Is Caesar salad good for weight loss

Is Caesar salad good for weight loss

Caesar salad is a very popular salad served all over American restaurants. Many may not be aware that this salad can pack up more calories than a regular meal. Creamy and rich dressing that is served with this salad is made out of high fat ingredients like egg yolk and lots of olive oil. These ingredients do not make Caesar salad good for weight loss. In this recipe I will show you how to reduce calories in the dressing and make a much healthier salad option without sacrificing the flavor.

Is Caesar salad high in calories?

Yes, Caesar salad is very high in calories. The calorie count varies from restaurant to a restaurant, from 770 calories for Applebee’s Caesar salad with grilled chicken to 1,500 calories in Cheesecake Factory Caesar salad with grilled chicken. The amount of calories will depends on size of the salad.

is caesar salad good for weight loss

What makes Caesar salad high in calories?

There are two components to Caesar salad that make it high in calories:

  1. Dressing that includes mainly egg yolks and olive oil
  2. Croutons

I am going transform both into better, low calorie delicious options.

What can I substitute for Caesar dressing?

You can substitute large amount of oil with non fat greek yogurt. This trick will reduce the calories dramatically. Just one tablespoon of olive oil has 125 calories, compare it to one tablespoon of non fat greek yogurt – 8 calories.

Another way is to reduce amount of olive oil and add a whole egg instead of just the egg yolk. This way you increase volume by adding egg whites which are low in calories.

Let’s compare different caesar dressings

I will not include parmesan cheese in my calculations, although cheese is an ingredients in this dressing

  • Original high calorie recipe include: mayonnaise, or more authentic Caesar dressing will have egg yolks and olive oil, lemon juice, anchovies, Dijon mustard, garlic. The first main ingredients is what makes Caesar dressing very high in calories. The recipes I have found on the Internet usually had these ingredients and yield one cup of dressing:
    • 6 anchovies in oil
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
    • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
    • 1/2 cup olive oil

Yields one cup and all together that is 1,215 calories. One cup is 16 tablespoons and one serving for a salad usually ends up to be 2-3 tablespoons. That’s 150 to 225 calories per serving.

  • My favorite low calorie Caesar dressing includes: whole egg, olive oil (small amount), anchovies, lemon juice, and garlic. Let’s look at how the ingredients and calories compare:
    • 6 anchovies in oil
    • one whole egg
    • 3 garlic cloves
    • juice from one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
    • 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
    • 4 tablespoons of olive oil

Yields one cup as well but has half of the calories: 650. The taste is very similar to the original as I am using the same ingredients.

  • Greek yogurt low calorie Caesar dressing includes: Greek yogurt, olive oil (small amount), anchovies, lemon juice, and garlic
    • 75 grams/ 3 oz non fat greek yogurt
    • 6 anchovies in oil
    • 1 garlic cloves
    • juice from one lemon (about 1/4 cup)
    • 1 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
    • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

Yields one cup and has 225 calories, which makes it the lowest calorie Caesar dressing. But there is a difference in taste. It tastes like diet dressing, therefore, this is not my favorite option.

is caesar salad good for weight loss

TIP: in order to know how much of dressing you are using in terms of calories, weigh the whole dressing and weigh each portion while serving

What will you need to make Caesar salad for weight loss

  • Romain lettuce – this is the best type of lettuce for Caesar salad. It has some crunch to it and absorbs dressing very well
  • Dressing – my low calorie Caesar dressing with whole egg is the best option. If you do not like eggs, use the Greek yogurt option above
  • Croutons – I make them from scratch using a low calorie bread. Best option is a regular toast bread with 45 calories per slice or less. I also found low carb bread that has only 30 calories per slice and this bread was also a great option. Do some searching in your local grocery store and I am sure you will find a good low calorie option.
  • Parmesan cheese – this is where I do not try to remove calories. A good parmesan cheese is important and you do not have to use very much to make a big difference in taste. I use a small amount in the dressing itself and few shavings on top of the salad.
  • Protein – I am using shrimp. For a low calorie option chicken breast is also a good choice.
is caesar salad good for weight loss

How to make a healthy Caesar salad

Chop the lettuce, wash it and use the salad spinner to remove all water. Wet lettuce will dilute the dressing and change the taste of the salad.

spin lettuce
water from lettuce

Mix salt, paprika, garlic powder and oregano. I am going to use it for the croutons and shrimp.

mix spices

Prepare the croutons by lining toast bread on a baking tray with a rack. The rack will let air to move around the bread, not allowing it to sweat and become soft. This way you get a crispy toast.

Sprinkle the toast with spice mix. Bake in the oven at 450F for 10 minutes, keep a close eye on it. Different breads will have different toasting time. Yours might be shorter or longer.

bread for croutons
cut croutons

Prepare the dressing by adding all ingredients but the parmesan cheese (you will add it at the end) and blending them. Look at this short Caesar dressing video for step by step instructions:

Prepare the shrimp by adding the rest of the spice mix. Toss well.

mix spices with shrimp
mix spices with shrimp

Preheat a pan and add one slice of bacon (60 calories). I like to use bacon to render fat and use it for greasing the pan.

sautee bacon

Add shrimp and fry about a minute per side.

sautee shrimp
sautee shrimp

Shave parmesan cheese to top the salad

shave parmesan

Put it all together and serve

caesar dressing
mix dressing and lettuce
plate the salad
caesar salad
is caesar salad good for weight loss

Low Calorie Caesar Salad

This recipe for Caesar salad is low in calories and you would never know when you try it. To make it a low calorie option I made the dressing lighter – one dressing with egg and one with yogurt for you to choose from. I also made homemade croutons from a low calorie toast bread.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories 410 kcal


  • Immersion blender
  • Baking Sheet
  • Mixing bowls
  • Frying pan


For salad

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce
  • 2 servings croutons recipe follows
  • 3 oz caesar dressing recipe follows
  • 12 oz shrimp
  • 1 slice low sodium bacon 60 calories per slice
  • 1 oz parmesan cheese shaved
  • 1 squeezed lemon

For caesar dressing with egg

  • 1 whole large egg
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • 1 oz Dijon mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ oz anchovies
  • ½ oz grated parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

For Greek yogurt dressing

  • 75 g non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • ½ oz anchovies
  • salt and pepper to taste

For Croutons

  • 4 slices low calorie bread 45 calories or less
  • ½ tsp spice mix ingredients below
  • sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese

Spice mix for shrimp and croutons

  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried oregano



  • Chop and wash lettuce
  • Spin the lettuce in lettuce spinner to remove all water
  • Divide into to bowls and add 1.5 oz of dressing into each serving
  • Toss well
  • Add croutons, parmesan shavings (½ once per serving) and shrimp


  • Add all ingredients besides cheese into a blender (I used nutribulet) and blend well
  • Pour into a container with a lid so you can store it for later. The dressings yield one cup
  • Add parmesan cheese and mix


  • Line the toasts over a baking sheet with a rack
  • Sprinkle ½ tsp of the spice mix and sprinkle with parmesan cheese
  • Bake at 450F for 10 minutes, keeping an eye on them so they do not burn
  • Cut the bread up in small pieces
Keyword healthy caesar salad, light caesar salad, low calorie caesar salad

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