Caesar salad pleases three out of the four eaters in my house, which in my book is a statistical success. I like to make my own salad dressings when I can–and I don’t want to mess with the egg yolks and whole anchovies of the signature Caesar dressing–so I came up with a simple combo that delivers the classic Caesar dressing taste, but is a whole lot easier (and bonus: it’s a whole lot lighter too).
The base of the dressing is non-fat Greek yogurt, which is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt. Another secret weapon: Anchovy paste, which is simply anchovies, olive oil, and salt. I found tubes of it at a specialty grocer in our neighborhood for a few bucks each (you can also find it on Amazon here: Reese Anchovy Paste). Totally worth it to get the flavor of anchovies without the fuss.
Caesar salad also needs some crunch, so I also made some very simple croutons using whole grain sandwich bread, a drizzle of olive oil, and some seasonings. (Eating gluten free? Raw sunflower seeds would add nice texture too.)
The key to this salad–and really, to all salads–is to toss the greens and dressing together in a larger bowl before serving. This ensures that all the greens are evenly coated. You can make a small amount of dressing stretch further when you do it this way (instead of serving it poured on top of the greens). The recipe for this dressing makes six 2-tablespoon servings.
I hope at least 75 percent of the eaters in your house like this too!
Lightened-Up Caesar Salad
This simple dressing delivers the classic Caesar dressing taste, but is a whole lot easier than the traditional recipe (and it’s lighter too).
- 1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 slices whole wheat bread
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 cups romaine lettuce, rinsed and chopped
- 1 tablespoon shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place the first nine ingredients (yogurt through salt) in a a blender and puree.
- Cut bread into one-inch cubes. Place cubes in medium bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and toss until well coated. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning and garlic powder and toss again. Lay cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 15 minutes or until brown and crisp.
- For a single serving, toss romaine lettuce, 1/2 cup croutons, and two tablespoons dressing in a medium bowl until everything is thoroughly coated. Top with parmesan cheese and serve.
- Store leftover dressing in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use within five days. Store leftover croutons in an airtight container at room temperature and use within 3 days.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 portion
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 228Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 699mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 13g
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I fear 100% of the eaters in this house would feel cheated if their Caesar salad didn’t include bacon.
But nice idea for the dressing. Anchovy paste is very handy. For those who can’t find it, a (not perfect) substitute is Worcestershire sauce, which uses anchovies as the basis of its “umami” flavor.
If you have anchovy paste in the fridge, you can also use it in a simple veggie pasta sauce: cook a vegetable such as cauliflower or broccoli in olive oil, garlic, and a touch of anchovies and red pepper flakes, adding a bit of the pasta water when you mix it with the pasta. Works best with a firm, solid pasta shape like penne. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a dynamite combination and the anchovies are the magic ingredient that makes it work.
Anna–thanks for the tip on using the anchovy paste! Love that idea.
Anne|Craving Something Healthy
Those anchovy tubes (and tomato paste tubes) are the best invention ever!!
Anne–yes, I would probably skip the anchovies if I had to use whole ones. This makes it very easy (and a lot less messy). 🙂
Looks yummy. How many servings does this make, as a side salad?
Miranda–the dressing makes six two-tablespoon servings. I’ve added that to the post. So you can adjust the amount of romaine–I think about three cups is nice with two tablespoons of the dressing for a single serving. Hope you enjoy it!
Jessica @ Nutritioulicious
I’ve been waiting for this recipe ever since I saw your segment the other day! Love this recipe makeover! And personally I love anchovies, but they are a bit of a mess to work with 🙂
I had Caesar salad yesterday. I’m a Caesar lover – but only WITH anchovies. So I wish I woulda made your version instead – because my salad was sadly sans-anchovies and sans fresh lemon juice – which is also key. ):
Thanks Serena. Hope you like this version!
My daughter loves Caesar salad! This is a wonderful option- I like to make my own dressings but never attempted Caesar. THanks!
Lauren–Hope you love it!
My salad-averse 4-year-old requested this salad in her lunch today (no croutons or additional cheese, just lettuce and dressing). Total win!
Tracy–so glad to hear that!! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