This Caesar Salad with Grilled Citrus Salmon recipe includes a homemade caesar dressing, homemade garlic croutons, and a perfectly grilled piece of citrus marinated salmon! It's perfect any night, but especially delicious on a hot summer evening when it's too hot to cook.
Caesar salad was most definitely the food of my childhood. I probably went through a brief period in my life when I lived off caesar salad. And somehow I'm still here today to tell you about it.
Really though, I ate a lot of caesar salad when I was a kid/early teen. I think it had something to do with going to nice restaurants with my family and being too cool to order off the kids' menu (if there even was one), but not being adventurous enough to order an entire meal of "adult" food.
I pretty much always knew I'd enjoy the caesar salad, no anchovies please, anywhere I went. Of course, my parents did eventually explain to me that there were generally anchovies in my caesar whether I wanted them on top or not.
All restaurant caesar salads are measured against my mother's caesar salads. Which, in my opinion, are the gold standard on caesars. You have to be a garlic lover because everything from the dressing to the croutons is drenched in it.
And that's just the way I like it.
Why You'll Love this Recipe
There are so many reasons that you'll want this caesar salad to become a staple in your meal plan. Here's why it's such a great recipe:
- It makes for an easy weeknight dinner as you can make the caesar dressing and croutons ahead of time and just cook the protein and toss everything together when you're ready for dinner.
- You can top it with any kind of protein you want (or none!) depending on what your family likes.
- It's a healthy dinner, especially if you go light on the dressing.
- It's a light and fresh dinner perfect for a hot summer evening.
- It will taste better than any caesar salad you could get in a restaurant!
How to Make Homemade Caesar Dressing
Now that I'm older, I'm not so scared of anchovies anymore. For me, they are a necessity in my caesar dressing.
If you're adverse to them, by all means leave them out. You can actually substitute with a little Worcestershire sauce for the same kind of umami effect.
But I promise they're not as scary as they seem!
To make the caesar dressing, put anchovies, garlic, egg yolk, mustard, lemon juice, and water in a blender and process for about 30-40 seconds, until the mixture is smooth.
With the blender still running, pour the olive oil in very slowly, so the dressing emulsifies.
Pour until you have a consistency you like (you might want to taste it to determine if you're happy).
Pour the dressing in a bowl and stir in parmesan cheese and pepper. I don't add any salt since the anchovies add quite a bit of saltiness.
Make sure you stick the dressing in the fridge if you're not using it right away. Lick the spoon though.
How to Make Make Garlic Croutons
You can't have a caesar salad without croutons and in my opinion, there are absolutely no croutons like homemade croutons. Homemade garlic croutons.
Cut bread into roughly 1-inch cubes. Place in a bowl and toss with minced garlic and olive oil. Sprinkle pepper on top.
Cover a baking sheet in tinfoil and place bread cubes in a single layer on the sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, rotating the pan about ½ way through baking until croutons are crispy and turning golden.
Snack on a few while you cook the salmon.
How to Make Citrus Salmon
You can certainly eat the caesar salad as is, but I like to add some protein. Like grilled citrus salmon. It's the easiest recipe ever.
In a medium bowl, stir together orange juice, lemon juice, minced garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Place salmon in a large Ziplock bag and pour citrus mixture in it. Make sure the salmon is covered in the juices and stick the bag in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
Lightly coat grill grates or grill pan (or regular frying pan) with olive oil. Grill salmon over medium heat for about 4 minutes.
Flip and grill for another 3-4 minutes, until salmon is cooked through and flaky.
Now, place your roughly chopped lettuce in a large bowl. Drizzle your homemade caesar dressing over it.
Toss with the garlic croutons. And divide between 4 plates or bowls. You can sprinkle on some more parmesan cheese if you want.
Place your beautifully cooked salmon over the top. And enjoy!
This is my ideal meal. I love how garlic-y the dressing and croutons are and the salmon has a nice light citrus flavor the complements all that garlic really well.
