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Food & Recipes

Is Caesar Salad Healthy? Yes, Thanks to This Easy Recipe With a Genius Ingredient Swap

Dress up this toss-together salad with these five mouthwatering ingredients!

If we had to rank our favorite salad of all time, Caesar would be number one. This salad has everything we love: a tangy dressing, crisp Romaine, seasoned croutons and a generous amount of nutty Parmesan — all tossed together perfectly. While this salad is known for its richness, there’s a lighter version that’s equally delicious. All it takes is making the dressing with Greek yogurt instead of egg yolks and olive oil. Nutrition pros swear by this swap as it creates that signature creamy dressing with less fat. The yogurt also adds a nice tang, which wakes up the flavors of the other salad ingredients. Here’s more on why Greek yogurt is the perfect healthy addition to Caesar salad, and an easy recipe for preparing it at home!

The basics of Caesar salad 

The star of this salad is the dressing, which traditionally contains egg yolks, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovies, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese and Worcestershire sauce. This dressing then gets tossed with Romaine lettuce and croutons before it’s garnished with more Parmesan. The combination of ingredients creates a sharp and creamy salad that Italian chef Caesar Cardini is credited with inventing in the 1920s at his Tijuana, Mexico, restaurant. It’s since been a staple salad option at restaurants everywhere.

Is Caesar salad healthy?

While Caesar salad is a restaurant favorite, it’s something that you may have to enjoy in moderation. A serving of this salad from the restaurant chain Ninety Nine contains 450 calories and 33 grams of fat. The bulk of this comes from the combination of egg yolks and oil in the dressing. Fat is associated with helping with energy and vitamin absorption; however, too much of it can increase your risk of cancer and diabetes. Luckily, there’s a homemade version of this salad with a dressing that won’t spike your daily fat intake!

Nutritionist’s secret to make a less-fattening dressing

For a lightened-up version of Caesar dressing, Catherine Rall, registered dietitian at Happy V (a wellness company), uses fat-free Greek yogurt in place of eggs and oil. “This is a simple change to the dressing that will give you a dish with less fat, more protein and some probiotics to boot,” she notes. One cup of this yogurt contains about 187 calories and no fat, making it perfect to use for a nutritious salad dressing. You can then add ingredients like Parmesan, lemon juice and Worcestershire for that classic Caesar salad flavor! (Click through to learn about the benefits of Greek yogurt for constipation and how this yogurt may help with heartburn.)

How to make a healthy homemade Caesar salad

Below, Yelena Wheeler, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and health writer for Endomondo, shares her Caesar Salad With Yogurt Dressing recipe. This dressing doesn’t contain anchovies, which enhance the mixture’s savory flavor (often called “umami”). But, one or two canned anchovies can be added for an extra delicious salad that’s also nourishing.

Caesar Salad With Yogurt Dressing

Homemade Caesar salad as part of a guide on if it is healthy or not


Salad base and toppings:

  • 2 large heads romaine lettuce, washed, dried and chopped
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Plain or seasoned croutons


  • 1 cup of fat-free Greek yogurt 
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 3 tsp. Dijon mustard 
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce 
  • ⅛ tsp. sea salt 
  • ⅛ tsp. black pepper 


  • Yield: 6 servings
  1. In blender or food processor, blend together all dressing ingredients until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust flavor if needed. Set aside.
  2. In large clean bowl, toss lettuce and croutons with desired amount of dressing. Once lettuce is fully coated, serve in individual bowls or large bowl. Sprinkle with extra grated Parmesan and enjoy!
  3. Note: Any leftover dressing can be placed in an airtight container and stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

5 ways to dress up a Caesar salad

Turning your freshly made Caesar into a full meal is as simple as adding any of these five ingredients!

1. Cooked chicken breast

Slices of grilled or roasted chicken breast add a hearty touch to your bowl of greens.

2. Sliced cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes give Caesar salad enough sweetness to balance the pungent dressing.

3. Grilled shrimp

Sweet and tender grilled shrimp creates a salad that’s sure to fill you up.

4. Hard boiled eggs

A few chopped hard boiled eggs provide the salad with a buttery taste.

5. Crispy chickpeas

These chickpeas add extra crunch and a protein boost to the salad. (Click through for Alton Brown’s Roasted Chickpeas recipe.)

For more ways to jazz up salad greens, check out these dressing recipes!

This Creamy, 2-Ingredient Salad Dressing Is Too Delicious to Be So Easy!

Restaurant Chain Sweetgreen Releases Recipe for Their Famous Green Goddess Ranch Dressing

This Creamy 5-Minute Cilantro Dressing Will Make You Want To Eat Salad Every Day

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