Knowing how to make a simple Caesar salad is a critical skill. It’s a staple salad that is served in restaurants as well as at home.
This salad can be eaten as a meal or as an appetizer. Generally, salad without meat will be an appetizer and salad with meat will be more of a meal. Make this salad into a meal by adding some cubed rotisserie chicken on top.
Calories in Caesar Salad
The calories in any meal will depend entirely what you put into it. A Caesar salad with two cups of romaine, a 3 oz serving of anchovies, croutons, 3 oz of dressing and Parmesan cheese will be about 500 calories per generous serving.
To cut some calories, you can always cut down on the most calorie-dense ingredients. Instead of using more dressing, use less and make sure it’s mixed into the lettuce well, so you’re getting a bite of well-dressed romaine with every bite. If I am counting calories but still want a delicious Caesar, I will usually omit the Parmesan cheese. I find that I often don’t miss it. There is already cheese in the dressing and the added cheese is just frivolous. Another way to decrease the calorie count is to replace the croutons with sliced almonds, or to just replace half of the croutons with almonds.
If you’re looking for a way to add big nutrition while cutting calories, I highly recommend adding anchovies to your salad. Or at least trying them if you’re unsure about them. They’re small little fish that are sold packed in oil in a tin container. They contain tons of calcium and other necessary ingredients. Usually you can find anchovies for around a $1 at the grocery store.
Caesar salad is easy, simple and classic. The only ingredients you will need are:
- Romaine lettuce: A traditional Caesar salad uses romaine, but Caesar’s are also made using kale or iceberg lettuce. Chop the lettuce into bite sized pieces so the salad is easy to eat.
- Creamy Caesar dressing: A must! Buy bottled or make your own.
- Anchovies: Traditionally anchovies are the protein that is added to Caesar salad, and they also compliment the anchovy paste in the Caesar dressing.
- Croutons: A must for any salad! Learn how to make your own here. Or if you want to make a Keto Caesar salad, omit the croutons and use almonds, or even pork rinds, instead for some crunch.
- Freshly cracked black pepper: Add freshly cracked pepper to your salad when serving.
How to Make a Caesar Salad
Take your freshly cut romaine lettuce and wash it well, washing away any dirt that is left over from where it was grown. Remember, finding dirt and small bugs on your produce is normal. It is from the earth, after all! Just wash it away in clean running water. You can also use a salad spinner as well but I prefer to use a colander and shake dry. A little extra water doesn’t bother me.
Take your freshly-washed romaine and add a couple tablespoons of Caesar salad and toss well. If you’re making yourself your own salad, add your anchovies, croutons and Parmesan cheese as you desire. If you’re making this salad for a large group, allow your guests to serve themselves and add toppings as they desire.
Serve with a freshly-cracked pepper on the side so that you (or your guests an) crack as much or as little pepper as they’d like on their salads.
Making a Simple Caesar Salad without Anchovies
Anchovies are definitely an acquired taste that not everyone enjoys. I always serve the anchovies on the side for my guests if I’m not sure if they enjoy the salty savoriness of the fish. Anchovies are also part of the dressing, so if you choose to make your own Caesar salad dressing, you can omit the anchovies entirely from the salad by not adding the anchovy paste to the dressing.
If you’re unsure whether or not your guests (or even family!) enjoy anchovies, just serve them in a small bowl on the side with a serving fork.
How to Store
Storing your freshly-made salad can be a bit tricky. Often, salads are best eaten the same day (or even hour) they are made. If you don’t want to toss your salad after making it, go ahead and store what’s left in an airtight container and place in the fridge. The longer it stays in the fridge, the soggier the lettuce and croutons will become.
If possible, store the ingredients to your salad in separate airtight containers so the salad does not become soggy in the fridge.
Is your Salad Missing… Something?
Is your Caesar just missing something? It’s delicious but you’d like to add something to top it off? Or are you tired of the same Caesar salad that you are used to getting at any restaurant. Well, the good news is that I have a couple of ideas for how to spice you your salad.
- Rotisserie chicken: Add some leftover rotisserie chicken to the top of your salad.
- Shrimp: Chargrill some shrimp on a barbecue and add to your Caesar for some sweet smokey flavor.
- Cajun seasoning: Add in some Slap Ya Mama seasoning to your creaming Caesar dressing to add an unexpected kick to your salad. Trust me, it’s super delicious!
- Lemon juice: Adding some brightness from lemon juice can make a world of difference to a salad. Spritz some fresh lemon juice on top of your salad or add more juice to your dressing. Serve your salad with a wedge of lemon.
- Herbs: Adding fresh herbs will add freshness to the dish that you might not expect from a Caesar salad. Add in parsley, cilantro or mint for a way to refresh your lettuce.