Once you learn how to make a proper homemade caesar dressing you’ll never turn to store-bought again. I top this caesar salad with warm grilled shrimp, crispy garlic croutons and lots of shaved parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper! Enjoy this grilled shrimp caesar salad for dinner and save the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Caesar salad is pretty perfect as-is but this version is enhanced with warm, fresh off the grill shrimp with Old Bay seasoning, an ode to my home state Maryland. The smokey, slightly spicy seasoning from the shrimp is perfectly balanced by the creamy, cool caesar dressing! Don’t forget the homemade garlic croutons and heaps of freshly grated parmesan cheese!
If you’ve been lucky enough to experience a table side caesar salad, made right in front of you than you know how special homemade caesar salad really is! The original concept and recipe was invented in Mexico by Italian chef, Caesar Cardini.
I have two more just as delicious caesar salads on the site that you may want to know about: The Perfect Kale Caesar with a mayo based dressing and Creamy Tahini Caesar Dressing with a completely egg-free tahini base.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- For the caesar dressing you will need: garlic, anchovy, dijon mustard, egg yolks, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, neutral oil (like grape-seed, safflower, avocado or canola), parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper!
- For the rest of the salad you will need: bread, olive oil, garlic, romaine or gem lettuce, shrimp and Old Bay seasoning,
Homemade Caesar Dressing Step by Step:
I learned how to make caesar salad when I was a waitress at a steak house. We used to have to make caesar salads for guests table side in a giant wooden bowl, sometimes 4-5 in one night! This is how we did it:
Step 1. Mash the Garlic and Anchovy into a Paste
In a large wooden salad bowl use your whisk to mash the garlic and anchovy into a paste. Use the entire surface of the bowl to do this, the rough edges of the wood will help to break down the ingredients, kind of like a mortar and pestle.
Note: If you don’t have a wooden salad bowl like this you can make the dressing in any large bowl just finely mince the anchovy and garlic before you get started. Below I’ve also included instructions for making caesar dressing in a food processor/blender.
Step 2. Whisk Together the Dressing
Next, whisk in the egg yolk, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice. When the mixture is evenly combined and pale yellow start to slowly stream in the oil, little by little, while continuously whisking.
Step 3. Add the Cheese & Black Pepper
Last, whisk in the grated parmesan cheese and a few generous turns of freshly cracked black pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
FAQs and Expert Tips
To make this dressing in a blender or food processor you will first blend all of the ingredients except the oil, until smooth and pale yellow. Then, with the blades running slowly stream in the oil. Taste and season as needed.
This dressing is truly best eaten right away however, it will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
To replace the anchovies in this recipe you can use 2tbsp minced capers or 2tbsp soy sauce.
Yes, to make this dressing with out eggs substitute 3tbsp vegan mayo or check out my tahini caesar dressing recipe.
Check Out More Great Recipes:
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Grilled Shrimp Caesar Salad
- 2 cups torn pieces of Italian or country bread
- 1/4 c olive oil
- 2 cloves grated garlic
- 4 anchovies
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 c neutral oil grapeseed, canola, safflower or avocado
- 1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 lb large deveined shrimp peeled or not- up to you!
- 3 tbsp old bay seasoning
- 2 tbsp neutral oil
- 3 large heads romaine lettuce or 4-5 heads gem lettuce
- grated parmesan cheese
- black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the torn bread with the grated garlic, olive oil and a pinch of salt, distribute in a an even layer on a baking tray. Transfer to the oven to bake until lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- In a large wooden bowl* whisk together the anchovy and grated garlic until a paste forms. Use the whisk to break up the anchovies. Next, add in the egg yolks, dijon mustard, Worcestershire and lemon juice then whisk to combine. *note: If you don’t have a wooden salad bowl like this you can make the dressing in any large bowl just finely mince the anchovy and garlic before you get started.
- Next, begin slowly streaming in the neutral oil while whisking continuously until the mixture is thick, creamy, and pale yellow. Last, whisk in the parmesan cheese and a few generous turns of freshly cracked black pepper.
- Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Toss the shrimp with the neutral oil and old bay seasoning. Grill the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side.
- Prep your romaine lettuce. Trim off the root end. Discard any outer leaves that are wilted or blemished. Cut or tear the romaine into bite-sized pieces then transfer to a colander and wash, then spin dry in a salad spinner.
- Add the lettuce into the bowl with the dressing along with the croutons and toss until evenly coated. You really want to make sure the leaves are thoroughly coated in dressing. Divide the salad between plates, top with extra grated parmesan cheese, black pepper and 3-4 shrimp per salad.
- Anchovy: 2tbsp minced capers or 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Egg Yolk: 2tbsp vegan mayo
- Oil: neutral oil like canola, grape seed, safflower or avocado
- Worcestershire: 1tbsp soy sauce
- Old Bay: any seafood seasoning blend will work or you can mix up a combination of paprika, garlic powder and salt and pepper
- To make this dressing in a blender or food processor you will first blend all of the ingredients except the oil, until smooth and pale yellow. Then, with the blades running slowly stream in the oil. Taste and season as needed.
- Leftover caesar dressing will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Same with the shrimp, 2-3 days max. Extra croutons should be stored at room temperature in a sealed container or ziplock bag.