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Copycat Panera Power Kale Caesar Salad

This healthy recipe is one we make often! You’ll love how easily you can make this Power Kale Caesar Salad at home in less than 30 minutes. 

Copycat Panera Kale Chicken Caesar Power Salad

Confession: I could eat at Panera Bread every single day and never ever get tired of it. I love their whole menu to infinity. Everything is soooooo fresh and tasty. Also sourdough bread wins.

The problem with Panera Bread though, is that the closest one to me is something like 35 miles away, and my twitter campaign to lure them closer has so far been a bust. I have to work out most of my salad cravings at home. This Power Kale Caesar Salad is my most recent favorite.

A couple weeks ago I shared my experience so far with Weight Watchers and we talked about what 36 Points Looks Like. This salad recipe is a part of that. I love a good Caesar salad – I think it was one of the first big ‘ol bowls of lettuce that I learned to love as a kid. Remember those Wendy’s Caesar side salads all covered in grated Parmesan and bacon bits? Those were my 12-year-old jam. Probably bordering on a bajillion calories, but whatever. They were delicious.

Copycat Panera Power Kale Caesar Salad Recipe

A few years back here on the blog I shared my favorite homemade Caesar dressing in these Caesar salad pitas. It’s not a creamy dressing and is sans anchovies or even anchovy paste (in case you didn’t know, anchovies and mayonnaise are what make creamy Caesar dressing so freaking delicious), but it is a tangy perfect vinaigrette, and I adore it. This is probably the dressing I make at home most often; my kids will eat it, Chad inhales it. We always have the ingredients to pull it together. It is basically a win all around.

Oh! And for those of you that requested this recipe because of the Weight Watchers post — the Lightened Up Caesar Dressing clocks in at 2 points per serving.

Kale Chicken Caesar Power Salad Recipe

For the chicken I like a really simple marinade of olive oil and lemon juice. This summer I have taken to grilling extra chicken whenever we have it for dinner, so I nearly always have a few pieces ready to slice up and toss on a salad at lunch. With the school year rapidly approaching over here I am going to try to keep this up. It sounds like I am really organized but I only wish that were the case. #lifegoals

Anyway. Moving on to the most IMPORTANT part of this recipe — Parmesan crisps. Have you ever made these? I feel like I am always the last person to know about everything and where have Parmesan crisps been all my life?! Salad crunch is crucial. But usually salad crunch involves unnecessary carbs so I try to pass because I would always rather eat bread than croutons. Just saying. But Parmesan crisps are like salad crunch heroes. They are salty and crispy and require only one ingredient: Parmesan cheese. Seriously. You grate it, make little piles of it on parchment paper, and then bake.

Mind blown.

Chicken Caesar Power Salad Recipe

So that’s it. This is basically the easiest salad recipe ever. You can make the chicken, the Parmesan crisps, and even the dressing ahead of time if you want, turning a 30 minute meal into 5 or 10.

We are winning at salad.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Copycat Panera Power Kale Caesar Salad
Prep time
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This easy 30 minute meal is loaded with protein and is such a great, healthy weeknight solution! Parmesan crisps can be made ahead of time, and so can the chicken to make an even faster lunch or dinner!
Serves: serves 4
  • For the Chicken:
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced into thin cutlets
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • For the Dressing:
  • 1 hard boiled egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon, juiced)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, very finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon spicy mustard
  • ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • For the Salad:
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese (see note)
  • 16 ounces kale, stems removed, leaves cut or torn into bite sized pieces
  1. Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil and then pour the marinade over the chicken. Toss to coat and refrigerate.
  2. To make the dressing, whisk together the yolk and the vinegar until smooth. Squeeze in the lemon juice, then add the garlic, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Alternatively, you can make the dressing in a mason jar and when it's time to add the oil. you can just pour it in, screw the lid on tight, and shake.
  3. Heat your grill to 350. Cook the chicken over direct heat for 3-4 minutes per side. This will depend on the thickness of your chicken so make sure that the juices run clear and the internal temp is 165F.
  4. Let the chicken rest while you make the Parmesan crisps.
  5. To make the Parmesan crisps, preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. About a tablespoon at a time, make little piles of cheese on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 2" apart. Pat them down just a little bit and then bake for 5 minutes.
  6. While they bake, toss the kale with the dressing to coat and slice the chicken.
  7. Let the crisps cool for just a minute before adding them to the salad to serve.
1. you can absolutely cook the chicken and Parmesan crisps ahead of time.
2. the dressing will keep in the fridge for about 5 days (mine always disappears before then!)
3. you can buy a wedge of good quality Parmesan cheese at Aldi for $5 or less. It will last forever and will make lots of crisps!

 Copycat Panera Power Salad

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Monday 23rd of January 2017

How many tsp/tbsp. are considered a serving of dressing?


Monday 25th of April 2016

Excellent recipe. Salad tastes just like the one I had a Panera and a lot less expensive. I split up the Kale to make multiple servings and just poured enough dressing on the Kale/Romaine for the serving size and saved the rest for another day. I did throw in some parmesan cheese and some toasted pine nuts into the Kale salad as well. I didn't make the parmesan crips but will attempt another time. Thank you for sharing! Yum

Heather Tullos

Tuesday 26th of April 2016

Thank you so much Marcy!! I make this often -- it's a keeper! Love your pine nut addition!


Friday 5th of February 2016

This is just the salad I was looking for, I love Panera food also and though I usually don't care to make salads at home this one sounds like something even I can handle(-: I wondered what those little things were in the salad, they are yummy and now I know they are parmesan crisps. Thanks so much for sharing.

Heather Tullos

Friday 5th of February 2016

Thanks, Debbie! I hope you enjoy it! This salad is EXTRA easy. And Parmesan crisps will be your new favorite.

Michelle Palin

Tuesday 12th of January 2016

This salad looks amazing, Heather! Since there are quite a few brands that make gluten-free Worcestershire sauce, I can make this for my family too! Yay! And no, you aren't the last person to find out about Parmesan crisps - I think I was, and have yet to try them. This salad will give me a good excuse to make them!

Heather Tullos

Wednesday 13th of January 2016

Oh make them Michelle! You will love Parmesan crisps. GF for sure -- plus an excuse to eat crispy cheese.