How to Deal With Food Issues of Friends: Caesar Salads


I have friends who don’t eat red meat, but eat poultry, or eat just grass fed beef and free range chicken. Or who eat none of the above, but just fish, or just shellfish, or no flesh of any animal at all but will eat cheese and eggs. Or are total vegans and will have nothing to do with anything that comes from an animal.  And then there are the friends with allergies – to wheat, to nuts, to dairy. Or they’re on a diet and juicing or cleansing or fasting.

Large salads are the only answer to this.  Sometimes you don’t know what your friends’ food issues are so be prepared with a really big salad for people to eat. And those without issues will like it too.  But you might want to put cheese and anything vaguely exotic like anchovies, or capers or nuts in little bowls on the side.


I’ve recently gotten into Caesar salads and came up with a very easy version:

– 1 head of romaine lettuce chopped into pieces, rinsed and whirled in a salad spinner. This is the secret (which you and the whole world probably knows): after you spin the lettuce place the spinner in the fridge for a couple of hours so the lettuce is chilled and crisp. I just learned this; out of sheer laziness I gave up on my spinner and served about a decade’s worth of limp lettuce salads. I am now in love with my salad spinner and use it for anything green and leafy.)

–  1 can of anchovies drained and chopped

–  Parmesan cheese to taste (I use 1/3 cup)

–  Croutons  (These are so easy and economical to make that  I never buy them. You cut up stale bread, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, toss in a bowl until all the bread is lightly coated with oil, then either fry or bake until crisp. You can add garlic, or spices or whatever makes you happy in a crouton.)

– Dressing:  prepared Caesar salad dressing  (Trader Joes has a very good one) mixed to taste – I do half and half – with olive oil and lemon juice, which makes it taste fresher and lighter. This is the one time I use a prepared dressing, but a little bit of this one gives the salad a good flavor and saves you a lot of work.

ticcroutons cooking


  8 comments for “How to Deal With Food Issues of Friends: Caesar Salads

  1. Harriet
    January 31, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    have never used a salad spinner….don’t have one. And I make lots of salads…never have a dinner without one. I will check it out.
    And also the Trader Joes Caesar salad dressing.
    I think your recommends carry more weight with me as you come to cooking late and some what resistant. though I did discover 50 years ago when I was first married and knew NOTHING about cooking…… That cooking is one of the more interesting household tasks — at least in my opinion. And I love sitting down to my candlelit table with family and or friends.
    Keep up this blog. I enjoy it.
    All best,

  2. Barbara
    January 31, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    Thank you, Harriet! I love sitting down at that candlelit table too.

  3. January 31, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    My daughter was born with Celiac. She is 17 now – and I want to send this whole blog to everyone she ever comes in contact with! It’s perfect. Just make a big salad and leave things on the side. I almost never post food things on my Facebook – but I reposted this one! Thanks.

    • Barbara
      February 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm

      Thanks so much for reposting, Marsha!

  4. jean shriver
    February 1, 2014 at 12:40 am

    21 W. Pomegranate Rd.
    you think you got trouble? I live next door to and am related to 3 vegans, 1 piscatarian, an ominivore and an omnivore who eats only meat and salad with no dressing! Yes, salads are the answer. And I haven’t put my spinner in the fridge, but I will.

    • Barbara
      February 3, 2014 at 6:24 pm

      Jean – that’s funny. I love your family.

  5. jean shriver
    February 1, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    21 W. Pomegranate Rd
    forgot to mention that the piscatarian is wheat allergic!. Forget pasta dinners..

  6. Barbara
    February 4, 2014 at 1:36 am

    I just got an email from the mother of a vegan who questioned the whole idea of this salad for vegans. As I said, put anchovies, cheese etc. in little bowls if you’re having vegans over. But that does leave the Caesar salad dressing from Trader Joe’s in question. So I checked the label; there are no eggs in it but it does have a bit of cheese. Perhaps a Caesar salad is not the best choice of salad if vegans are coming to dinner.

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