I wanted to share with you a summer lunch idea that I've been making pretty often: Spinach Chicken Caesar Salad with Air Fryer Chicken. I love that this salad has warm, freshly cooked chicken in my salads, and that I can assemble the salad while the chicken cooks. The whole dish takes about 10-15 minutes!
Spinach Caesar salad
Traditionally, Caesar salad uses Romaine lettuce. And while Romaine lettuce is wonderful and oh so crunchy, I often prefer baby spinach in my salads.
Baby spinach is delish, super nutritious, and best of all—pre-washed, organic, and small enough that it doesn't need chopping. (I always buy organic and triple-washed baby spinach to save time).
So if I can make a quick lunch salad that does NOT require me to take out the salad spinner or to chop lettuce, I am in!
That's how much Spinach Caesar Salad was born. Don't worry, I did not mess with the rest of the traditional ingredients. The freshly shaved Parmesan, crunchy buttery salty croutons, and creamy Caesar dressing all make an appearance in my spinach salad bowl.
More nutritious salads that make a great meal: Tuna Quinoa Salad
Air fryer chicken for salad
If you're like my and love a good hearty salad for lunch, then you probably appreciate warm, freshly cooked chicken in your salad to add protein, flavor, and bulk. Air frying chicken for a salad is by far my favorite, least messy way to cook up fresh chicken for a salad.
I just season thin-sliced chicken breast with garlic salt and pop it in the air fryer for about 8 minutes (a bit longer if the chicken breast is thick).
While the chicken is air frying, I assemble the rest of the salad.
Ready to get started?
- 3-4 cups baby spinach (or use whatever salad greens you prefer)
- 1 chicken thin-sliced chicken breast (try to get one that's thin and small, otherwise you'll be cooking it longer. Thin-sliced chicken breasts or cutlets would be perfect for this to cut down on cooking time! See also: 30 Thin-Sliced Chicken Breast Recipes)
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt (or adjust to taste)
- 2 tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese (I like to use a grater or vegetable peeler to "shave" off large chunks of Parmesan from a block. Or you can do this with a cutting board and a paring knife.)
- 2 tablespoons Caesar dressing
- Croutons (as many as your crunch-loving heart desires! I like garlic and/or Parmesan flavored croutons)
More delicious salads with chicken: Chicken and Chickpea Salad
More delicious air fryer chicken recipes: Air Fryer Chicken and Shrimp Alfredo
Step 1: Place the chicken breast into your air fryer basket or tray. Spray the basket or tray with olive oil if yours is not non-stick. Season both sides of the chicken breast with garlic salt.
Step 2: Place the air fryer basket/tray in the air fryer. Set the temperature to 380F and cook for 8 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and the internal temperature in the thickest part is at least 165F when checked with a meat thermometer.
Step 3: While the chicken breast is in the air fryer, build your salad: Place the spinach in a large bowl or on a dinner plate. Add the shaved Parmesan cheese. Add the Caesar dressing and croutons.
Step 4: When the chicken is fully cooked, dice it into bite-sized pieces or into strips, and top your salad with freshly cooked chicken. You can chop the chicken on a cutting board, or hold it with tongs and use kitchen shears to dice it directly into the bowl. Enjoy!
More hearty meal salads: Hawaiian Chicken Salad with Pineapple
More salad additions to try
Even though these might not be traditional ingredients in a Caesar salad, I often like to add these for extra crunch, flavor, and nutrition:
- Halved cherry tomatoes
- Sliced cucumber
- Slivered almonds
- Steamed edamame (OK, let's be real: frozen microwaved edamame)
- Swap shrimp for chicken
Whatever you decide to add to your salad, I guarantee you that taking a few minutes to freshly air fry chicken for a Caesar salad will make a much more delicious salad than simply reheating frozen store-bought grilled chicken.
I hope you enjoy this salad as much I do!
More awesome salad recipes to try
- Spinach salad with beets and blue cheese
- Couscous salad with roasted pumpkin
- Spicy crunchy chicken salad
- Shrimp and vegetable couscous salad
If you enjoyed this recipe, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!
Spinach Caesar Salad with Air Fryer Chicken
- Place a piece of chicken breast in the air fryer basket. Be sure to spray olive oil on the bottom of the basket first so that the chicken breast doesn’t stick.1 thin-sliced chicken breast
- Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breast with garlic salt.1 tablespoon garlic salt
- Air fry at 380F for about 8-10 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165F.
- While the chicken breast is in the air fryer, build your salad: Add your spinach and shaved Parmesan to your plate. Add the Caesar dressing and croutons.3-4 cups baby spinach, 2 tablespoons shaved parmesan, 2 tablespoons Caesar dressing, croutons
- Once the chicken breast has cooked through in the air fryer, dice it into bite-sized pieces. Top your salad with the chicken breast and enjoy!
The nutritional information displayed is an estimate and not to be used as dietary or nutritional advice. Consult a nutritionist or dietician for nutritional info based on the exact ingredients you use.