Classic Caesar Salad With Gluten-Free Croutons

We all have that weeknight. That one day, every week, where one or both of you work late. The night where the kids have dance or soccer or gymnastics. The night that is pure insanity and requires a quick and convenient dinner.

I know, because I have that weeknight too. For us it's Wednesday nights. Today, I want to show you that quick and convenient is not synonymous with take out and/or junk foods. In fact, quick and convenient can often include greens, protein and take less than 25 minutes to prepare. We've timed it, in case you were doubting me 😉.

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What we've found to be super helpful is to whip up a bowl or giant salad for dinner on that night. If you're new to bowls, I highly recommend them. You can download my Build Your Own Bowl Guide here. It's in the free resource library.  Bowls are fantastic because because they can be as easy as you want to make them. All you need: greens (like arugula), protein (like grass-fed steak slices), healthy fat source (like mashed avocado) and I like adding a starchy veggie such as roasted sweet potato. Add a quick drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic and DONE! 

If it's not a bowl, then for us, it's almost always this Classic Caesar. Everything is fresh, homemade and as organic as we can manage. It's made with nothing but real, whole foods and is AMAZING. It's one of those meals that even though we have it so often, we always look forward to it because it's that good. 

I highly recommend a few dishes like these. You need them in your recipe arsenal for busy weekday nights or even nights that you don't necessarily feel like cooking. 
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This Classic Caesar is everything you would want it to be. It's a super savoury dish in the best way possible. But it's also incredibly fresh and light - partly from the romaine but also the tang from the lemon that's in the dressing. It's got tons of texture! Crunch from the fresh romaine lettuce and crispy bacon. What really takes this dish next level is the addition of anchovy paste in the dressing. Now, it's completely optional because I know it's controversial. Some people love it, some people hate it. It lends this umami note to the salad and there's zero fishiness (because I know some of you are wondering). Then those croutons! Seriously - they are insanely simple but add so much depth to the salad. And lastly, we love adding raw parmesan cheese to ours because, well, why not?! 

For those of you who are vegan, dairy-free or wanting to go plant-based, you could easily swap the bacon with roasted chickpeas for that crispy protein element and in place of parmesan you could use nutritional yeast (one of my fave ingredients). 

 

Classic Caesar Salad With Gluten-free Croutons

Ingredients

Serves 3-4

2 heads of romaine lettuce, rustically torn
2 egg yolks
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp anchovy paste
3/4 tsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup grape seed oil
1/2 cup raw parmesan, grated
pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
5-7 pieces of organic bacon

Gluten-free croutons

3 slices of gluten-free bread, cubed
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic powder
drizzle extra virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F for your croutons.
  2. While your oven preheats, place bacon in a cold cast iron pan, flat and spaced out. Set stove to medium-low. Once you hear things start to sizzle, turn temperature down to about 3. Carefully flip bacon over every few minutes until it's cooked the way you like it. {We like to cook ours this way because it really renders out all of the fat, doesn't overcook the bacon and you're left with a slightly crispy but still chewy piece of bacon. Perfection!} Once your bacon is cooked, remove it and set it on a plate lined with a paper towel. 
  3. To prepare croutons: Add cubed GF bread to a mixing bowl with dried oregano, garlic powder, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and generously season with sea salt and pepper. Bake on a sheet pan for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. In the meantime, rustically tear romaine lettuce and wash thoroughly. Run through a salad spinner to get all of the water off. Place in a salad bowl and set aside.
  5. In a separate and smaller bowl prepare your salad dressing. Whisk together egg yolk, minced garlic, anchovy paste and Dijon mustard. Add to that fresh squeezed lemon juice. 
  6. Rapidly whisk the above mixture while you slowly and in a fine drizzle add in the olive oil and grape seed oil. The oil will combine creating a creamy dressing. This is emulsification. 
  7. Fold in parmesan cheese and season with sea salt and pepper. 
    NOTE: This makes about 3/4 cup of salad dressing which is enough for 2 big heads of romaine lettuce. 
  8. Add dressing to romaine and toss to combine. Add croutons, bacon and if you'd like, add a little more parmesan on top. Serve and enjoy!

What's your go to meal on busy week nights? Share with me below 👇🏽

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