Easy Caesar Salad Recipe

By Jeri Mobley-Arias
April 27, 2023 | Updated on August 14, 2023

This easy Caesar salad recipe is crisp lettuce tossed in a zesty homemade salad dressing topped with buttery bits of focaccia breadcrumbs. This fresh take on the original Caesar salad recipe is the perfect side or base for a delicious and nutritious lunch or dinner.

Are you searching for more deliciously light salads? Try Grilled Corn Salad and this Erewhon copycat recipe for Kale and White Bean Salad.

ceasar salad with dressing, parmesan, and focaccia breadcrumbs

This content contains affiliate links which helps WhisperofYum.com to provide free recipes. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for support of the blog, Whisper of Yum!

This is the best Caesar salad recipe because it takes the tastiest element of the classic salad (the dressing) and adds some delicious updates (lettuce and croutons). If you’ve ever had a sad, wilted Caesar salad at a restaurant that tasted more like an afterthought than a well-thought-out dish, then this recipe is for you!

Crisp lettuce, crunchy bits of toasted bread, freshly grated parmesan cheese, and a rich, creamy, salty, savory Caesar salad dressing make this salad a mouthwatering treat for your taste buds.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Easy – If the thought of making your own Caesar salad dressing is intimidating, just know it doesn’t have to be. Whip up a tasty dressing in just minutes with this recipe.
  • Authentic – So this recipe definitely includes anchovies but it’s not fishy or overpowering. It provides a distinct umami flavor that is out of this world good!
  • Versatile – There are so many ways to customize this salad. Enjoy it as a light lunch, side, or appetizer. Alternatively, add protein to make it a filling main dish.
ceasar salad recipe with dressing, parmesan, and focaccia breadcrumbs

A Brief History of the Original Caesar Salad Recipe

Did you know that this popular salad is named after an Italian chef and not the Roman ruler, Julius Caesar? Caesar Cardini was an Italian chef in Tijuana, Mexico during the 1920s. Legend has it, he whipped up this salad on a whim when he had limited ingredients and needed to feed customers. As luck would have it, famed chef, Julia Child, was served the salad tableside at Cardini’s restaurant and the rest is history!

Traditional recipes for Caesar salad have a loosely emulsified dressing whereas modern recipes (including this one) have a thicker consistency with a bolder flavor.

Tools You’ll Need

Caesar Salad Ingredients

There are three components to this Caesar salad recipe: the dressing, the breadcrumbs, and the salad.

Caesar Dressing

  • Egg yolk – Adding raw egg enriches the emulsion.
  • Fresh garlic cloves – Smashed for a more garlicky flavor.
  • Anchovies – A little goes a long way. Use anchovy paste as an alternative.
  • Dijon mustard For a zesty kick.
  • Lemon – Zested and juiced, for a bright citrusy taste. Stick with fresh lemons because it tastes much better than bottled lemon juice which can be a little bitter.
  • High-Quality Oils – For the best results, I combine avocado oil and olive oil. This thickens the dressing.
  • Parmigiano reggiano – Cheese freshly grated with a microplane yields the best flavor so do not use pre-shredded.
  • Worcestershire sauce – Add for an irresistible umami flavor.
  • Seasoning – Freshly cracked black pepper and kosher salt, to taste

Focaccia Breadcrumbs

  • Focaccia breadcrumbs – Finely crumbled; use panko breadcrumbs as an alternative.
  • Salted butter – For buttery flavor.
  • Fresh garlic cloves – Microplaned in order to better integrate.
  • Kosher salt – Add to taste.

For Caesar Salad

  • Little gem lettuce – This cross between romaine lettuce and butter lettuce has a more tender texture and slightly sweet flavor notes. Cleaned and trimmed.
  • Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano – To taste.
  • Black pepper – Use freshly cracked black pepper for strong peppery bites.

How To Make Caesar Salad

The dressing makes this Caesar salad recipe absolutely mouthwatering. Make it in advance to save yourself some time. After prepping that, the salad comes together in just minutes.

