Do you love Caesar salad, but feel guilty because white bread croutons, fatty bacon, and tons of creamy dressing are well known health snatchers? Try my version, that is fairly simple, with very little Caesar dressing and as few or as many protein additions as you want. You can add creaminess or crunchiness with natural sources as you see fit.
Put a few handfuls of your favourite salad mix in a larger bowl…eyeball based on the number of people you are serving. My favourite mixes incorporate spinach, kale and Swiss chard combinations, in the baby or all grown up varieties.
Sprinkle about a tablespoon of olive oil on the mix, then squeeze half a lemon on it. Toss using a spatula to mix everything.
Using a microplane to finely grate fresh Parmesan Reggiano, cover the mix in cheese and then toss again with a spatula until all parts are evenly dispersed.
Serve as is on the table with salad tongs for a simple, light and tasty accompaniment to any meal.
For Meal Sized Salads:
Separate the base mix in as many bowls as there are people, and drizzle lightly with an organic Caesar salad vinaigrette dressing from your local health food store (no more than a teaspoon).
Add other veggies. Good choices include red onion, tomato, cucumber, sautéed and warm mushrooms & onions, and boiled & cooled sweet potato
Top with the following fatty proteins, and feel free to add multiple items unless otherwise directed.
Nuts & Seeds: Add raw, unsalted sesame or pumpkin seeds, or pine nuts, for crunch instead of croutons. For whatever reason these tear drop shaped proteins seem to spread themselves out most evenly.
Avocado: Cut in chunks and scatter on top for a smooth and creamy protein addition full of healthy fat.
Cheese: Add old white cheddar or a softer Italian than Parm, sprinkling very lightly on top (no more than 1oz is needed, about a chunk from your knuckle to the tip of your thumb). Crumbled Blue cheese is also awesome on a Caesar salad, but is rich, and should be enjoyed as the only protein addition, or with a mild, creamy seafood, like lobster.
Egg: Add a hard-boiled egg, crumbled or sliced, for a rich protein source. To add to the smooth texture of salad dressing, add a soft boiled egg (put an egg in boiling water for 5-6min, then remove and place in cool water for 10min. Peel carefully)…the thick yolk will ooze over the salad once broken open and make it seem like it’s heavily dressed.
Smoked Salmon: This was a very popular Caesar Salad dressing topper when I was in Europe, and was delicious with red onions and capers on top as well. Do not combine this flavour with any other flavours, as smokiness is strong enough…you may add an egg to this because it’s flavour is very mild.
Chicken/Shrimp/Fish: Toss small pieces of cooked chicken breast, shrimp, mild whit efish, or salmon in your favourite hot sauce (I prefer Red Hot here) and sprinkle over top of the salad. This option is great with extra parmesan or old cheddar on top. (A GREAT chicken wing substitute…for real…)
Canned Tuna: Add canned tuna, flaked in water tossed with a little Dijon mustard and a little mayo (very little). Or add the flavoured stuff, especially anything spicy. Remember: canned ingredients contain a lot of salt, so go easy on other salt culprits like hard cheese and vinegar).