The best thing about Caesar's salad is that you get a complete, satisfying meal in one bowl. The combination of fresh vegetables, proteins, carbs, and fats make this salad a nutritious dish.
What's magical about this savory meal is its versatility. You can have a different Caesar salad each time with a simple ingredient swap.
Hence, you can have Chicken Caesar salad, Salmon Caesar salad, or Shrimp Caesar salad. You can swap the lettuce for different greens, and with some little changes, you can have a vegetarian or vegan alternative to the most popular salad in the world.
The dressing is what makes the salad wholesome and combines the ingredients correctly. So, the Caesar salad dressing is kind of a big deal. As with the salad, the dressing has many variations, but the classic Caesar salad dressing contains two main ingredients:
Additionally, local chefs whisk together fresh garlic, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, olive oil, vegetable oil, and finely grated Parmesan. All together with the anchovies and the eggs (or the mayonnaise) is what makes the Caesar salad dressing. Furthermore, some restaurants offer Caesar salad dressing without anchovies for those who don't like the taste. The sauce's vegan alternative has tahini and hummus instead of the anchovy-yolk mix, soaked and blended cashews for the cheesy creaminess, and capers for brininess.
Though there are many alternatives to this famous dish, the original recipe for the Caesar salad is consisted of:
The base of the salad is fresh Romaine Lettuce. The croutons, which basically are baked, and seasoned bread pieces, are added over the lettuce. All together is tossed with the dressing until the lettuce is evenly coated. The Parmesan is put on top, shaved, or shredded.
As with many legendary dishes, the origin of the Caesar salad is a bit murky. But the most probable origin story dates from 1924 in Tijuana, Mexico.
So, who invented the Caesar salad? And does this dish owe its name to the Roman general Julius Caesar? Surprisingly not. Some other Caesar is in question, and that’s the inventor of the salad, an Italian American named Cesare (Caesar) Cardini.
His family immigrated to the US from Italy after WWI. A few years later, they opened their first restaurant in Sacramento, then later moved the business to San Diego, and finally, in 1927, to escape the Prohibition, they settled in Tijuana. That’s when Caesar’s Restaurant was open.
As Cesare’s daughter, Rosa remembers, her father invented the salad on July 4th in 1924. The restaurant was packed, and there weren’t many ingredients left. So, Cesare decided to toss everything he had into a bowl: Romaine lettuce, garlic, croutons, Parmesan, olive oil, raw eggs, and Worcestershire sauce – and the Caesar salad was born.
Of course, there are some other stories regarding the inventor of this salad. Cesare’s brother Alex claimed he invented the salad and named it Aviator salad, but it was later renamed after his brother. Other claim Alex added the anchovies in the salad his brother Cesare had already invented.
Other stories give credit for the salad to an employee at the Caesar Restaurant named Livio Santini, who had the recipe from his mother.
Whichever story is true, a masterpiece was born. The salad became so popular that many people, including movie stars such as Clark Gable and Jean Harlow, traveled to the Restaurant in Tijuana just for this dish.
Back in the days, Cesare prepared the salad in front of the guests, making it a spectacle, just as acclaimed American chef Julia Child described as an early childhood memory in her cookbook “From Julia Child’s Kitchen.” The salad’s popularity was immense, so in a very short time, it spread among chefs in North America and all the way to Europe.
In the 1940s, Gourmet Magazine called the salad “the gastronomic highlight of the current moment”. By 1953 the International Society of Epicures in Paris called it “the greatest recipe to originate in the Americas in 50 years”.
Though the Cardinis are no longer the owners of Caesar Restaurant, the family that operates the spot today, the Plascencias preserve the place, and the favorite item on their menu is “one of the few pieces of cultural history that we have.”
But you don’t have to travel all the way to Tijuana for a delicious Caesar salad. You can get it delivered to your door, or you can get it with a curbside pickup from the local restaurants near you.
If you are in Philadelphia, you can try Randazzo’s Pizza signature Caesar salad with garlic knots. Those in Eagleville, PA, can choose from 4 variations of this salad in Kosmos Pizza: classic Caesar salad, Grilled Chicken Caesar salad, Crispy Chicken Finger Caesar salad, and Caesar salad with Sauteed Jumbo Shrimp. Both spots are in the Slice app.
One cup of Caesar salad with Romaine lettuce contains around 180 calories. It has 15 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbs, and 5.5 grams of protein.
Those who want to reduce the calorie intake, can leave out the parmesan on top, and opt for a low-calorie dressing alternative.
One cup of Chicken Caesar salad can have around 200 calories when prepared with grilled chicken, and around 300 calories if Crispy chicken is used. The Grilled Chicken Caesar salad has 6.5 grams of fat, 11.5 grams of carbs, and 29 grams of protein, while the Crispy Chicken Caesar salad has 15 grams of fat, 22.5 grams of carbs, and 25 grams of protein.
However, the standard salad serving is mostly 3 cups.
The best thing about the Caesar salad is that everyone can find its favorite variation by their own preferences. Some of them are: