Homemade Caesar Salad from fridge to table in 20 minutes? Yes, please.

I’m not gonna lie. I'm not typically much of a salad person. 

I just can’t get excited about a pile of leafy greens. (It’s a sad fact that our chickens and ducks eat way more veggies than we do. I know, my bad, but I feel like they enjoy them way more than I ever could!)

But give me a bowl of crisp Romaine lettuce drizzled with tangy homemade dressing, piled with garlicy baked croutons, and I'll eat the entire thing happily. 

If you've never made your own Caesar dressing, don't be intimidated, even figuring in the baking time for the homemade croutons, this salad can go fridge to table in less than 20 minutes, making it perfect for a busy weeknight. 

Homemade croutons are a great way to get rid of any random, slightly stale bread you have hanging around. 

I keep extra bags bread in the freezer and then rummage through the bin when I want to make croutons. I’ve made them with hot dog buns, rolls, regular white bread, homemade whole wheat bread, English muffins, etc. 

You can literally use any bread product you have on hand.

And if you're thinking "why should I make my own Caesar dressing when I can so easily just buy a bottle or the bagged salad kit", you’ve got to try this recipe. 

Just once. 

It’s deliciously simple to make. You can have a batch whipped up in less time than it will take you to find your car keys, I promise.

Homemade anything is always fresher, more healthy for your family, doesn’t contain any icky ingredients you can’t pronounce, and most importantly TASTES BETTER. 

Much better.  

And this homemade dressing is no different. 

You probably have all the ingredients already on hand (except the anchovy paste, which is entirely optional, but if you can please give it a try before you decide to omit it, because just a touch really does give the dressing a subtle salty punch). 

So try making your own. At least once.

Optional: Top the salad with some seared tuna, cooked chicken chunks or even grilled steak strips for a bit of protein or to turn the salad into a meal. 

Scroll down for the printable recipe card.

Caesar Salad with Homemade Garlic Croutons

Serves two, very generously. But like I said, I could eat the whole bowl myself, so who am I to judge serving sizes?

Homemade Garlic Croutons

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups bread cubes

To Make the Croutons

Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

In a medium-sized bowl whisk the garlic, melted butter, olive oil, Parmesan, salt, and pepper until well combined, then add the bread cubes. Toss to coat all sides of the bread. 

Spread the cubes in a single layer on a rimed baking sheet.  Bake until crisp and golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes, stirring the cubes halfway through. 

Homemade Caesar Dressing

3 egg yolks
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
1 teaspoon stone-ground mustard
Zest and juice from one lemon
1/2 cup neutral oil, such as safflower or vegetable
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons water

To Make the Dressing

While the croutons are baking, make the dressing. 

In a blender or food processor, puree the egg yolks, garlic, Parmesan cheese, anchovy paste, mustard, and lemon zest and juice. 

Scrape down the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula. Remove the lid insert and, with the blender still running, slowly drizzle the oil into the mixture until it thickens and the oil is completely incorporated.

Don't rush this step - the oil needs time to emulsify with the eggs. While the blender is still running, add the water slowly until the dressing is a pourable consistency. 

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the Salad

1 head romaine lettuce

To Assemble the Salad

Chop the lettuce into chunks and place in a large bowl. Toss with the croutons and Caesar dressing, then divide between two salad bowls. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese.

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