This side dish is made with quality ingredients and homemade salad dressing. It’s the perfect size to serve a large crowd, family style, or as the main course for dinner.
Normally, when you order a caesar salad in a restaurant, you tend to get a bowl of iceberg lettuce covered in dressing that is probably made entirely from hydrogenated vegetable oils. You might get a few shavings of cheese thrown in, but that’s about it. You know you won’t find anything like that here.
For my take on this salad, I used romaine hearts as the base: a more flavorful type of lettuce that also has a better nutritional profile than the white crunchy stuff you get in most restaurants.
The Underappreciated Vegetable
I made celery and celeriac (also called celery root) the shining star in this dish because I think it’s an underappreciated vegetable. It adds great flavor, as well as texture, and it’s extremely versatile.
Celery is also consistently found on the Dirty Dozen – that is the top 12 fruits and vegetables tested annually by the Environmental Working Group that have the most pesticide residue on conventional raised crops. If you can, always choose organic when it comes to celery. See the full list here.
The Dressing Matters
Almost any time you’re served salad dressing in a restaurant or pick up a bottle from the store, it tends to be made of canola oil or some type of hydrogenated vegetable oil. These are ingredients that have gone rancid and have to be deodorized using chemicals to cover up the smell.
For this reason, I prefer making my own dressing. Plus, it tastes a lot better, too!
Below you’ll find a quick Paleo Caesar salad dressing you can whip up ahead of time or prior to serving.
When Jeff & I choose to eat cheese, I always purchase it as a whole chunk. I can then slice, chop or shred it myself – rather than purchasing it pre-shredded. Pre-shredded cheese tends to add additional ingredients beyond cheese such as anti-clumping agents that keep it from, well, clumping and prolong the shelf life.
In this case I picked up a fresh chunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese that was imported from Italy and cut into chunks at Standard Market (a local grocery store in our area that caters to chefs with the ingredients they stock).