Chef Jo Lusted admits that the Caesar salad has always been a little bit of an obsession for her. A traditional Caesar salad dressing is essentially emulsified eggs and oil, the same as mayonnaise, and pretty much all fat: just three tablespoons of full-fat Caesar dressing contain around 30 grams of fat and 270 calories. Jo's made a just as creamy version with a fraction of the fat using non-fat Greek yogurt.
There are lots of crunchy crouton alternatives, like toasted nuts or roasted chickpeas, but one of Jo's favourite parts of the salad is a classic garlicky bread crouton, so we're using her lightened-up whole-grain version of those too.
1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 anchovy fillets, minced
1 garlic clove , minced
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3 dashes hot sauce
12 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1 cup homemade croutons*, recipe follows
4 slices all-natural pork or turkey bacon, cooked until crispy and coarsely chopped
Prepare dressing: whisk together yogurt, 1/4 cup Parmesan, anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and hot sauce until smooth. [Make-ahead: Dressing can be prepared up to 3 days in advance, covered and refrigerated.]
Prepare salad: In a large bowl, combine lettuce, croutons and bacon. Toss with prepared dressing. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.
In a large bowl, toss chicken with sauce to coat. Serve with blue cheese dip and carrot and celery sticks.
Making your own croutons reduces the calories and fat roughly by half. All you need are 4 slices of whole-grain bread (gluten-free, if desired), 2 tbsp of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tsp of Italian herb seasoning, and some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut bread into 1-inch chunks, transfer to bowl and mist with cooking spray, tossing and spraying again to coat evenly. Sprinkle with Parmesan and Italian herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Spread in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and bake, turning once, for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Cool and store at room temperature in a resealable container.
Before: 490 calories, 26 g total fat
Dish Do-Over: 284 calories, 10.2 g total fat
Yield: Serves 4