Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Lemon Chicken

Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips on top on a plate with a fork.
Jump to Recipe
Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips on top on a plate with a fork.

If you think you don’t like raw kale, THIS is the recipe to change your mind!  Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken is full of delicious flavors and textures.  The kale is fresh and crisp and so incredibly good for you!  The Caesar dressing is super easy to make in a blender and brings creaminess and big flavor that’s tangy, nutty, salty, garlicky, and delicious!  My recipe uses mayonnaise instead of raw eggs, which is safer for my kids and will last longer in the fridge.  And finally, on top of all of this goodness is breaded and baked-crispy chicken strips with a kiss of lemon zest.

KALE IS A GREAT SOURCE OF VITAMIN C

It’s that time of year for sniffles.  Kids are back to school and the weather is getting cooler.  That means adding some extra Vitamin C is good for helping to boost your immune system.

Did you know that 1 cup of Kale has MORE vitamin C than 1 orange!!?  That’s right, my friends, Kale is truly a superfood packed with vitamin C, as well as fiber, nutrients, folate, magnesium, and other vitamins. 

Kale is very versatile and can be used in a lot of recipes.  I put kale in my morning smoothie, lunch salads or one-bowl concoctions, and into a variety of dinner dishes.  I love it in salads, of course, like this recipe or Quinoa and Kale Salad with Roasted Chickpeas and Creamy Lemon Dressing.  But, I also love it in cooked dishes, like my Glorious Greek Chicken Pasta Casserole with Kale or Shell Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale.  I also love to add it to SOUPS!  My favorite soups to add it to are my 5-Ingredient Chicken Tortilla Soup with Kale and my Creamy Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas and Kale.

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

To make the Caesar Dressing, you will need a blender for blending the ingredients until smooth and creamy.

You could also use a food processor for this, such as this mini food processor.

For baking the chicken, you will need a large sheet pan (I used a 17×11).

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR KALE CAESAR SALAD WITH CRISPY CHICKEN

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below) 

The first thing I like to prep for this recipe is the breadcrumb topping as it uses the zest from the lemon which you need to get before juicing the lemon.  

Mix the breadcrumbs, salt, ground black pepper.  Zest the entire lemon and add 1 tablespoon of it to the breadcrumbs. Cut the lemon in half to be juiced in the next step.

Lemon zested with zest in a bow, microplane on counter and lemon halved for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

Hand holding small bowl with lemon zest over breadcrumbs for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

Then, move on to making the Caesar Dressing.  Into a blender, add the mayonnaise, garlic cloves, anchovy paste, lemon juice, Dijon, Worcestershire, grated Parmesan, salt, and black pepper.

Ingredients on counter for Caesar dressing for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

Blender with Caesar dressing ingredients for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

Hand juicing lemon into a blender with Caesar dressing ingredients for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

Blender with a spoon scooping blended Caesar dressing for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

Next, prep the kale.  If you get the fresh kale on the stalks, they the easiest way to prepare it is to hold the end of the stem with one hand and pull off the leaves along the stem with the other hand.  Rinse the leaves off under cold water in a strainer and pat dry with a towel.  Then thinly slice the kale so that it’s easy to eat and it isn’t too tough.

Hand stripping the kale leaves from a stem for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

Knife cutting kale leaves into strips for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

Finally, slice the chicken breasts into 1 inch wide strips.

Knife cutting raw chicken breast into thin strips on a pink cutting board for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

At this point, if you are doing this prep a day or more ahead, store everything sealed in the fridge.  Otherwise, move on to the cooking!

COOK YOUR CRISPY CHICKEN

Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.  Spray a large sheet pan with olive oil cooking spray.

Next, get the chicken dredging stations ready.  You already made the breadcrumb mixture, so bring that over.  Into another bowl, crack the egg and whisk it with the water.

You can add all of the chicken strips (or some of the strips at a time) into the egg wash and mix them around to coat each and every piece with the egg.  Then one by one, transfer each chicken strip to the breadcrumbs and flip to coat. Then place on sheet pan that has been coated with olive oil cooking spray. Spray the top of each chicken piece lightly as well.

