Historically, I have not been especially good at serving a vegetable with every dinner. In an effort to be better at this, salad has become my back-up veggie when I don’t have something else specifically planned. Generally I get some mesclun greens and toss with whatever other veggies we have around (carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc) and some dried fruit and nuts. But every once in a while I like to have something a little more special. I am a big fan of caesar salad in restaurants, but it barely qualifies as healthy – some lettuce drowning in creamy dressing, cheese, and greasy croutons!
Well, at home it’s possible to make a caesar salad that is yummy AND healthy! Ellie Krieger has a recipe for dressing that is delicious – so flavorful and yet fairly light. I’ve also found that you can make homemade croutons out of whole grain bread that add that nice crunch to a salad without all the grease. You could also add some grilled chicken or shrimp to make this a complete meal, but even as a simple side this was a big hit in my house – let me know what you think!
1/4 cup pasteurized egg whites (this takes care of the salmonella risk in raw egg)
1 clove of garlic, minced (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste (comes in a tube – very handy!)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
Whisk together the egg whites, garlic (if using; I didn’t!), anchovy paste, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream, whisking the whole time. Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.
2 slices of your favorite whole wheat/whole grain bread
Olive oil spray
Salt & pepper (or whatever seasoning you like – an italian blend would be great, too!)
Preheat the oven (or toaster oven) to 400. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with olive oil. Cut bread into cubes and place on baking sheet in a single layer. Spray cubes with olive oil and season with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper (or other seasoning). Cook until golden and crisp, approximately 10-12 minutes. Cool completely before serving. According to Martha, these can be stored for up to 4 days at room temperature in an airtight container.
Salad – putting it all together
Romaine lettuce, cut or torn into bite size pieces (Ellie’s recipe also includes some baby spinach – I’m a purest with my Caesar, but feel free to throw some in for a nutritional boost if you’d like!)
Grilled chicken or shrimp (optional)
Toss enough lettuce for 4 people with dressing. Top with croutons and toss again to combine. Top with a sprinkle of cheese and grilled chicken or shrimp if you’re serving this as a main course.