There is no denying that Caesar salad tastes great, and it’s a salad which means it should be healthy right? Not quite. Caesar salad does involve lettuce, but it really can not be considered a vegetable after it has been drenched in creamy dressing, layered with cheese, and covered in croutons. Fear not Caesar salad lovers, it is not too much of a stretch to take your favorite salad to a more health-conscious level. With a few substitutions, you can get a pretty high nutritional bang for your buck and still enjoy the classic taste of Caesar salad.
For the base of our salad, we will be swapping out that iceberg lettuce for some hearty spring greens and kale. Some other great choices include baby kale or spinach which are rich in fiber and contain more vitamins per bite than most other greens. I’m not hardcore enough to eat a full-on kale salad, but if you like it that much than hats off to you! This super food will keep you going all day by providing not just vitamins and minerals, but also a kick of fiber and even protein.
Rather than using cheese in my Caesar, I add Parmesan flavored couscous. The pasta-like texture of couscous combines with the cheesy flavor are a delicious addition to the salad, and not one you have to feel guilty about. One cup of couscous contains your daily recommended serving of protein, comparatively higher than other grains. The couscous also serves up a pretty good amount of carbs and potassium to give you an energy boost at lunchtime. Remember: carbs are what your body NEEDS to keep you going!
Rather than using a cream based dressing, I opted for a homemade Caesar vinaigrette. I found the recipe on Pintrest, all creds go to this blog. The vinaigrette is mostly a mix of oil and vinegar, which any professional dietitian is the best topping for your salad. The olive oil is rich in heart healthy fats that also keep your hair shiny and nails strong, and the combination of vinegar, Dijon mustard, and Parmesan cheese create the perfect Caesar flavor!
For the salad:
1. Combine kale and romaine (or greens of choice) in a bowl or Tupperware
2. Follow the instructions on a box of Parmesan flavored couscous and add about 1/2 a cup to the salad when cooled
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinaigrette
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon Italian dressing seasoning
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
Combine in a mason jar, shake, and serve!