don’t own one, preheat the grill to medium-high or allow coals to burn down to white ash. Grill chicken over direct heat for 4 to 6 minutes per side or until browned and fully cooked.

Leftovers: This recipe makes 1/2 cup dressing, so you should have some left; cover and refrigerate dressing to use another time.

Asian Caesar Salad With Grilled Chicken and Crisp Wontons

Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon Oriental hot sauce

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, about 1 pound

1/4 cup fat-free or light sour cream

1 large head romaine lettuce, torn into pieces

2 green onions, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

4 wonton wrappers, cut in half diagonally

1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Whisk together vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and hot sauce. Place chicken breasts in zip-top bag. Measure out 3 tablespoons of soy mixture and pour into bag. Seal and massage bag to coat chicken; refrigerate 15 minutes or up to several hours.

Whisk sour cream into remaining soy mixture until smooth; set aside. Combine lettuce, green onions, celery, peas and Parmesan in a salad bowl. Toss gently.

Preheat grill skillet over medium-high heat. Drain chicken and discard marinade. Place chicken in grill skillet and cook 4 to 6 minutes per side or until meat is no longer pink inside and meat thermometer registers 170 degrees. Allow to rest 10 minutes and slice into half-inch pieces.

Place wonton wrappers in a single layer on baking sheet. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds. Bake 4 to 7 minutes or until brown and crisp.

Pour half of dressing over greens and toss. Divide salad among four plates. Top with chicken and serve with 1 wonton or 2 halves tucked under leaves. Pass remaining dressing for pouring on chicken, if desired.

Per serving, based on 4: 287 calories (14 percent from fat), 5 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), 72 milligrams cholesterol, 26 grams carbohydrates, 36 grams protein, 431 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber.

Recipe developed for The Star by professional home economists Kathryn Moore and Roxanne Wyss.

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