I think it's amazing how something so simply to cook can be so amazingly delicious.
Salmon is definitely one of my favorite stand-bys, but I'd love this salad topped with shrimp, too. Actually, one of my favorite caesars comes topped with grilled calamari (from my old neighborhood in Brookline). It's quite large and I can eat the entire thing.
Substitutions for Recipe
There are lots of things you can do with this caesar salad recipe that will make it easier or just more unique. Here are a few ideas:
- Use store-bought croutons
- Use store-bought dressing
- Top with shrimp (citrus shrimp would be delicious!)
- Top with chicken or steak
- Top with additional vegetables or any leftovers you happen to have in the fridge
- Add in a whole grain like quinoa or farro
- Use different greens, like baby spinach, arugula, or a spring mix
Like I said, caesar salads are my ideal salads (especially when there's salmon on top!), but I love all kinds of salads.
I know some people don't think salad can be a meal, but I say if the salad is delicious enough and robust enough, it can be an incredible meal. Here are some of my very favorite salad recipes:
More Salad Recipes
- Chipotle Kale Caesar Salad
- Steak and Strawberry Salad
- Bacon Cheeseburger Kale Salad
- Watermelon Panzanella Salad
- Kale Greek Salad
- Broccoli Salad (from Jessica Gavin)
- Beet and Goat Cheese Salad (from Pinch Me Good)
And if you're looking for more wonderful ways to enjoy salmon, check these recipes out. Salmon is such a healthy dinner option and there's so much you can do to it to make it even more exciting for your family:
More Salmon Recipes
- Asian Ginger Miso Salmon Salad
- Creamy Grapefruit Salmon
- Salmon Fettuccine with Sour Cream Caesar Sauce
- Everything Bagel Salmon
- One-Pan Creamy Chipotle Salmon
- Chili Lime Salmon Over Coconut Rice
- Chipotle-Rubbed Grilled Salmon Tacos
- Creamy Salmon Pasta (from Healthy Fitness Meals)
- Pan-Seared Salmon in Garlic Mascarpone Sauce (from Serving Dumplings)
I'm standing by my position that I could eat a caesar salad every night and this one with added salmon only solidifies it for me. And I do still sometimes order caesar salads in restaurants.
Do you have any childhood favorites you still can't get enough of?
Caesar Salad with Grilled Citrus Salmon
- 1 medium head romaine lettuce, cleaned and roughly chopped
- Caesar Dressing (recipe below or store-bought)
- Garlic Croutons (recipe below or store-bought)
- Grated parmesan cheese, for topping (option)
- Citrus Salmon (recipe below)
- 4 anchovy fillets
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 2 Tbsp water
- ¼ cup- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup grated parmesan
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ loaf French bread
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 1 lb. salmon, cut into 4 fillets
- ⅓ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tsp minced garlic (from about 2 cloves)
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- Toss lettuce, dressing, and croutons in a large bowl. Divide salad into 4 separate bowls or plates and top with salmon. Sprinkle with extra parmesan cheese if desired.
- Put anchovies, garlic, egg yolk, dijon mustard, lemon juice, and water in a blender and process for about 30-40 seconds, until the mixture is smooth.
- With the blender still running, pour the olive oil in very slowly, so the dressing emulsifies. Pour until you have a consistency you like (you might want to taste it to determine if you're happy).
- Pour dressing in a bowl and stir in parmesan cheese and pepper. Keep in fridge until ready to use.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
- Cut bread into roughly 1-inch cubes. Place in a medium bowl and toss with minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Place bread cubes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pan about ½ way through baking, until croutons are crispy and turning golden.
- In a medium bowl, stir together orange juice, lemon juice, minced garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Place salmon in a large Ziplock bag and pour citrus mixture in it. Make sure the salmon is covered in the juices and stick the bag in the fridge for at least 45 minutes.
- Lightly coat grill grates or grill pan (or regular frying pan) with olive oil. Grill salmon over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Turn over and grill for another 3-4 minutes, until salmon is cooked through and flaky.