Caesar Dressing

  1. In a mortar and pestle, add anchovies, smashed garlic, and a pinch of kosher salt. Pound the mixture to break up the garlic a bit, then grind until a paste forms. Then scrape the sides to form the mixture then add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (from the reserved lemon) this will help cut the sharpness of the garlic. Set aside for five minutes. See notes if you do not have a mortar and pestle.
  2. Transfer anchovy paste to a medium-size bowl. Add the egg yolk, lemon zest, juice of ½ a lemon, dijon mustard, and a generous pinch of salt. Whisk together.
  3. Combine avocado and olive oil in a measuring cup. While whisking, slowly add oil until it is fully emulsified. Do not stop whisking as you add the oil. Once fully emulsified, add freshly grated c, black pepper, and worcestershire sauce. Whisk to combine and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.
ceasar salad dressing in a bowl with a spoon showing its smooth texture

Focaccia Breadcrumbs

In a skillet over medium heat, add butter. Once melted, add grated garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute (do not brown garlic.) Then add breadcrumbs and cook for 2-3 minutes or until toasted and crispy. Stir in salt then set aside.

homemade focaccia breadcrumbs in a pan for caesar salad recipe

Assemble Salad

Add little gem leaves to a mixing bowl then add the desired amount of dressing, enough to coat the leaves. Add parmigiano, black pepper, and a pinch of salt. Toss, transfer to a plate, then top with more parmigiano, breadcrumbs, and black pepper. Finally, enjoy this Caesar salad recipe!

See note for extra dressing.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use cold lettuce so the leaves are extra crisp. Ensure they are washed, dried (no salad spinner necessary; paper towels will suffice).
  • Do not use pre-shredded cheese. Get a chunk of parmigiano reggiano and shred it yourself for maximum flavor and freshness.
  • Salad dressing ingredients should be used at room temperature. This makes them easier to combine.
  • Slowly add the oil to the dressing. The slower, the thicker the dressing.
  • Emulsify your dressing because it makes it creamier and clings to the salad without the ingredients separating. It makes the salad easier to eat and more enjoyable.
  • If you are serving the elderly, children, pregnant people, or other immune-compromised, consider using a Caesar salad dressing without raw eggs. See my substitution suggestion below.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Caesar Salad with no Anchovies – It’s not quite the same as the signature taste but you can use an additional teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce instead of anchovies.
  • Without Raw Eggs – Replace the oil and eggs with mayo or a garlic-flavored vinaigrette.
  • Vegan Caesar Salad Recipe – Skip the eggs and use vegan mayonnaise. And instead of anchovies, use a vegan Worcestershire sauce. Swap the butter for vegan butter.
  • Lettuce – Prefer a darker leaf? Try kale in your Caesar salad.
  • Breadcrumbs – I love the light crispy bread used in this recipe but you can use traditional croutons if you prefer. If you love the idea of the breadcrumbs but don’t care for focaccia bread, try it with French bread or sourdough.
  • Added Protein – Grilled chicken, shrimp, steak, or salmon would be welcome additions to this delicious salad, making it even more hearty and satisfying.

Storing Leftovers

Store each component of this Caesar salad recipe separately. Place leftover salad dressing in an airtight container or jar in the fridge for up to 3 days. Put the homemade breadcrumbs in a ziploc bag and store them in a cool dry place for up to 3 months. Refrigerate the lettuce in an airtight container and consume it within 3 days.

ceasar salad with dressing, parmesan, and focaccia breadcrumbs

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a classic Caesar salad contain?

Caesar salad contains romaine lettuce, croutons, and a dressing that includes eggs, anchovies, lemon juice, garlic, and parmesan cheese.

Is Caesar salad actually healthy?

This Caesar salad recipe can be part of a well-balanced diet. Certain dressings can be high in saturated fat and sodium. Adjust the amount of salt and cheese used in this recipe if that is a concern. Adding a lean protein like chicken also makes it more nutritious.

Is Caesar salad Greek or Italian?

The Caesar salad was created by an Italian chef named Caesar Cardini.

