10 Epic Caesar Salad Recipes with Creamy Homemade Caesar Dressing
Updated: Jan 19, 2020
Caesar salads traditionally consists of romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. In its original form, this salad was prepared and served table-side. This salad was not named after the Roman King, Julius Caesar. Legend has it that Italian-American restaurateur Caesar Cardini invented the salad in 1924 in Tijuana, Mexico. Cardini owned a restaurant in the tourist destination to "attract Americans frustrated by Prohibition." During a Fourth of July weekend, Cardini threw together a bunch of ingredients he had on hand and served his concoction to his friends. Needless to say, the improvised dish became highly requested. The original recipe included romaine, garlic, croutons, and Parmesan cheese, boiled eggs, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce. Cardini's brother, Alex, added anchovies to the salad. He called his version the "Aviator's salad." This version was so well-received that it became the standard and was renamed the "Caesar salad." Check out the Epic 10 variations of the basic recipe below.
Though most people buy Caesar salad dressing in a bottle, homemade is incredibly easy to make and tastes so much better than store bought. There are many variations but this rich and creamy version is the one my family loves. It’s rich and creamy and not overly garlicky or fishy — it’s perfect!
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
5 anchovy fillets (optional)
To make Caesar Dressing:
2 TBSN garlic, minced
1 cup mayonnaise ( I suggest using best quality such as Hellmann's)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 TBSN lemon juice, or more to taste
1 TBSN sugar or preferred sweetener
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
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Medium mixing bowl, mixing spoon, measuring spoons, aluminum foil, measuring cups, sharp carving knife Prep: 20 minutes prep Cook: 15 minutes Ready: 35 minutes Serves: 4-6
1. Place your large mixing bowl and serving dishes in the refrigerator to cool.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
3. Add the mayonnaise, 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, vinegar , sugar, salt and pepper and whisk until well combined. Taste and adjust to your peference.
4. Break apart head of lettuce and place leaves in the large refrigerated bowl.
5. Toss with dressing and the remaining Parmesan cheese and croutons.
6. Optional: lay anchovy fillets on top.
7. Serve on cool refrigerated salad plates.
Chicken Caesar Salad
Follow basic recipe above and add a sliced grilled chicken breast. Click here for Grilled Rosemary Chicken Breast recipe.
Grilled Caesar Salad
Drizzle olive oil on the romaine hearts and season with salt and pepper. Place the romaine cut-side down on the grill and cook on med- high heat until nicely marked, about 2 to 3 minutes. Follow basic recipe above after grilling romaine.
Bacon & Avocado Caesar Salad
Follow basic recipe above and include 1/4 cup crumbled bacon and slices of ripe avocado in place of croutons, which makes a great gluten-free option
Salmon Caesar Salad Follow basic recipe above and include either flaked freshly baked or grilled salmon while adding croutons
Kale and Chickpea Vegan Caesar Salad
Follow basic recipe above and replace romaine lettuce with fresh kale lettuce. Add crispy roasted chickpeas in place of croutons, a nut and seed blend as a stand-in for Parmesan cheese. Use Vegan mayo and mustard for dressing. Vegan and gluten-free
High Protein Caesar Salad
Follow basic recipe above and include sliced hard boiled eggs, halved cherry tomatoes, slices of grilled chicken, and bacon crumbles.
Replace grated cheese with shaved Parmesan cheese.
Margarita Caesar Salad Follow basic recipe above and replace lemon juice with fresh lime juice.
Replace croutons and Parmesan cheese with slices of strawberries and mango.
Optional: Add fish or grilled chicken for more protein.