Caesar Salad

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!

 

 

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Caesar Salad
adapted from Food Network and Martha Stewart

Dressing
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
Salt
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.

Croutons
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!)
Parmesan cheese
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.

Serves 4

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