Homemade Caesar Salad Recipe

close up caesar salad dressing and salad

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This Homemade Caesar Salad is a family favorite and a birthday, Christmas, anytime special tradition. This savory, delicious recipe is made the classic way with a wooden bowl, golden Caesar dressing, homemade croutons, and fresh shaved Parmesan Cheese.

Made from scratch, Caesar Dressing is really easy to whip up ahead of serving time. It’s actually better when the flavors have time to meld. This recipe makes enough to have as a family-style tableside salad or save for small salads to savor throughout the week.

the best homemade Caesar Salad close up in a white bowl with homemade croutons, shaved parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper

Homemade Caesar Salad goes with just about anything…I’m I right??? One of our Christmas Eve traditions is serving this salad with Delicious Seafood Chowder I’ve been making for years…literally…years…like before kids! The same goes for this Drip Beef Sandwich recipe my momma taught me how to make, it’s everyone’s favorite sandwich. During the summer, make it a day ahead and serve it alongside grilled steak, marinated chicken, and salmon. Use as a dipping sauce for grilled Chicken Tenders , as an appetizer dip for Everything Pinwheels, or these Super Easy Sausage Balls!

CAESAR SALAD INGREDIENTS

Caesar salad ingredients on a white wood table with labels for ingredients

what you’ll need:

Homemade Caesar Dressing

  • Wooden Bowl
  • simple metal cooking spoon
  • garlic cloves
  • coarse sea salt 
  • extra virgin light olive oil or salad oil
  • whole lemon more
  • egg
  • Anchovy Paste or real Anchovies
  • HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE CAESAR SALAD

    • STEP ONE: Smash the garlic pods with the smooth side of a meat mallet (I use this mallet every day!) or the flat part of a larger knife using the back of your hand. Cut up mashed garlic and place in a wooden bowl with the coarse sea salt. Use the back of a large kitchen spoon and rub garlic and salt all around your bowl. This first step is key to this beautiful salad.
    step one with smashed garlic, coarse sea salt in a wooden bowl
    smashed garlic and coarse sea salt rubbed all around inside of wooden bowl
    • STEP TWO: Scrap out half of the mash mixture and save for the end. Note: This step controls the salt.
    step 2 -  rubbed smashed garlic-salt mixture with half taken out in a wooden bowl
    • STEP THREE: Pour Olive Oil and swirl around with a spoon mixing the garlic, oil, and salt together. NOTE: if using real anchovy fillets, add at this step but mash with your spoon in the oil-garlic mixture.
    step 3 - olive oil added to wooden bowl and swirled around all inside
    • STEP FOUR: Add egg and gently mix egg and oil mixture together until just incorporated. Squeeze 1 whole lemon into the egg-oil mixture. Mix or whisk vigorously until the mixture becomes thicker and “milkier”. Note: the milky color is the lemon juice “cooking” the egg.
    step 4 - egg and lemon juice added in and mixed vigorously with kitchen spoon until all incorporated in wooden bowl
    • STEP FIVE: Add the anchovy paste, Worcestershire Sauce, and Dijon mustard. Whisk together until smooth. Note: if using real anchovies skip adding the anchovy paste in this step.
    step 5 - anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard add in and  mixed with kitchen spoon in wooden bowl
    • STEP SIX: Add and mix Parmesan Cheese, Romano, Asiago, or a combination of all three. Taste for salt-garlic level…adjust with the leftover mixture from the first step. Refrigerate for at least an hour. NOTE: If refrigerating overnight, transfer to a glass bowl or jar…you’ll ruin the wood bowl if the liquid stays in too long.
    step 6 -grated parmesan cheese added in dressing mix in wooden bowl

    PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

    Individual Servings

    Drizzle the dressing on top of crispy, fresh, torn pieces of Romaine lettuce in individual bowls. Sprinkle shaved Parmesan cheese and croutons, gently toss to coat.

    Tableside Style

    Using one large crispy fresh Romaine lettuce head…wash ahead of time and let dry, return to the refrigerator and let it chill. When ready to serve, tear lettuce leaves into bite-sized pieces and place in the wooden bowl with Caesar dressing on the bottom.

    Toss torn-up lettuce leaves in dressing using salad or small tongs making sure all the dressing is mixed with the lettuce. Sprinkle with shaved parmesan cheese and toss again. Lastly, toss with croutons and freshly ground black pepper. It’s ready, dig in!

