This Salmon Caesar Salad is a healthy and delicious take on a classic Caesar. It features easy homemade dressing, freshly baked croutons, and pan-seared salmon.
Who else thinks salads always taste better at restaurants? Who else ALWAYS orders a salad when they go out to eat, but is filled with sudden salad-apathy when you think about making a salad at home?
Or is that just me??? I don’t think it’s just me.
Well guys– I’ve got news for you. Salads can be JUST AS AMAZING at home!
The thing is, restaurants follow a recipe for their salads. Restaurants plan out what will go on their salads, instead of just indifferently tossing vegetables into a bowl.
But that doesn’t mean that salads need to be difficult to be fabulous! This Salmon Caesar Salad is the bomb diggity– it’s got protein, it’s got croutons, it’s HEALTHY, it comes together quickly, and it is delicious!
What is Pink Salmon?
For this Salmon Caesar Salad, I grabbed some pink salmon fillets. Pink salmon is a type of wild Pacific salmon.
It’s a mild, less-fatty type of salmon, and it is AFFORDABLE and delicious! It’s perfect for light meals like this salad, is a healthy alternative to meats that you might find on restaurant salads (like grilled chicken!)
How to Make Croutons
Once you’ve got the salmon, it’s time to get cookin’! Since Caesar salad only has a few components– it’s important to make sure each one tastes the best it can! And that means– homemade croutons.
About a month ago, I made the most delicious, decadent, and buttery croutons I’ve ever tasted in my life when I made this recipe for Garlic Croutons from Amanda at Striped Spatula. They were INCREDIBLE.
For this salad, we’re making a much lighter and quicker crouton that was inspired by Amanda’s buttery croutons, but if you want a little bit of buttery heaven on your salad– you can swap the croutons in this recipe for her crouton recipe.
For my lightened-up croutons, simply toss cubed bread in a little olive oil and freshly grated garlic, and bake them until they’re lightly toasted.
How to Make a Yogurt-Based Caesar Dressing
Next, make the dressing. Traditional Caesar dressing includes anchovies and garlic (yum!), but it also includes the somewhat tricky process of emulsifying oil into raw eggs.
We’re skipping the tricky part.
For this Salmon Caesar Salad, we’re making the dressing right in the salad bowl.
Start by using a pestle (or a wooden spoon) to mash together a few anchovies and some freshly grated garlic. The anchovies will fall apart quickly, and then you can move on.
Next, add a little mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and lemon juice. Whisk it all together, and then whisk in plain yogurt and a little Parmesan cheese.
Quick Tip: If you prefer total control over the amount of dressing on your lettuce, you could also make this dressing on the side and then toss it with the lettuce.
Making a Salmon Caesar Salad
Once you’ve made the dressing, and the croutons are ready, quickly sear the salmon. Then, flake the salmon apart, and set it aside.
Need more help? Check out this tutorial on How to Pan-Sear Fish.
Add the lettuce and a little more Parmesan cheese to the bowl with the dressing, and toss it all together.
Add the croutons, add the salmon– and voila! You’ve got a restaurant-quality Salmon Caesar Salad that’s perfect for lunch or dinner!
Salmon Caesar Salad
- 2 Pink salmon fillets (~ 4oz)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 TB olive oil
- ¼ French loaf (~ 4oz)
- 1 TB olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp sea salt
Yogurt Caesar Dressing:
- 3 garlic cloves
- 4 anchovies
- 1 ½ lemons, juiced
- 1 TB yellow mustard
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ⅛ cup Parmesan, freshly grated
- ⅓ cup whole yogurt, plain
- 1 romaine heart, roughly diced
- ¼ cup Parmesan, freshly grated
- Pat salmon dry, and set aside. Allow salmon to come to room temperature while you prepare the rest of the salad.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Roughly dice bread into 1″ squares. Use a zester to grate garlic. (Alternatively, finely dice garlic.)
- Toss bread in garlic, olive oil, and salt. Spread onto a baking sheet. Bake 11 minutes for soft croutons, or 14 minutes for crunchy croutons. Set croutons aside.
- Use a zester to grate garlic. (Alternatively, finely dice garlic.) Place in the bottom of a large salad bowl.
- Add anchovies to the bowl. Mash with a pestle or with a wooden spoon, until the anchovies have dissolved.
- Whisk in lemon juice, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Add the yogurt and the Parmesan. Whisk until smooth.
Pan-Sear the Salmon:
- Sprinkle salt on the salmon.
- Add 1 TB olive oil to a heavy bottom pan, and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and begins to ripple, add the salmon skin-side down, and do NOT touch the salmon.
- Allow the salmon to sear until the translucent flesh has cooked through and turned opaque about ⅔ of the way through the fish. (You’ll be able to see the fish turning opaque from the bottom up as it cooks.) If the fish begins to smoke in the pan, lower the heat slightly.
- When the fish is cooked through ⅔ of the way, use a thin metal spatula to flip it, and sear for 90 seconds on the other side. (If the fish resists flipping, wait 30 seconds and try again.)
- Remove fish from the pan, flake it apart with a fork. Discard skin if desired. Cover fish to keep it hot.
Assemble the Salad:
- Add diced romaine and the remaining Parmesan to the large bowl with the dressing. Toss salad until it’s coated in dressing and there is no more dressing pooled at the bottom of the bowl.
- Add croutons and salmon to the salad, and serve immediately.