Oil & Vinegar Style vs Creamy Caesar Dressing
Caesar salad is pretty much a staple in our menu. Everyone loves it and it is so simple to pick-up a Costco rotisserie chicken and make it a meal! (Those chickens are so awesome when you are battling the summer heat and trying to avoid cooking!!)
Of course, when you think of caesar salad, there are two basic versions: one that has an oil/vinegar type of dressing and the other more of a creamy style….think THE KEG (so yummy!) We enjoy both, but I thought that in addition to sharing my two “go to” caesar salad dressing recipes, I might add in the caloric value for both.
Caesar Salad ~ The Body of the Salad
When making caesar salad, I tend to stick to pretty standard ingredients, but I will add a few of the options we enjoy adding. My son is not a lover of mushrooms and neither of our kids like croutons, so you basically need to include what works for your family. Our work around is serving the croutons and mushrooms in side dishes that can be added at the table, so that everyone can enjoy the salad. I have not included the measurements because it really depends on how many you are feeding. Again, I always make my salads “greens” heavy.
- Romaine lettuce, washed, spun and torn into small pieces
- very thinly sliced red onion
- very thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
- finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- croutons of your choice
Great Additions/Substitutions to Consider:
- sliced avocado
- sliced red pepper or roasted red pepper
- chopped artichoke hearts (from a jar or can)
- rotisserie chicken (or other meat of your choice)
Best Caesar Salad Dressing:
My friend Kirsten graciously shared this recipe with me a few years ago and not only is it easy to whip up, but also very tasty. This particular recipe has an oil and vinegar base, but the garlic and anchovy paste give that authentic caesar flavour.
This dressing recipe makes a generous amount for one large salad. I tend to lightly dress my salads, so will often have some left over for another small salad. (It makes approximately 3/4 to 1 cup of dressing). The calorie count for this dressing is 921 calories (+78 if you add the egg) and there would be approximately 216 grams of fat in a full recipe. Of course, this does not include the other items that are in the body of the salad. To determine the calories in an individual serving, you would need to factor the portion of dressing used, as well as the other ingredients in the body of the salad. Finally, divide the total calorie count by the number of servings your salad provides. I’m not exactly sure how many starter size salads it might make, but I’m thinking about 8. That would mean approximately 115 calories per serving and about 27 grams of fat, but again I’m really just guessing.
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- anchovy paste* to taste (This is really about personal preference, but I am going to guess you’ll want between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon. Start with about 1/4 of a teaspoon and then make a note on the recipe for next time you make it, if you think you’d like more. Nothing worse than an overpowering fishy taste!)
- 1 raw egg, whisked (I have never added this)
- 1-2 minced garlic cloves (or more!!)
- 2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons of grainy mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
Place all of the ingredients in a jar and shake to mix. Pour half of the dressing over the prepared salad and toss. Decide if it needs more and then either add more and toss again or place the extra dressing on the table for individuals to help them self, if they so desire.
Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing:
I’ve tried a few of Jenn Segal’s recipes and she is yet to disappoint. I love her Creamy Caesar Dressing recipe, but there are many other great ones at Once Upon a Chef. In fact, this dressing is so yummy that we will often use it as dip or add it to egg salad sandwiches.
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup of Mayonnaise (Hellmann’s Real)
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
Place first 5 ingredients in a jar and shake (or whisk). Add balance of ingredients and shake or whisk until well combined. Pour half of the dressing over the prepared salad and toss. Decide if it needs more and then either add more and toss again or place the extra dressing on the table for individuals to help them self, if they so desire.
Although this recipe calculates at a whopping 1840 calories (depending on brands used), it does make a generous 1 1/3 cups of dressing! Jennifer states that it makes enough for 10 starter salads. According to her calculations, one serving of dressing would be 184 calories and 19 grams of fat. We use half or less for a large family sized salad that is being served as our main course. The leftover dressing will keep for about a week in a sealed jar in the fridge. So, although the calories are crazy, when you really break it down it isn’t too nasty! Some might argue that olive oil in the first recipe is a much healthier fat. I’m not a calorie crazy person, but have been more in tune with my caloric intake over the past few months and decided to make the comparison out of curiosity. I always assumed the oil and vinegar dressing was healthier, but was surprised by the actual calorie and fat value comparison. Really, it’s all just food for thought…
I’m not really sure if there is a moral to this story or not. I guess for me it really comes down to personal preference when considering which dressing to use. I say if you love one style over the other, just go for it!
*Most stores carry anchovy paste, but it can sometimes be tricky to find. I’ve found it in both the dairy and meat sections!?# You might have to ask. (The one I buy comes in a small box with a tube inside ~ think toothpaste box/tube.)
I hope you enjoy both of these recipes as much as we do! Enjoy!