Caesar Salad: The Truth Behind the Calories; The Recipe for a Better Dressing by Robin Miller in Robin's Healthy Take, March 27, 2012
History says that Caesar Cardini, of Tijuana, Mexico, invented the Caesar Salad in 1924. At the time, the dish was eaten with fingers – whole leaves of Romaine lettuce were dipped in Caesar dressing. Now I’ll tell you why I mentioned that. I recently went to the movies with my kids – one of those new theaters where you order food from your seat. We got the Caesar salad and it was served the same way – dressing in a bowl, whole leaves on the side for dunking (this was perfect for simultaneous movie-viewing and noshing). The salad was terrific, but as a nutritionist, I know how fattening Caesar dressing can be. I decided to run some numbers. Are you sitting down? A traditional Caesar salad has 470 calories, 40 grams of fat (9 grams of which are saturated) and 1070 milligrams of sodium. Even the “side salad” boasts 362 calories, 26 grams of fat, 7 grams of saturated fat and 913 milligrams of sodium. You’re almost better off with buttered popcorn and chocolate. Since most of the fat comes from oil and cheese, it’s really easy to create a fabulous Caesar dressing by swapping a few ingredients. In my dressing, I replace most of the oil with good chicken broth, I swap Worcestershire sauce for the anchovies and I use Dijon mustard for flavor and its ability to emulsify everything. When serving the dressing, use whole or chopped leaves and feel free to top the salad with croutons and grilled chicken or shrimp to make it a complete meal.