Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chicken Cesar Salad with Parmesan-Encrusted Pine Nuts

This recipe is a Chaley original! I know, right?! The Melting Pot has these FABULOUS pine nuts that they put on their Cesar salad, so I went looking for the recipe online. Nowhere could I find it! So I decided to make my own. I remembered that they are a little sweet, a little herby, and covered in Parmesan cheese, so they really can be tailored to fit whatever taste you want at the moment. Here is what I used, but feel free to play around with measurements.

Parmesan-Encrusted Pine Nuts

2 Tbsp butter
Small package of pine nuts
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Oregano to taste
Garlic salt to taste
Garlic and Wine Seasoning to taste (this one is actually from the Melting Pot - it's amazing! I use it in everything!!)
Pepper to taste
1 tbsp white sugar


Heat butter in the microwave until melted in a bowl large enough to hold all of the pine nuts. Mix Parmesan, sugar, and all seasonings in a bowl large enough to toss the pine nuts in (in small quantities).
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Dump the pine nuts into the butter and stir to coat. In small batches, scoop out the pine nuts with a fork, and after letting as much butter drain off as possible, put into the bowl with the cheese and seasonings. Toss until nuts are completely coated, and using a slotted spoon (would recommend not using the same fork as you used to put the nuts IN, the butter tends to make the cheese mixture stick to it and not strain very well). Shake to get the excess cheese mixture off and place nuts on a cookie sheet covered with waxed or parchment paper.
Bake for 8-12 minutes, but keep a close eye on them to make sure they don't burn. Mine took towards the longer end of the time, but I sat there and watched them and kept turning up the time. :P

Alright, so these turned out pretty well,. I think next time I'll add some extra seasonings, maybe some Rosemary and/or Thyme.
So, the rest of the salad. I marinated chicken breasts in Cesar dressing overnight, and put them on the grill. I put these on a bed of Romaine lettuce, with tomatoes, some Parmesan cheese,sprinkled pine nuts and topped with Bolthouse Farms Cesar dressing (one of the best dressings I've found!)
All in all, it was pretty good. Not quite up to par with the Steak salad, but definitely worth making again!

Factoid of the day: I'm reading Water for Elephants right now, and while there is some stuff in there that makes me uncomfortable, I'm enjoying the book as a whole. Next on my reading list is Q&A, which is the book that Slumdog Millionaire is based on. Between my book club and just getting out of my reading box, I'm discovering all kinds of new and fun books. While the above couple are GOOD reads, they definitely hit some challenging subjects (animal abuse, human trafficking, etc). I think at the end of this, I'll be ready for a light and fluffy read! :D Some of my favorite out-of-the-box books from the past year: The Help, Hannah's Dream, The Guinea Pig Diaries, Sing You Home, and The Hunger Games.


  1. You have no idea how long I have searched for the recipe for those nuts! Thanks, I'll def give this a try!

  2. I love the salad from the melting pot but I couldn't find out how to do the nuts myself. Can't wait to make this myself!