In St. Louis, we don’t know the word, “Panera.” Okay, we’ve heard it, but mostly in the context of correcting other people that move to the city and are looking for a bagel or quick lunch. Here, Panera is still known by the original name, “St. Louis Bread Company,” and all of us natives still lovingly cling to the nostalgic “Bread Co.” nickname. It’s so deeply ingrained in mind that even when we lived in North Carolina, if I asked a friend if they wanted to get lunch at “Bread Co.,” they responded with the classic I-have-no-idea-what-you’re-talking-about look.
One of my favorite items on their menu right now is the Power Kale Caesar Salad with Chicken, so I decided to try making it at home. Anne Burrell’s Eggless Caesar Dressing has come to be our favorite dressing recipe. I don’t miss the egg at all and the flavor is packed with salty, lemony, cheesy goodness. I’ve messed with the ingredients a few times to see if we’d like it any other way, but I keep going back to the original. It’s flawless. Don’t mess with a good thing, right? With the addition of tender chicken and toasted almonds, this salad is transformed into a hearty meal that makes for good leftovers, thanks to the sturdy kale leaves.
If you’re still recovering from gorging over the holidays, adding this meal in your weeknight rotation may help kick start healthier eating. Skip down to the recipe below. If you want to splurge on calories, continue reading…
…So, the best part of the Bread Co. salad are the little parmesan crisps. Giada De Laurentiis has a great recipe for these. Oh, and you’ll see in Anne’s recipe that she makes deeeeelicious homemade garlic croutons. If you’re not counting calories, go for both of those additions!
1 cup Anne Burrell’s Eggless Caesar Dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
10-oz. kale, chopped
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast tenders
1 cup toasted sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 350°. Place chicken tenders on a sheet pan and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken. Bake chicken for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. While chicken is cooking, make the dressing in a food processor (and also the optional garlic croutons and parmesan crisps).
Remove chicken from oven and place on a cutting board to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing into 1″ thick pieces. Combine chicken, kale, and almonds in a bowl and toss with the dressing to coat. Top with additional grated parmesan cheese and optional parmesan crisps and garlic croutons.
Makes 4 large entrée salads or 6-8 side salads