$20 Restaurant-Style Caesar Salad ... for about $5

Does it drive you crazy how much restaurant food is marked up? Not me, usually. I'm paying for somebody else to be doin' the cooking, and more importantly, the dishes. But when it comes to salad...I usually just don't see the point.

I made the mistake once. Mike and I ordered a Caesar Salad that cost about $12-$15. We were going to split it. When it came out, there were three pieces of lettuce smeared with dressing. I relished every last bite (and it was good), but ever since then, we've joked about expensive salads in fancy restaurants.

The thing is, salads are easy. Even when you've made the dressing from scratch. And the cleanup is pretty simple, too. So go out to eat. Pay top dollar for somebody else to shuck your oysters, and do the cleanup, but skip the salad. It's overpriced, and you can do a better job at home!

Caesar Salad

Don't let the multiple parts of this recipe daunt you. If you already have crutons, you can use those, or leave them off entirely. If you have pre-shredded parmesan cheese, you can use that. Just try the dressing. Just once. The whole recipe, including the homemade crutons, takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. 


  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon anchovy paste
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • Pinch ancho chile powder (Optional - you could also use just a dash of cayenne)
  • Pinch salt and freshly ground pepper

Use a blender or an immersion blender to combine all ingredients until they come together in a thick dressing. Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired.

Makes enough dressing for about 4 salads.


  • Crusty bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (I used this bread)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

Heat the butter in a skillet. When it is just beginning to brown, toss in the paprika, then the bread. Saute, stirring gently, until the bread just begins to brown. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.


  • Dressing
  • Crutons
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Parmesan Cheese

Tear and wash the lettuce. Drain and pat dry, or use a salad spinner to remove excess water. Toss with the dressing. Shave the parmesan cheese onto the salad using a vegetable peeler (you can also use a cheese grater for smaller shavings). Top with crutons. Enjoy!

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