A great CAESAR SALAD is all about the creamy, garlicy dressing, supported by the textures of the greens and toppings. This SPICY CAESAR SALAD brings all that, plus the spiciness of chilis, which is gonna make you crave this salad even more.
Caesar salad was always one of my go to salads when dining out. For whatever reason, I thought I could ask for the croutons and cheese on the side and assume that the salad would be on my “safe list”. Little did I know, many restaurant caesar salads add dairy (i.e. sour cream, cheese) into the dressing, so I would need to eliminate that too. That leaves me with a plate of lettuce – not very exciting, right?
One of my favorite caesar salads can be found at Jon and Vinny’s, a Los Angeles restaurant that serves the most kick ass, downright delicious Italian food. Their Little Gem Salad w Calabrian Chili Dressing has all of the garlicy, funky notes of your traditional caesar salad, plus the added kick of Calabrian chilis which takes this salad to the next level. It really is TO DIE FOR. I had to recreate this — with some tweaks.
What makes a great caesar salad?
- THE DRESSING – I’m all about the garlic and anchovy that go into the traditional caesar dressing. My caesar dressing possesses all of the traditional flavors, plus the addition of a red fresno chili pepper to give the spicy kick. The restaurant’s dressing uses Calabrian chilis. I switched that out for a Fresno chili, as jarred Calabrian chilis can be difficult to find. If you are intrepid and locate Calabrian chilis (you can order online at Williams Sonoma or Amazon) please feel free to substitute the fresno chili with the Calabrian chili.
- THE LETTUCE – The greens need to be able to stand up to the rich, creamy dressing. This is no time for delicate greens like frise or mesclun. I’ve included little gem lettuce and kale in this recipe. Traditional romaine lettuce also works perfectly.
- THE CHEESE & CROUTONS- I found that you won’t miss the cheese in this salad As the spiciness is interesting, the salad tastes divine without the dairy. I didn’t want to wrestle with a gluten free crouton, so there are none in this recipe. Instead of croutons, I sprinkle a generous amount of vegan parmesan cheese on the salad to give a “cheesy” flavor as well much needed crunch.
This makes for a flavorful, satisfying salad. With the addition of chicken or salmon, it will transform into a delicious, satisfying lunch.
SPICY CAESAR SALAD | paleo, whole 30
Inspired by Jon & Vinny’s Gem Salad w Calabrian Chili Dressing, this is not a shy dish. It has all the creamy, garlic-y characteristics of a a traditional caesar salad, but with a little heat coming from a fresno chili pepper.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
1 lb (4 heads) little gem lettuce
1/2 bunch Tuscan kale
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup Vegan Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup SPICY CAESAR SALAD DRESSING (recipe follows)
- arrange little gem lettuce, kale and tomatoes on a platter
- drizzle with spicy caesar dressing
- sprinkle vegan parmesan cheese as desired
Keywords: caesar dressing, caesar salad
SPICY CAESAR DRESSING | paleo, whole 30
Inspired by Jon & Vinny’s Gem Salad w Calabrian Chili Dressing, this is not a shy dish. It has all the creamy, garlic-y characteristics of a a traditional caesar dressing, but with a little heat coming from a fresno chili pepper.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 cup
1 fresno chili, deseeded and roughly chopped – keep the seeds in for a spicier dressing (Substitution: 1 tbsp jarred Calabrian chili in oil)
2 egg yolks
1 anchovy filet in oil
1/2 tbsp paleo mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp shallot, roughly chopped
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c avocado oil
salt and pepper to taste ( I use 1/2 tsp of each)
- In a food processor, add all ingredients, except avocado and olive oils for dressing. Process until ingredients are pureed.
- With food processor on, slowly drizzle in both oils. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
- Transfer to a jar.
Please note that this dressing develops gets spicier if you don’t use the dressing immediately.
As raw egg yolks are used, the dressing should be served immediately, and leftovers should be refrigerated immediately.
Dressing should keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.
Keywords: caesar dressing, caesar salad