I made this Low Carb Caesar Salad with a classic dressing and crispy romaine lettuce. I've left out the croutons, making this low-carb and gluten-free. It has only 3 net carbs per serving and its full of flavor for a great side salad or main course.
About Olive Oil
Before we begin, we must discuss the star of the salad--olive oil! Good olive oil tastes so good, it might tempt you to drink it from the bottle.
They import many of the better oils from the Mediterranean. Look for monovarietal oil which means they process it with a single variety of olives.
You can tell a lot about an olive oil by where it is placed in the grocery store. The expensive, best tasting (and healthier) ones are usually on top shelf while less-expensive brands that don't taste as good are at eye level.
Have You Been To Olivemorada?
If you're in the Keys, there is a specialty shop in Islamorada called Olivemorada that you should visit. They sell 50 different olive oils from all over the world and you can sample all of them. You can spend an hour in there tasting the various products and discover the differences between them. There is a vast difference in taste from one oil to the next!
Olivemorada is at Mile Marker 82, right on your way to Key West and 20 miles south of Key Largo. They also have a full line of flavored vinegars and culinary gifts. It's a nice store and worth the trip!
Classic Caesar Salad Ingredients
- Egg Yolks
- Lemon Juice
- Dijon mustard *
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Romaine lettuce hearts
- Parmesan cheese
* If you are on the Kaufmann Phase Two Diet, look for Dijon mustard made with apple cider vinegar instead of distilled vinegar. A good brand is 365 by Whole Foods Market.
How to Prepare The Cheese
I grated the cheese in two different ways. I've used shaved Parmesan as a salad topper as well as finely grated Parmesan cheese to mix into the dressing.
Using a vegetable peeler or cheese slicer, gently shave thin slices of the cheese from the narrow side of the block. Make about 12 strips and break them into bite-sized pieces.
The remaining cheese should be grated on the small (teardrop-shaped) holes of a box grater. You need 2 tablespoons for the dressing and the rest can be passed at the table.
How to Make Caesar Dressing
- Drop anchovies, salt ,and garlic in your food processor and pulse on low for a few seconds until finely minced. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add eggs, lemon juice, and mustard. Pulse until combined. Scrape down the bowl again.
- Replace the cover and with the machine running on low, slowly add the olive oil through the feeding tube on the top and process until it is emulsified.
- Pour the dressing into a small bowl or glass jar. Stir in grated Parmesan cheese.
- Taste and add freshly ground pepper to taste.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
How To Prepare The Lettuce
You can use two heads of romaine lettuce with the dark outer leaves removed or three heads of romaine hearts. Place the lettuce on a cutting board. Cut off the stem and discard. Slice the lettuce horizontally into 1-inch pieces.
Place all the lettuce in a salad spinner. Remove the inner perforated bowl and rinse the lettuce with cold running water and then place it back in the spinner.
Spin a few times until the excess water is out. If you don't have a spinner, you can swish the lettuce in a large bowl of water and lift it out of the bowl, leaving the debris behind. Place on a clean dish towel and pat dry.
Can I Make the Salad Ahead of Time?
Yes! The Caesar dressing can be made one day ahead of time. Pour into a small covered glass jar and refrigerate until needed.
The lettuce is best if you prep it when you are pulling your meal together. If you are preparing the salad a few hours ahead of your meal, wash the lettuce and place a few wet paper towels over it in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Assembly of The Caesar Salad
Because everyone likes a different amount of dressing on their salad, place the lettuce in a large mixing bowl. Toss the lettuce with half of the dressing and then add more to your desired creaminess level.
Top each serving with shaved parmesan and pass the pepper mill at the table.
I topped this Low Carb Caesar Salad with Pan Seared Chicken Breasts. You can make the chicken before preparing the salad in a cast-iron grill pan and serve it hot or cold with the salad.
You can also top your Caesar Salad with hard-boiled eggs, Skirt Steak, Tuna Salad, or Shrimp Salad, which is always an excellent choice!
CONTAINS RAW EGGS: Take caution when consuming raw and lightly cooked eggs because of the slight risk of salmonella or other food-borne illness.
Low Carb Caesar Salad
- 6 oz Parmesan Cheese
- 6 anchovy filets packed in oil drained
- ¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 garlic clove peeled and smashed
- 2 raw egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice juice of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup Extra-virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 heads Romaine lettuce hearts or 2 heads of Romaine lettuce. Remove dark outer leaves.
FOR THE PARMESAN CHEESE
- Using a vegetable peeler, gently shave thin slices of the cheese from the narrow side of the block. Make about 12 strips and break them into bite sized pieces.
- Process the remaining cheese with a box grater. Be sure to use the tiny teardrop holes, not the large ones. You need 2 tablespoons for the dressing and the rest can be passed at the table.
FOR THE DRESSING
- Drop anchovies, salt and garlic in your food processor and pulse on low for a few seconds until garlic is finely minced. Scrape down sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add eggs, lemon juice, and mustard. Pulse until combined. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula.
- Replace cover and with machine running on low, slowly add the olive oil through the feeding tube on the top of the food processor until it is emulsified.
- Mix 2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese into the dressing. Add a little freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Refrigerate in a covered jar until ready to use.
FOR THE SALAD
- Remove the tough outer leaves of the lettuce. Place the lettuce on a cutting board and slice the lettuce horizontally into 1" pieces. Make sure to remove the "stump" from the bottom of the lettuce.
- Gently toss the lettuce with half of the dressing in a large bowl with tongs or a rubber spatula. Add more dressing to get the desired level of creaminess.
- Plate your salads and scatter shaved parmesan cheese and some freshly ground black pepper over each salad.