Dish with breadcrumbs and a raw chicken strip on left bottom, above that a dish with beaten eggs with raw chicken strips, and on the right is a sheet pan with breaded chicken strips for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

Hand spraying olive oil over breaded chicken strips on a sheet pan for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

After the chicken has been in the oven for 15 minutes, take the pan out and flip each piece of chicken over. Bake for another 10 minutes. After a total of 25 minutes in the oven, the chicken should be completely cooked through…browned and crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

Cooked breaded chicken strips on a sheet pan for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

ASSEMBLE & SERVE THE KALE CAESAR SALAD

Mix the kale and the caesar dressing. Then top with the chicken strips and enjoy! Garnish with more parmesan cheese if desired.

Tongs tossing kale with caesar dressing in a clear bowl for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

RECIPE FAQS

Can I use Spinach or other Greens instead of Kale?

You can really use any greens you have or love.  The great thing about kale, though is that it’s so sturdy that it can be dressed an hour ahead and still not wilt or get mushy.  Most other greens will not hold up as well, so you will want to dress the salad right before you serve it.  Of course, the traditional lettuce used in Caesar salad is Romaine.  However, I say try new greens!  Even shaved Brussels Sprouts are delicious in this salad!

How far in advance can I dress the salad?

As mentioned about, if you use Kale, you can dress the salad an hour in advance, even up to a day in advance.  You may want to add a touch more dressing right before serving, just to freshen it up.  For all other lettuces, you will want to wait to dress the salad right before you serve.  

How long will the Caesar Dressing last in the fridge?

Because this recipe does not use raw eggs, as many Caesar dressing recipes do, you can store it in the fridge for longer.  It will last up to 7 days in a sealed container.

Can I make the chicken in advance?

Yes, however, the breading will get soggy once it sits overnight in the fridge.  Therefore, you will want to crisp it up in the oven at a high heat (400F) for about 10 minutes.  You don’t want to overcook the meat, but you do want it to crisp up.  The alternative is to prep the chicken with the breadcrumbs on the sheet pan and cover with aluminum foil to store in the fridge raw overnight.  If you want to prep more than 1 day in advance, you can flash freeze the raw breaded chicken on the sheet pan in the freezer, then transfer it to storage container.  To cook, place the raw frozen chicken strips on the pan and cook exactly the same, but add an extra 5 minutes to the cooking after you flip the chicken over. 

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Crispy Chicken and Kale Caesar Salad

Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken is full of delicious flavors and textures.  The kale is fresh and chewy – in the best way!  The Caesar dressing is super easy to make in a blender and brings creaminess and big flavor that's tangy, nutty, salty, garlicky, and delicious!  And finally, on top of all of this goodness is breaded and baked crispy chicken strips with a kiss of lemon zest.

Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword bread salad, caesar dressing, caesar salad, chicken, Chicken Salad, kale, kale salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

Kale Caesar Salad

  • 4 cups Kale
  • 1 cup Mayo
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1/2 cup Grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Crispy Chicken

  • 1 pound chicken breasts boneless, skinless
  • 1 egg large
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Zest
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil Cooking Spray

Instructions

Prep-Ahead Steps

  1. BREADCRUMBS. Mix the breadcrumbs, salt, ground black pepper.

  2. ZEST. Zest the entire lemon and add 1 tablespoon of it to the breadcrumbs. Cut the lemon in half to be juiced in the next step.

    Hand holding small bowl with lemon zest over breadcrumbs for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips
  3. MAKE DRESSING. Into a blender, add the mayonnaise, garlic cloves, anchovy paste, lemon juice, Dijon, Worcestershire, grated Parmesan, salt, and pepper

    Blender with a spoon scooping blended Caesar dressing for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips
  4. PREP KALE. If you get the fresh kale on the stalks, they the easiest way to prepare it is to hold the end of the stem with one hand and pull off the leaves along the stem with the other hand.  Rinse the leaves off under cold water in a strainer and pat dry with a towel.  Then thinly slice the kale so that it's easy to eat and it isn't too tough.

    Hand stripping the kale leaves from a stem for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips
  5. PREP CHICKEN. Slice the chicken breasts into 1 inch wide strips.

    Knife cutting raw chicken breast into thin strips on a pink cutting board for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

Cooking Steps

  1. PREHEAT. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees and spray a large sheet pan (I used an 17×11 inch) with olive oil cooking spray.

  2. STATIONS. Crack the egg into a separate medium size bowl and whisk it with the water. Get the breadcrumb mixture you prepared and place next to the sheet pan.

    Dish with breadcrumbs and a raw chicken strip on left bottom, above that a dish with beaten eggs with raw chicken strips, and on the right is a sheet pan with breaded chicken strips for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips
  3. COAT CHICKEN. Add all of the chicken strips into the egg wash and mix them around to coat each and every piece with the egg.  Then one by one, transfer each chicken strip to the breadcrumbs and flip to coat. Then place on sheet pan that has been coated with olive oil cooking spray. Spray the top of each chicken piece lightly as well.

    Hand spraying olive oil over breaded chicken strips on a sheet pan for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips
  4. BAKE. After the chicken has been in the oven for 15 minutes, take the pan out and flip each piece of chicken over. Bake for another 10 minutes. After a total of 25 minutes in the oven, the chicken should be completely cooked through…browned and crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

    Cooked breaded chicken strips on a sheet pan for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

Serve

  1. MIX & ASSEMBLE. Mix the kale and the caesar dressing. Then top with the chicken strips and enjoy! Garnish with more parmesan cheese if desired.

    Tongs tossing kale with caesar dressing in a clear bowl for Kale Caesar Salad with Baked Crispy Lemon Chicken strips

Recipe Notes

  1. Kale will last in the fridge for up to 7 days
  2. If you want to prep the chicken more than 1 day in advance, you can flash freeze the raw breaded chicken on the sheet pan in the freezer, then transfer it to storage container.  To cook, place the raw frozen chicken strips on the pan and cook exactly the same, but add an extra 5 minutes to the cooking after you flip the chicken over. 

Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe

Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion, in flour tortillas on a plate. Topped with Cilantro Lime Crema, fresh cilantro leaves, and lime wedges. Sheet pan with pork, peppers, and onions in background along with crema and tortillas.
Jump to Recipe

Raise your hand if you hate washing dishes!  Well, my friend, sheet pan dinners are for you because everything cooks on a sheet pan for super easy cleanup. This Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe has all the incredible flavor you love from sizzling fajitas without the fuss because the oven does the work! The pork is tender, smoky, and so flavorful. Fill warmed flour tortillas with the pork, peppers and onions, then top with Cilantro Lime Crema!

SHEET PAN DINNERS

The basic rule with sheet pan dinners is to find items with similar cooking times or that can be added to the pan in the oven in stages.  For this Pork Fajitas Recipe, everything cooks at the same time.  However, in my Sheet Pan Flank Steak and Potatoes dinner, you need to start the potatoes earlier and then add the steak later.  Sometimes you may want to bulk up the dinner with some rice that you cooked ahead of time or a simple boiled pasta.  But in general, sheet pan dinners are a great way focus less on the starch and more on the veg!

Here are some of my favorite sheet pan dinners:

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

EQUIPMENT NEEDED

Nothing special for this one! Just a large sheet pan (I use a 17×11)

PREP-AHEAD STEPS FOR THIS SHEET PAN PORK FAJITAS RECIPE

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below) 

The good news about this recipe is that you can (a) prep all of the ingredients ahead and then cook on the night you want to eat or (b) cook everything ahead and reheat it!  There is a bit of prepping to do, so I HIGHLY recommend doing this on the weekend to save you time on the night you cook and eat it.

The Crema can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the fridge.  Chop the cilantro. Then in a mixing bowl, add the sour cream, cilantro, and salt. Cut the lime in half (stem to bottom) and add juice from half. Cut the other half into wedges for serving with finished fajitas. Mix the crema and keep in the fridge until serving.

Bowl with sour cream, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice not mixed and lime cut in half next to bowl for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion.

For the rest of the veggies, peel, de-seed, and slice the peppers and onions into thin slices and place in a large bowl in the fridge until ready to mix with other ingredients.

Slice the pork tenderloin into thin strips about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide.

Strips of raw pork tenderloin on a plate for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion.

