Do you buy salad dressing at the grocery store? Stop! Making your own is so easy and tastes so much better, once you start you’ll never look back. Plus, you’ll know what goes into it and you can easily adjust seasonings and fat levels to your liking. I previously posted a delicious oil and vinegar dressing that works in any fall salad over here, but what about classic Caesar dressing? It took a while before I attempted it because I was intimidated by the whole raw egg thing, not to mention anchovies (yuck). I tried to make homemade mayonnaise a while back and it was a huge fail (If you’ve mastered it, I would love to hear your secrets! Leave me a comment!) So I didn’t want to repeat that fiasco. Turns out, you can make a really tasty homemade Caesar dressing using mayo instead of raw eggs, and it tastes just as delicious without the anchovies.
And don’t get me started on homemade croutons! Croutons are practically free food. I save bread crusts and stale bread in my freezer, stuff that would otherwise be thrown out, and when I have enough, I chop it up and make croutons. (If you don’t have stale bread waiting in your freezer, buy the most interesting bread you can find on the reduced rack at the grocery store!) The seasonings are a little different every time. Olive oil, garlic powder, salt and pepper are the basics I use, but add whatever other spices you like. And the more variety in the bread the better! It makes the croutons more rustic, which I love.
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I’ve also made this recipe using Greek yogurt to make it healthier – the taste is not as close to classic Caesar dressing, but it’s still quite tasty!)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (about half a lemon)
1 tsp grainy/old-fashioned Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
fresh ground pepper
stale bread and/or bread crusts
freshly ground salt and pepper
other dried herbs – basil, thyme, rosemary, oregano and sage all work well (optional)
1. Combine dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk. Or, use a small mason jar and shake (fun!). Let sit in fridge for half an hour before serving. Keeps up to a week in the fridge.
2. Preheat oven to 350. Slice bread into half inch cubes and spread on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs. Stir to evenly distribute herbs.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, checking and stirring every 5-10 minutes until bread is dried and just starting to brown. Check more often towards the end of the time as bread will burn quickly once it dries. Let cool and store in fridge for up to a month.
You can make your salad however you like, but today I used leaf lettuce and added a chopped, hard boiled egg and some extra Parmesan on top.