Prepare a classic Caesar salad easily with your own healthy Caesar dressing. Lower in calories than traditional Caesar dressings, you’ll love how great this homemade salad dressing tastes.
I love a good Caesar salad, don’t you? Have you ever had one prepared by a chef tableside? It’s performance art!
And Caesar salad shows up in so many forms. Chicken is often added to make a main course salad, and you can find recipes for Caesar salad pizzas, Caesar salad sandwiches, Caesar salad appetizers, Caesar salad soup (really!), and even a bacon-and-egg Caesar salad breakfast.
Just a bit of history: Caesar salad was not invented by a long ago Roman emperor. The story goes that an Italian chef, named Caesar Cardini, immigrated to the United States and opened a restaurant in San Diego, California. When Prohibition laws were passed in the U.S., he opened a second restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico, in order to serve alcohol to his patrons. In 1924, on a busy Fourth of July weekend, running low on supplies, out of desperation he created what is now known as a Caesar salad. It’s thought that the original salad was meant to be a finger food, served on individual Romaine lettuce leaves. (Thanks, Wikipedia!)
Julia Child, who visited Caesar’s restaurant with her parents, recounts how Caesar himself rolled a big cart up to their table, and made a Caesar salad for the family. She says, “It was a sensation of a salad from coast to coast, and there were even rumblings of its success in Europe.” (From Julia Child’s Kitchen, 1975).
With the recipe I’m bringing you today, you can prepare your own Caesar salad. It’s really a simple salad and I have a healthier-for-you dressing that I’m sure you’ll love.
About this Healthy Caesar Dressing:
Traditionally, Caesar dressing is made with raw egg yolks which add creaminess. Personally I like to stay away from raw eggs because of the risk of food poisoning. No salmonella on my salad, thank you very much!
I’ll take the little fishies, though. Canned anchovy fillets add lots of savory umami flavor. Please don’t leave them out. They don’t taste a bit “fishy” and add so much to the dressing. You’ll find them in my Green Goddess dressing, too.
Are you curious yet? Would you like to know how to make your own healthy Caesar dressing?
If you have tried any of my creamy salad dressings, you know my trick: Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt adds creaminess with less calories and fat than mayonnaise or sour cream. I like to use 2% or full fat yogurt but non-fat is fine, too. With only 60 calories per serving (2 tablespoons), it’s a pretty healthy dressing.
You’ll need a a mini blender or food processor to get a nice smooth salad dressing. Simply blend together:
- Greek yogurt
- a small amount of mayo (just one-fourth cup!)
- 2 anchovy fillets (or a teaspoon of anchovy paste)
- lemon juice, freshly squeezed, to brighten the flavor
- fresh garlic
- Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper
That’s it! Whirl it all together until it’s nice and creamy. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese, and you are ready to make your own classic Caesar salad.
You’ll need romaine lettuce, croutons (homemade croutons are by far the best!), and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired. Toss it all together until the dressing coats everything well.
How to make this salad your own:
- I like the flavor of a little mayo in the dressing but if you want, you can use all yogurt. The dressing will be a bit more tangy. If it’s too tangy, add a little sweetener (sugar, honey, agave), a teaspoon or so.
- If you’re looking for a vegan recipe, take a look at this Vegan Caesar Salad by Platings and Pairings. No anchovies, no mayo, eggs, or dairy, this salad is made with blended cashews, and includes capers for umami flavor.
- Add protein to make a main dish salad: chicken, fish, hard boiled eggs, or chickpeas.
- If you want, add more veggies. Not classic, but why not? Tomatoes, sliced cucumber, chopped bell peppers, or radishes all go great in this salad.
You can make this Caesar dressing ahead and store it in the fridge for up to a week, in a tightly covered container or jar. Shake it well before serving.
More great salad dressings
Add Wow! to your salads with homemade dressings. Much more flavorful, fresher, and economical than store-bought, you’ll love these recipes:
- ¾ cup plain Greek yogurt (non-fat, 2% or full-fat)
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 canned anchovy fillets (packed in oil), drained and patted dry
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 small garlic clove, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Romaine lettuce
- Additional Parmesan cheese, to garnish
- Coarsely ground pepper
- In small blender or food processor, combine all ingredients except Parmesan cheese. Blend until smooth, scraping sides as necessary. Scrape dressing into small bowl or measuring cup; stir in Parmesan cheese.
- Combine with chopped romaine lettuce; stir well to coat. Sprinkle with homemade croutons, additional Parmesan cheese, and coarsely ground pepper, if desired.
- Omit the mayo and use all yogurt. If the dressing is too tangy, add a teaspoon of sweetener (sugar, honey, agave).
- Add additional vegetables to the salad: sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, chopped bell pepper, and radishes are good choices.
- Add protein: chicken, fish, hard boiled eggs, or garbanzo beans.
- Nutrition information is for dressing only: one serving is 2 tablespoons.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
Husband’s take: Ben has never been a Caesar fan. More for me!
Changes I would make: None!