Gluten-Free Caesar Salad

Bowl of Caesar salad with gluten-free croutons and cheese
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Total Time: 30 min
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 15 min
Servings: 2

Nutrition Highlights (per serving)

259 calories
20g fat
16g carbs
4g protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2
Amount per serving  
Calories 259
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 13mg 4%
Sodium 1139mg 50%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 6g 21%
Total Sugars 3g  
Includes 1g Added Sugars 2%
Protein 4g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 126mg 10%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 548mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

There are many varieties of Caesar salad, but traditionally, the key elements of a Caesar are romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with emulsification of olive oil, egg, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, anchovies, garlic, Dijon mustard, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper. In addition to the croutons containing gluten, some brands of Worcestershire sauce may also contain gluten if they are made with malt vinegar or soy sauce.

This version is made with homemade gluten-free croutons (you could also purchase gluten-free croutons) and a modified garlicky Caesar dressing made with all of the classic ingredients and flavors of a Caesar except for the raw egg yolk.

This homemade version is healthier and better tasting than store-bought varieties because it is free of added preservatives, added sugar, and excess added salt.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cubed gluten-free bread
  • 3 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 small garlic cloves, grated or pressed in a garlic press
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp anchovy paste
  • 1/2 tsp dried mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400F to bake croutons. While the oven is preheating, toss cubed bread in a bowl with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil, one of the pressed garlic cloves, and pinch of salt. Transfer to baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and crunchy on the outside. Allow to cool before adding to salad.

  2. While croutons are baking, prepare the dressing. Whisk together remaining pressed garlic cloves, anchovy paste, mustard powder, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire, red wine vinegar, and remaining olive oil. Taste and add a pinch of salt if necessary. Season well with black pepper.

  3. Place half of the lettuce in a large salad bowl and toss with half of the dressing and half of the croutons. Add remaining lettuce and toss with remaining dressing and croutons. Top with Parmesan cheese and additional black pepper to taste. Divide into four bowls and serve immediately.

Variations and Substitutions

You can make your salad dairy-free by omitting Parmesan cheese and simply leaving it out or replacing it with nutritional yeast.

You can also try modifying the greens by replacing romaine lettuce with Tuscan (aka dinosaur or lacinato) kale. If you use kale, make sure you "massage" the kale with a pinch of salt and lemon juice to make the leaves more tender.

Make the salad low carb by making the croutons with flax focaccia bread instead of store-bought gluten-free bread. Make the bread and then follow the same directions for making croutons in this recipe.

Cooking and Serving Tips

  • Quadruple the dressing recipe, shake in a mason jar, and store in your refrigerator for salads later in the week.
  • The recipe for this Caesar dressing is a vinaigrette style; if you want a creamy Caesar, you will need to blend the ingredients with mayonnaise (or raw egg yolk) or silken tofu.
  • Serve topped with your favorite protein for a complete meal.

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Harvard Health Publishing. Is Your Salad Dressing Hurting Your Healthy Diet?. May 1, 2017.