Wild Recipes

Chicken of the Woods Caesar Salad

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Chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) is an edible bracket fungi found growing on dead or dying trees in most of the northern hemisphere. The mushroom is aptly named, as fresh specimens resemble the flavour and texture of chicken when cooked!

Chicken of the woods (COW) is a great mushroom for beginner foragers since there are no toxic look-a-likes. Still, one must exercise great caution when foraging for and eating wild mushrooms. Always use several sources to properly identify wild mushrooms and be 100% sure of them before eating. Even non-toxic mushrooms like COW can interact poorly with some digestive systems, so start off by eating only a small amount and always be sure to cook wild mushrooms all of the way through!

The best way to get started in foraging is to find a mentor, or join your local mycological society.

COW can generally be found in late summer and early autumn. Make sure you keep your eye out for them when you’re starting to scout for deer and duck hunting.

After finding a big, beautiful specimen, I decided that I would blanch and freeze most of it, saving it for future recipes in the winter when I wouldn’t have access to so many mushrooms.

I kept a few pieces aside to make myself and my partner a nice lunch. Since COW can taste and feel a lot like chicken, I decided to make a wild play on a much-loved chicken Caesar salad, swapping the chicken out for mushrooms.

The end product was absolutely delicious and would be a great way to gently introduce this wild mushroom to someone who hasn’t tried them before.

Serves: 2 for a lunch and 4 as a side
Also make with: chicken, grouse
Time to make: 40 minutes

Looking for more wild mushroom recipes? Check out these fried oyster mushroom tacos!

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Chicken of the Woods Caesar Salad

Recipe by Adam Berkelmans
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Course: Wild Recipes


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  • Salad
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon

  • 2 pieces bread

  • 1 pinch oregano flakes

  • 1 pinch garlic powder

  • 200 g Chicken of the Woods mushroom, cleaned, trimmed, and torn into bite-sized shreds

  • Kosher salt

  • Black pepper

  • 1 small head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces

  • Grated Parmesan cheese

  • **Dressing
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed into a paste

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste OR 2 anchovies, crushed into a paste

  • Juice from 1/4 lemon, OR 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon smooth Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 small pinch salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon white sugar


  • Cut the bacon into lardons and cook until crispy in a skillet over medium-high heat. Decant half of the bacon grease into a container, leaving the rest in the skillet. Add the bread to the skillet and cook until golden brown on both sides. Sprinkle with the garlic powder and oregano on both sides. Cut into small squares.
  • Add the reserved bacon fat to the skillet and add the torn mushrooms. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 8 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Let cool.
  • Mix the dressing ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Tear the lettuce into bite-sized pieces. Add to a large bowl along with the croutons, mushrooms, and bacon bits. Add the dressing and toss well. Transfer to plates and shower with grated Parmesan. Enjoy!

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Adam Berkelmans

Adam Berkelmans, also known as The Intrepid Eater, is a passionate ambassador for real food and a proponent of nose to tail eating. He spends his time between Ottawa and a cozy lake house north of Kingston, Ontario. When not cooking, he can be found hunting, fishing, foraging, gardening, reading, traveling, and discovering new ways to find and eat food.

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