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This classic Caesar salad recipe is made completely from scratch, including the dressing and homemade croutons. Make this authentic Caesar salad recipe for dinner tonight; it takes just under 30 minutes!
Did you know Caesar is a Mexican salad??
Yes, it’s true!
The classic caesar salad we know and love was invented in Tijuana, Mexico. It’s a fascinating fact, especially because it has such a Greek sounding name.
Legend has it that Italian-American restaurateur Caesar Cardini invented the salad in 1924.
Caesar Salad Instructions + Video
To see the process of making this recipe from start to finish, scroll down to the recipe card to watch the video!
Make the homemade croutons.
- First, tear day-old French bread into small pieces. You can also use a knife if you’d prefer a more uniform look.
- Make a single layer of bread pieces on a sheet pan and drizzle evenly with olive oil.
- Bake until browned and crispy, tossing about halfway through to cook both sides.
Make the dressing.
- Add the anchovy paste, mustard, minced garlic, and salt to a small bowl, then mash them together using the back of a spoon.
- Then, add the egg yolks and lemon juice. Whisk until everything is well combined.
- Very slowly drizzle in part of the olive oil and use a hand blender (immersion blender) to mix the ingredients until an emulsion is created. (An emulsion is when everything is combined well enough that the oil and eggs won’t separate).
- Add the remaining olive oil and continue blending until smooth. Then, whisk in the pepper and Parmesan cheese by hand.
If you don’t own an immersion blender, you can use a high speed counter top blender or a food processor.
Clean and chop the greens.
- Next, clean the Romaine lettuce to remove any dirt and grime. Cut off the root ends and remove any damaged outer leaves.
- Slice the lettuce heads in half lengthwise, then in half again widthwise. Continue chopping or use your hands to tear into smaller pieces.
Assemble the salad.
- Transfer the chopped Romaine to a large salad bowl. Pour the homemade dressing over the top and toss to coat.
- Finally, shave fresh Parmesan into the salad. Serve with homemade croutons and cracked black pepper on top.
Classic Caesar Salad Recipe Notes
- Chill the salad bowl – Doing this keeps the Mexican Caesar salad cold when tossing. As a result, it prevents the lettuce from wilting.
- Grate your own cheese – Packages of shredded cheese have an unpleasant waxy texture, and the flavor is not as bold as when it is freshly grated.
- Make the salad dressing by hand – If you don’t have an electric blender or food processor, you can blend the dressing using a whisk. However, you’ll need to mix everything vigorously to create the emulsion, and it will take a bit longer to do.
- Cleaning the lettuce – If you prefer to chop the lettuce before cleaning it, you can. Use a salad spinner to clean and dry the lettuce after it’s been chopped.
- Substitute for anchovy paste– If you’re unable to find any anchovy paste in your local grocery store, simply drain a can of anchovy fillets and mash a few with a fork to use instead.
What to serve with this Caesar Salad recipe
Go to any fine dining steakhouse and you’ll most likely see one of these on the menu. An authentic salad like this is fantastic with a bacon wrapped filet mignon and a side of steakhouse creamed spinach.
If you aren’t a fan of beef, another great idea is to add shredded rotisserie to the salad. I also like to use grilled Monterey chicken or shrimp to make it a complete dinner. My recipe for grilled mango sriracha shrimp would taste fabulous with it!
This post, originally published on July 1, 2020, was updated with new content on July 23, 2021.
Classic Caesar Salad Recipe
- 3 head romaine lettuce chopped into 2″ pieces
- 2 cups French sourdough torn into 1" pieces
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Fresh shaved Parmesan for serving
- black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Refrigerate a large bowl.
- Tear day old french bread or sourdough bread into 1 inch pieces. Spread torn bread on a lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 12 minutes, until golden brown. Tossing or move around to get both sides.
- Form a kitchen towel into a circle on the countertop. Place a small bowl on top, fitting snuggly. Add the anchovy paste or filets, dijon mustard, garlic and kosher salt. Mash with the back of a spoon until mixed together. Whisk in the egg yolks and lemon juice.
- Slowly drizzle in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil (See Note 3) to emulsify and thicken or use a hand blender (EASIER!), then remaining 1/2 cup vegetable oil.
- Whisk in the grated Parmesan cheese and season with black pepper.
- Slice heads of Romaine lettuce lengthwise and trim dead outer leaves and cut off root ends. Break each half in half and tear into bite sized pieces.
- Add the romaine lettuce to chilled salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing over and toss with hands or tongs to evenly coat the leaves. Add shaved parmesan cheese.
- Divide salad and croutons over plates. Serve with fresh ground black pepper and more shaved Parmesan cheese if desired.
- 6 anchovy fillets, drained and mashed, equals 3 teaspoons of anchovy paste
- If using raw egg yolks bothers you, substitute 3/4 cup mayonnaise for the 2 egg yolks and the oil.
- I use a small amount of olive oil (2 tablespoons) to emulsify the dressing and then add the remaining.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.