Add the pork to the bowl with sliced peppers and onions, along with the olive oil and water.

Last, mix seasonings in a small bowl (black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin powder, salt), then pour over the pork and veggies and mix to combine and coat.

 

COOK YOUR SHEET PAN PORK FAJITAS

Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Transfer the pork and veggies to a large sheet pan that is coated with olive oil. Spread out into a single layer. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

Raw seasoned strips of pork tenderloin, onion, red pepper, and green pepper on a sheet pan for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe.

While the pork and veggies bake, preheat a large pan and add the flour tortillas to slightly toast them on each side.

Cooked seasoned strips of pork tenderloin, onion, red pepper, and green pepper on a sheet pan for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe.
Serve the tortillas with the pork and veggies and top with the Crema.

RECIPE FAQS

Can I use another protein other than pork?  

You can substitute chicken breast strips or flank steak strips with the same cooking time.  You can also sub in shrimp, but check them at 10 minutes as they cook very fast.  If you want to go meatless, you could sub in slices of portabella mushrooms or zucchini.  You could also use extra firm tofu cut into strips.

How do I reheat the pork and veggies?  

If you cooked everything ahead and need to reheat it, you want to make sure you don’t dry out the pork.  The best way to do this is to warm it on medium heat in a skillet or pan.  You can add a couple tablespoons of water to both steam and moisten the fajita filling.  You can also warm in the microwave just until warmed, about 1-2 minutes.  Be careful not to overcook it in the microwave.

What can I serve with these Pork Fajitas?

You can serve a simple salad with some greens and tomato, steamed rice, Cilantro Lime Quinoa,  , or Easy Refried Black Beans.  On top, in addition to the tangy Cilantro Lime Crema, you can make this Easy Avocado Crema Recipe.

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe

This Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe has all the incredible flavor you love from sizzling fajitas without the fuss because the oven does the work! The pork is tender, smoky, and so flavorful. Fill warmed flour tortillas with the pork, peppers and onions, then top with Cilantro Lime Crema!  The best part is the super easy clean up since it all cooks on 1 pan!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword fajitas, pork fajitas, pork tenderloin, sheet pan dinner
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

CILANTRO LIME CREMA

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ½ cup Cilantro chopped
  • 1 Lime
  • ½ teaspoon Salt

PORK, ONIONS, PEPPERS:

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • 2 red peppers or green peppers
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Water
  • 12 flour tortillas 6-8″

Instructions

Prep Ahead Steps

  1. MAKE CREMA. Chop the cilantro. Make the Cilantro Lime Crema by mixing the sour cream, cilantro, and salt. Cut the lime in half (stem to bottom) and add juice from half. Cut the other half into wedges for serving with finished fajitas. Mix the crema and keep in the fridge until serving.
    Bowl with sour cream, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice not mixed and lime cut in half next to bowl for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion.
  2. PREP VEGGIES. Peel, de-seed, and slice the peppers and onions into thin slices and place in a large bowl in the fridge until ready to mix with other ingredients.
  3. PREP PORK. Slice the pork tenderloin into thin strips about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Add to a bowl with sliced peppers and onions, along with the olive oil and water.
    Strips of raw pork tenderloin on a plate for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion.
  4. MIX SEASONINGS. Mix seasonings in a small bowl (chili powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, salt, black pepper), then pour over the pork and veggies and mix to combine and coat.
    Seasonings in a clear bowl on counter. From top clockwise, there is ground black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin powder, and salt for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion.

Cooking Steps

  1. ROAST. Preheat the oven to 400 F degrees. Transfer the pork and veggies to a large sheet pan that is coated with olive oil. Spread out into a single layer. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes.

    Cooked seasoned strips of pork tenderloin, onion, red pepper, and green pepper on a sheet pan for the Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe.
  2. HEAT TORTILLAS. While the pork and veggies bake, preheat a large pan and add the flour tortillas to slightly toast them on each side.
  3. Serve the tortillas with the pork and veggies and top with the Crema. Enjoy!
    Sheet Pan Pork Fajitas Recipe with red pepper, green pepper, and onion, in flour tortillas on a plate. Topped with Cilantro Lime Crema, fresh cilantro leaves, and lime wedges.