    Quick Tip:

    😎Romaine Lettuce Tip: Cut end and stand up in colander, let drain. Layout 4 or 5 connected paper towel sections and lay about 10 romaine lettuce leaves flat on towels. Cover with an additional 4 or 5 connected sections and lay another 8-10 lettuce leaves on top. Continue this process until all leaves are covered with paper towels. Roll up semi-tight and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. ⭐NOTE: clean up counters with the moist used paper towels…2 uses before they land in the trash.

    close up of dressing being spooned on bite size romaine lettuce leaves

    ADD-ONS AND SUBSTITUTES

    Make this Caesar Salad a base for a super supper salad night. Extra Veggies: Add sliced red onions, capers, canned french fried onions, chickpeas, black olives, green olives, and peperoncini’s. Protein Adds: Baked or grilled salmon fillet, rotisserie chicken, sliced beef tenderloin, seasoned cooked shrimp, pepperoni slices, salami, hard-boiled eggs.

    There are not a lot of substitutes for homemade Caesar Dressing except for store-bought. Adding extra lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, anchovy paste, or garlic to the store-bought stuff would make it taste more homemade. If using anchovy fillets out of a can, drain 3 or 4 (or more depending on your taste buds) on a paper towel before mashing into the oil.

    Caesar Salad with homemade croutons and shaved parmesan cheese in a white bowl on a mustard yellow towel

    MORE HOMEMADE SALAD DRESSINGS👇

    Homemade Caesar Salad Recipe

    Course dinner, holiday, Salad, Side Dish
    Cuisine American
    Keyword anchovies, garlic, holiday, homemade, parmesan cheese, salad
    Servings 6
    Calories

    Ingredients

    Caesar Dressing

    • 3 cloves garlic, mashed and cut more or less to garlic preference
    • 1 tsp coarse sea salt you can use fine ground but coarse works best
    • 1/2 cup olive oil can use salad oil
    • 1 whole lemon more or less to taste
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard more or less to taste
    • 1.5 tbsp Anchovie Paste make it mound, heaping
    • 6 shakes Worchestershire Sauce more or less to taste
    • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese grated or shredded, extra for topping
    • fresh ground pepper to taste

    Caesar Salad

    • 1 head Romaine Lettuce
    • Parmesan Cheese shaved, shredded, or grated
    • Croutons homemade or store bought

    Instructions

    • STEP ONE: Smash the garlic pods with the smooth side of a meat mallet (I use this mallet every day!) or the flat part of a larger knife using the back of your hand. Cut up mashed garlic and place in a wooden bowl with the coarse sea salt. Use the back of a large kitchen spoon and rub garlic and salt all around your bowl. This first step is key to this beautiful salad.
    • STEP TWO: Scrap out half of the mash mixture and save for the end. Note: This step controls the salt.
    • STEP THREE: Pour Olive Oil and swirl around with a spoon mixing the garlic, oil, and salt together. NOTE: if using real anchovy fillets, add at this step but mash with your spoon in the oil-garlic mixture.
    • STEP FOUR: Add egg and gently mix egg and oil mixture together until just incorporated. Squeeze 1 whole lemon into the egg-oil mixture. Mix or whisk vigorously until the mixture becomes thicker and "milkier". Note: the milky color is the lemon juice "cooking" the egg.
    • STEP FIVE: Add the anchovy paste, Worcestershire Sauce, and Dijon mustard. Whisk together until smooth. Note: if using real anchovies skip adding the anchovy paste in this step.
    • STEP SIX: Add and mix Parmesan Cheese, Romano, Asiago, or a combination of all three. Taste for salt-garlic level…adjust with the leftover mixture from the first step. Refrigerate for at least an hour. NOTE: If refrigerating overnight, transfer to a glass bowl or jar…you'll ruin the wood bowl if the liquid stays in too long.

    Notes

    If using anchovy fillets out of a can, drain 3 or 4 (or more depending on your taste buds) on a paper towel before mashing into the oil.
    😎Romaine Lettuce Tip: Cut end and stand up in colander, let drain. Layout 4 or 5 connected paper towel sections and lay about 10 romaine lettuce leaves flat on towels. Cover with an additional 4 or 5 connected sections and lay another 8-10 lettuce leaves on top. Continue this process until all leaves are covered with paper towels. Roll up semi-tight and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. ⭐NOTE: clean up counters with the moist used paper towels…2 uses before they land in the trash.

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