Crispy Chicken Caprese Salad is made with fresh baby spinach topped with sliced tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, crispy breaded chicken, toasted pine nuts, and a pesto dressing.
I love this recipe because it takes the flavors of caprese salad and turns it into a complete meal. The chicken adds protein and helps to make this meal hearty enough to be served for dinner.
The entire active preparation time for this meal is just 20 minutes. The chicken is coated with a mix of breadcrumbs and parmesan and lightly pan-fried before going into the oven. Prepping and pan-frying the chicken takes about 15 minutes, then you want to bake the chicken for 15-20 minutes. While the chicken is baking, slice the tomatoes and assemble the salads.
The trick to making really crispy chicken is to put the chicken on a baking rack and not directly on the pan. If you put the chicken on the pan, steam will cause the side of the chicken touching the pan to get soggy. This simple hack is a gamechanger.
You could use rotisserie chicken if you are in a rush, but I love the crispy crunchy breaded chicken. I cooked up four chicken breasts, but since we are a two-person household, we had leftovers. The leftover chicken breasts can be used to make sandwiches, served with a side of pasta, or just used to make another salad! There is something about having cooked chicken in the fridge that makes me feel like I am ahead of the game.
I was able to find pesto caesar dressing at my grocery store – Gotham Greens makes it. You could make your own by simply combining pesto and caesar dressing. Or, you could opt to use a simple balsamic vinaigrette or roasted garlic dressing.
If you want to make this meal a little more substantial, you can add a side of easy homemade garlic bread.
Crispy Chicken Caprese Salad
- 4 Thin Cut Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 2 Large Eggs
- 1 cup Italian Style Breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
- about 2 tablespoons Butter
- 1 pound Baby Spinach
- 1 1/2 cups Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
- 2 large balls of Fresh Mozzarella
- 1/4 cup Pine Nuts
- a dash of Salt
- Pesto Caesar Dressing, or a dressing of your choice
Heat your oven to 300 degrees.
Whisk the eggs together in a shallow bowl. In another shallow bowl, mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan together.
Take each chicken breast one by one and coat it in the breadcrumbs, then eggs, and then in the breadcrumbs again.
Melt about 1/2 tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once the pan is hot and the butter has melted, add the chicken breasts. I cooked two at a time, you don't want to overcrowd the pan.
Cook each side of the breaded chicken breast until it is golden brown, and add more butter to the skillet as necessary.
Once all of the chicken has browned, place it on a baking sheet with a baking rack on top. Bake the chicken for 15-20 minutes, until fully cooked. The exact cook time will depend on the thickness of the chicken breasts.
Wipe out the skillet, heat over low heat, and melt just enough butter to coat the bottom of the skillet. Add the pine nuts and a dash of salt and stir to evenly coat the nuts in butter. Keep a close eye on the pine nut and stir frequently until they have lightly browned. Then remove from the pan and let cool. You must remove from the skillet, leaving them in the hot pan might result in the nuts burning.
Cut the tomatoes in half, slice the mozzarella, and assemble the salads. Put a couple of handfuls of spinach on each plate, top with tomatoes, mozzarella, and pine nuts. Add the chicken breasts and the dressing and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 737 Total Fat: 41g Saturated Fat: 12g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 25g Cholesterol: 234mg Sodium: 996mg Carbohydrates: 39g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 12g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 56g