Looking for More Salad Recipes

Loving this Caesar Salad Recipe?

There’s a reason this easy Caesar salad recipe is loved by all! Leave a comment below and share your love for this recipe on Instagram and Pinterest. We love to see you get down in the kitchen. Thank you for supporting Whisper of Yum and happy eating!

ceasar salad with dressing, parmesan, and focaccia breadcrumbs

Easy Caesar Salad Recipe

This easy Caesar salad recipe is crisp lettuce tossed in a zesty homemade salad dressing topped with buttery bits of focaccia breadcrumbs. This fresh take on the original Caesar salad recipe is the perfect side or base for a delicious and nutritious lunch or dinner.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Author Jeri Mobley-Arias
Course Salad
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Mortar and pestle
  • Microplane zester
  • Whisk
  • 1-cup liquid measuring cup
  • Mixing bowl

Ingredients

Caesar Dressing

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, smashed
  • 2 pieces anchovies
  • teaspoons dijon mustard
  • ½ lemon zested
  • ½ lemon juiced, reserve second half of lemon
  • cup quality olive oil
  • cup avocado oil
  • 1 cup parmigiano reggiano, freshly grated with microplane, do not use pre-shredded
  • ¼ teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
  • Kosher salt, to taste

Focaccia Breadcrumbs

  • cup focaccia breadcrumbs, finely crumbled, can use panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, microplaned
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

For Caesar Salad

  • 3 heads little gem lettuce, cleaned and trimmed
  • Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, to taste
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Recipe Video

Instructions

Caesar Dressing

  • In a mortar and pestle, add anchovies, smashed garlic, and a pinch of kosher salt. Pound the mixture to break up the garlic a bit, then grind until a paste forms. Scrape the sides to form the mixture then add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice (from the reserved lemon) this will help cut the sharpness of the garlic. Set aside for five minutes. See notes if you do not have a mortar and pestle.
  • Transfer anchovy paste to a medium-size bowl. Add the egg yolk, lemon zest, juice of ½ a lemon, dijon mustard, and a generous pinch of salt. Whisk together.
  • Combine avocado and olive oil in a measuring cup. While whisking, slowly add oil until it is fully emulsified.Do not stop whisking as you add the oil. Once fully emulsified, add freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, black pepper, and worcestershire sauce. Whisk to combine and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.

Focaccia Breadcrumbs

  • In a skillet over medium heat, add butter. Once melted, add grated garlic and cook until fragrant, about minute (do not brown garlic.) Add breadcrumbs and cook for 2-3 minutes or until toasted and crispy. Stir in salt then set aside.

Assemble Salad

  • Add little gem leaves to a mixing bowl then add desired amount of dressing, enough to coat the leaves. Add parmigiano, black pepper, and a pinch of salt. Toss, transfer to a plate, then top with more parmigiano, breadcrumbs and black pepper. Enjoy!
  • See note for extra dressing.

NOTES

If you do not have a mortar and pestle, place anchovies, garlic, and a pinch of salt on a cutting board and finely chop as possible, essentially, until a paste forms. Transfer the paste to a medium size bowl, then add lemon juice. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Extra Dressing
This recipe yields ~1 cup of caesar dressing. Place leftovers in a refrigerator-safe container for up to 6 days.
Keywords best caesar salad recipe, caesar salad, Caesar salad dressing, caesar salad dressing recipe, caesar salad ingredients, caesar salad recipe, caesar salad recipe anchovies, caesar salad recipe with egg, easy caesar salad recipe, original caesar salad recipe, Recipes for Caesar salad
Did you make this recipe?Leave a comment below and tag @whisperofyum on Instagram and hashtag it #whisperofyum!

ceasar salad with dressing, parmesan, and focaccia breadcrumbs

PIN THIS
RECIPE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




jeri-mobley

Hey, I'm Jeri!

At Whisper of Yum, we explore ALL cuisines - comfort foods, classics, elevated originals. If you love food like me, I invite you to settle in to this place, where swoon-worthy food is attainable + inspo for your next meal awaits.

Recent Yum