It’s time for healthy picnic recipes, along with lighter summer treats, from healthier Chicken Caesar salad and sandwiches to filling salads and fruity desserts, all on a budget

Super ultimate makeover: Chicken Caesar salad

Healthy Picnic Recipes: Chicken Caesar salad


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  • Preparation and cooking time
    • Prep:25 mins
    • Cook:25 mins
  • Easy
  • Serves 4

Angela Nilsen has been on a mission to make the not-so-innocent Caesar salad more honest. The result? A healthier and tastier version. So tuck in

low insalt1.37g


For the chicken

  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, plus a few sprigs
  • 1 garlic clove, bashed to bruise
  • 4 organic/free-range skinless boneless chicken breast fillets, about 140g/5oz each

For the croutons

  • 100g rustic granary bread
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

For the dressing and salad

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice, plus extra for squeezing
  • good pinch chilli flakes
  • 4 anchovies fillets, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp good-quality mayonnaise (we used Hellman’s)
  • 4 tbsp fat-free yoghurt
  • 1 head romaine or Cos lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried
  • 100g bag rocket or watercress
  • 25g piece parmesan , shaved with a potato peeler


  • STEP 1Marinate the chicken. Mix the lemon juice, oil, thyme and garlic in a shallow dish. Add the chicken and turn it over in the marinade to coat well. Season with freshly ground pepper and leave for up to 2 hrs.
  • Step 2Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Slice, then cut the bread into big, rough cubes for the croutons. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then brush them all over with the 2 tbsp oil. Bake for about 10 mins until golden and crisp.
  • STEP 3Meanwhile put the garlic into a mini blender with the mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, chilli and anchovies. Blend until smooth, add the mayonnaise and yoghurt, then blend again – it should be the consistency of double cream. Adjust the taste with lemon juice and pepper. If necessary, thin with a couple of tips of cold water to get the consistency right so it will coat the leaves.
  • Step 4Heat a griddle pan until very hot. Lay the chicken on the griddle, on the side that had the skin on. Cook for 15-16 mins, turning once or twice until cooked through. Remove, then let the meat sit for 5 mins before slicing.
  • STEP 5Keep any small inner lettuce leaves whole, tear the larger outer leaves into 2-3 pieces, then put them all into a large bowl with the rocket or watercress. Pour just under half the dressing over the leaves and carefully toss to coat – it’s gentler to use your hands. Either assemble in the bowl or pile the leaves onto individual plates, tucking in the croutons, chicken and Parmesan. Drizzle the rest of the dressing over and around, then finish with an extra squeeze of lemon