You don’t need a blender, or fancy ingredients for this Caesar Salad, and it’s flavorful and delicious.
For a lower calorie, lower fat version, add more tomatoes, less dressing, and no croutons.
Serve with Trader Joe’s Chicken Tenders & fresh Ciabatta Bread
Caesar salad was created in 1926 in Tijuana, Mexico, by Chef Caesar Cardini, who left California for Mexico to sidestep Prohibition laws.
His original version didn’t have anchovies—so I figured it would be okay to leave them out of mine!
The dairy guy at Whole Foods spent 20 minutes—a VERY long time when you’re with a three-year-old—trying to convince me to buy “Pasture-Raised” eggs, which I was pretty sure wasn’t the same as “pasteurized.” I decided to save the $7, and skip the egg—once again. And it was pretty darn delicious! If you’re really dying to use a raw egg, go ahead! Follow the instructions below for making it safe.
Parmesan vs Parmigiano Reggiano vs Pecorino Romano?
This was my first time buying a block of parmesan and grating it myself—pre-shredded ones tend to be dry.
Another Whole Foods dairy guy recommended “Parmigiano Reggiano Mita”—though I know I asked him for Parmesan!
I hid my confusion and researched it online.
Turns out, Parmesan is the English name for Parmigiano-Reggiano—made from cow’s milk—named after certain regions in Italy.
The lesser known, Pecorino Romano—made from Sheep’s Milk—is sharper and more tangy.
I felt very fancy finishing off the beautiful salads with freshly shredded cheese (LOVE my microplane grater). Definitely worth it!
This one is from Gelsons Market
What’s your favorite Parmesan Cheese? Do you grate your own?
My favorite store bought parmesan is Trader Joe’s grated parmesan—see Trader Joe’s Shopping List >>
You can make the dressing in a Blender or Food Processor, but I’d just as soon not have to wash any appliances! For special occasions stick all the dressing ingredients (except olive oil) in the blender (add one pasteurized egg if you like); pulse in 1/4 cup of the parmesan cheese and then add the olive oil in a steady stream through the tube. This will give you a thicker, creamier, more luscious dressing.
I’ve seen Caesars made with many different oils and vinegars; if you don’t have red wine vinegar you can substitute with tarragon, rice vinegar or even just Heinz White Vinegar.
I prefer using Olive Oil because it’s healthier, but you could use Canola or Vegetable Oil.
Instead of black pepper you could use white pepper, or even tabasco sauce for a little kick.
Q & A
What does it mean to Emulsify Dressing >>
How to Pasteurize an egg
Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Gently lower the egg into the water, then immediately remove the pan from the heat and let stand 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the egg under cold water.
- Microplane Grater—one of my favorite kitchen tools. Fabulous for finely shredding parmesan cheese.
- Lettuce Spinner
Super Simple Caesar Salad
- 2 large or 3 small Romaine Hearts 1-inch thick slices
- ½ small container cherry or grape tomatoes halved lengthwise (optional)
- ½ cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese about 2 ounces
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice about 1/2 lemon
- 1 clove garlic very finely minced (about 1 teaspoon)
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- freshly ground black pepper
- pinch sugar
- Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper (about 8 turns) together in a 2-cup measuring cup or small bowl.
- Whisk in olive oil in a slow, steady steam to emulsify (combine as one).
- Taste for seasoning and add more salt and pepper if necessary. (Remember that the cheese will add more saltiness too.)
- This can be done ahead.
- Combine lettuce, tomatoes (if using) and croutons in a salad bowl. Start with about half the dressing and add more as necessary. Mix in about 1/3 of the cheese. Divide among plates and top with the remaining parmesan.
Fresh Gourmet Classic Caesar Croutons or Trader Joe's Garlic & Cheese Croutons
Trader Joe's Extra Virgin California Estate Olive Oil
Trader Joe's freshly grated Parmesan cheese