Chicken Caesar salad is a classic salad with romaine lettuce, Parmesan cheese, croutons and cooked chicken. You can use ready-made dressing or make a traditional dressing, using ingredients such as lemon juice, pepper, olive oil and garlic. Serve this salad as the main course of a light meal or as the first course of a more formal dinner.
Lettuce has less than 10 calories per cup, according to FineCooking.com, but a dinner-sized portion of grilled-chicken Caesar salad with dressing has 590 calories. You can reduce the calorie content by using less dressing or putting less oil in the dressing and reducing the amount of cheese or croutons that you add. Using fried, breaded chicken strips instead of grilled chicken and buttering your bread before toasting it to make croutons will increase the calorie content of your salad.
Sources of fat in a chicken Caesar salad include Parmesan cheese and buttered croutons. They contain saturated fats, which can raise the levels of LDL to unhealthy levels. Olives, homemade olive oil-based dressing and store-bought Caesar dressing are rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Anchovies in your salad provide omega-3 fats, which can lower your risk for heart attacks. Romaine lettuce and grilled chicken breast are nearly fat-free, but fried, breaded chicken strips may contain trans fats, which raise the "bad" LDL cholesterol and lower the "good" HDL cholesterol levels.
Chicken Caesar salad can contain high-sodium ingredients such as anchovies, Parmesan cheese, olives and seasoned croutons. Sodium is an essential nutrient, but too much can increase your risk for heart disease, kidney disease and stroke, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. A 2-tablespoon serving of commercial salad dressing has 363 milligrams of sodium, compared to recommendations for healthy adults to get no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
A dinner-sized portion of grilled-chicken Caesar salad provides 29 grams of protein, or 58 percent of the daily value. Chicken is also a source of vitamin B-12 and niacin, or vitamin B-3. The romaine lettuce is a source of dietary fiber, vitamin A, folate and potassium. Cheese supplies calcium, an essential mineral for bone health. Another benefit of chicken Caesar salad is that it is easy to prepare or to find in restaurants.