Sunday, March 29, 2020

Are Caesar Salads Healthy?

Caesar Salad
Caesar Salad

“Are Caesar salads healthy?” I was recently asked. Well, as my co-worker, dietitian friend always says, 'It depends.'

If we look at the ingredients of a typical Caesar salad recipe: Romaine lettuce, fresh Parmesan cheese, croutons, olive oil, mustard, garlic, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and sometimes eggs….then I’d say these ingredients are real foods and definitely healthy. 

If you don’t have any dietary health concerns, then yes, a traditional Caesar salad is healthy.

If you’re watching your weight, or have some dietary health concerns, then be aware that a traditional Caesar salad has more fat and calories than a typical green salad made with a simple homemade oil and vinegar salad dressing.

In fact, I do have high cholesterol and watch my saturated fat content. So I typically order a green salad and pass on the Caesar salad at a restaurant for those reasons.

As well, traditional Caesar salad contains raw eggs. For some that’s a concern because eggs can potentially contain the bacteria Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. 

If you have a compromised immune system this may apply to you. However, a raw egg with salmonella is rare, and many cooks don’t even use raw eggs in their Caesar salad. Remember, it’s okay to ask the chef exactly what is in their salad.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t use raw eggs in my Caesar. But of course, I do use only fresh ingredients and make my own dressing. I created this recipe for a community kitchen I ran years ago and it’s become a popular family favourite in our house. To lower the fat content, just add less Parmesan cheese.

Caesar Salad

Serves 6

1 loaf day-old French bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large head Romaine lettuce
½ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese


1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon anchovy paste
3 cloves minced garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350° F. 

In a bowl, toss the bread cubes with 1tablespoon oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toast for about 8 minutes, or until lightly golden. Let cool.

Dressing: In a bowl combine the Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, anchovy paste, garlic, Dijon and red wine vinegar. Whisk in oil in a slow and steady stream.

In a large salad bowl, combine lettuce, bread cubes and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss with the dressing and serve.

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