Is Caesar salad healthy? Yes, thanks to this easy recipe with a genius ingredient swap

If we had to rank our favorite salad of all time, Caesar would be number one. This salad has everything we love: tangy vinaigrette, crunchy romaine, seasoned croutons, and a generous amount of nutty Parmesan, all tossed together perfectly. While this salad is known for its richness, there is a lighter version that is just as delicious. Simply make the dressing with Greek yogurt instead of egg yolks and olive oil. Nutrition professionals swear by this swap because it creates that signature creamy dressing with less fat. The yogurt also adds a nice tangy flavor, which wakes up the flavors of the other ingredients in the salad. Here’s why Greek yogurt is the perfect healthy addition to Caesar salad, plus an easy recipe to make it at home!

Caesar Salad Basics

The star of this salad is the vinaigrette, which traditionally contains egg yolks, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovies, Dijon mustard, parmesan and Worcestershire sauce. This dressing is then tossed with romaine lettuce and croutons before being topped with more parmesan. The combination of ingredients creates a tangy, creamy salad that Italian chef Caesar Cardini is said to have invented in the 1920s at his restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico. Since then, it has been a staple salad in restaurants around the world.

Is Caesar salad healthy?

Although Caesar salad is a restaurant favorite, it’s something you may need to enjoy in moderation. A serving of this salad from the Ninety Nine restaurant chain contains 450 calories and 33 grams of fat. Most of this comes from the combination of egg yolks and oil in the dressing. Fat is associated with the absorption of energy and vitamins; However, too much can increase your risk of cancer and diabetes. Luckily, there is a homemade version of this salad with a dressing that won’t increase your daily fat intake!

The nutritionist’s secret to making a less fatty vinaigrette

For a lighter version of Caesar dressing, Catherine Rall, a registered dietitian at Happy V (a wellness company), uses fat-free Greek yogurt in place of eggs and oil. “It’s a simple change in dressing that will give you a dish with less fat, more protein, and some extra probiotics,” she notes. One cup of this yogurt has around 187 calories and is fat-free, making it perfect for a nutritious salad dressing. You can then add ingredients like Parmesan, lemon juice, and Worcestershire for that classic Caesar salad flavor! (Click to learn the benefits of Greek yogurt for constipation and how this yogurt can relieve heartburn.)

How to Make Healthy Homemade Caesar Salad

Below, Yelena Wheeler, RDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and health editor for Endomondo, shares her recipe for Caesar Salad with Yogurt Dressing. This dressing does not contain anchovies, which enhance the mixture’s savory flavor (often called “umami”). But one or two canned anchovies can be added for an even more delicious and nourishing salad.

Caesar Salad with Yogurt Vinaigrette



Salad base and toppings:

  • 2 large heads of romaine lettuce, washed, dried and chopped

  • Grated Parmesan cheese

  • Plain or seasoned croutons


  • 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt

  • ¼ cup grated parmesan

  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

  • 3 tbsp. Dijon Mustard

  • 1 C. Worcestershire sauce

  • ⅛ tsp. sea ​​salt

  • ⅛ tsp. black pepper


  1. In a blender or food processor, combine all dressing ingredients until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust flavor if necessary. Put aside.

  2. In a large, clean bowl, toss lettuce and croutons with desired amount of dressing. Once the lettuce is completely coated, serve in individual bowls or a large bowl. Sprinkle with additional grated parmesan and enjoy!

  3. Note: Leftover dressing can be placed in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

5 Ways to Dress a Caesar Salad

Turning your freshly made Caesar into a complete meal is as easy as adding one of these five ingredients!

1. Cooked chicken breast

Grilled or roasted slices of chicken breast add a hearty touch to your bowl of greens.

2. Sliced ​​cherry tomatoes

The cherry tomatoes give the Caesar salad enough sweetness to balance the tangy dressing.

3. Grilled shrimp

Sweet and tender grilled shrimp create a salad that is sure to fill you up.

4. Hard-boiled eggs

A few chopped hard-boiled eggs give the salad a buttery taste.

5. Crispy chickpeas

These chickpeas add extra crunch and extra protein to the salad. (Click for Alton Brown’s roasted chickpea recipe.)

For other ways to liven up green salads, check out these vinaigrette recipes!

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