Homemade Caesar salad with garlic croutons is absolutely everyone’s favorite. And the secret of making a very creamy dressing without the raw egg yolk? Japanese mayonnaise.
Once in a while, I post non-Japanese dishes that my family enjoys on Just One Cookbook and today I’m sharing my recipe for refreshing Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons!
Watch How To Make Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons
A few weeks ago, I shared a picture of my Tamago Sando (Tamago Salad Sandwich) along with Caesar Salad on my Instagram and Facebook, and many of you pinged me on how I make the Caesar Salad dressing. It is probably not the most authentic Caesar Salad recipe you will find, but people that have tried my salad really like it so I’m happy to share my recipe with you.
The Trick of Japanese Mayonnaise in Caesar Salad
The most unique and different part of my Caesar Salad dressing is that I use Japanese mayonnaise. I know, the authentic recipe would not use mayonnaise: it would use raw egg yolks, lemon juice, mustard, olive oil, and vegetable oil… but wait, these ingredients are exactly the same ingredients for making Japanese mayonnaise!
Unlike American mayonnaise, Japanese mayonnaise uses only egg yolks. So, it’s actually very close to what we need for the Caesar Salad dressing (with additional ingredients for the salad dressing, of course)!
Prior to writing this post, I’ve never purchased an American mayonnaise, but I got myself one out of curiosity! And I did a taste test between Japanese mayo and American mayo.
Japanese Mayo vs. American Mayo
Japanese mayo (I use Kewpie mayonnaise) definitely has a stronger egg taste (delicious!) due to the egg yolk in the mayonnaise. It is tangy, yet mild, not overwhelmingly sour because rice vinegar is used. The mayonnaise is also slightly sweet and overall it’s rich in flavor, thicker, and creamier.
Compared to Japanese mayonnaise, American mayo tastes bland, lacks flavors and richness, and sort of bleh. I now know why many people are not fond of using mayonnaise in recipes here in the U.S. while most of Japanese love their mayonnaise.
For those of you who have a concern about using the raw eggs in the Caesar Salad recipe, I highly recommend using Japanese mayonnaise. And you might discover the love of Japanese mayonnaise and perhaps even be inspired to make Japanese Potato Salad and drizzle mayo on Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki.
If you are interested in Japanese mayo click here for more info!
Making Homemade Croutons
As for the croutons, you can easily purchase a bag of croutons in American grocery stores. However, croutons are SUPER easy to make and it lasts for a week in an airtight bag when refrigerated. This way you can enjoy different salads every day with homemade croutons. You just have to make one big batch on the first day (or when you have leftover bread).
What kind of bread is the best?
I like to use Ciabatta bread (more crust!), but you can use a French baguette or any French/Italian loaf bread. It’s best if it’s a day old. It doesn’t have to be, but the slightly stale bread is often used. To me, it’s a great way to use up any leftover bread the next day after a dinner party.
Can you season the croutons in Caesar Salad?
Today I made the simple croutons with extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and freshly ground black peppers. However, you could add Parmesan cheese, herbs (oregano, basil, or thyme are good choices!), and/or spices you enjoy to make some variations. With homemade croutons, you can make what you like, so it’s more fun!
I like to use only olive oil for my croutons but some use butter only, or half olive oil and half butter. I like olive oil because it’s ready to use (no prep) and healthier.
If you decide to use garlic as I do, make sure to let the finely minced garlic infuses the olive oil a few minutes before coating the bread. The little thing helps to make croutons taste better!
If you are interested in more salad recipes, check out my salad recipe page.
I hope you enjoy making Caesar Salad with homemade croutons! If you try it, don’t forget to share your picture on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with #JustOneCookbook. Thank you so much for reading, and till next time!
Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons
For the croutons
- 5 inches Ciabatta bread (or any baguette)
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ tsp kosher or sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the dressing
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tsp anchovy fillet (about 1-2 fillets chopped; I consider it's one of the important flavors in the dressing; however, if you prefer to omit, use ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce instead.)
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp champagne vinegar (you can also use white wine vinegar, or skip and add more lemon juice)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
- ½ tsp kosher or sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; use half for table salt)
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
- 1-2 hearts romaine lettuce
- Parmigiano-Reggiano (Parmesan) cheese (freshly grated)
- Gather all the ingredients.
To Make Homemade Croutons
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC). For a convection oven, reduce cooking temperature by 25ºF (15ºC). Crush the garlic clove (or finely mince it) into a large bowl. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and mix well. Let the garlic infuse the olive oil for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile, slice the bread and cut it into about ¾ inch (2 cm) cubes.
- Add the bread cubes into the bowl and toss until the bread is lightly and evenly coated with the olive oil. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake at 400ºF (200ºC) for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn once halfway through cooking in order to brown all sides of the croutons. Cooking time will depend on the thickness of the bread cubes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack completely. After cooling, use immediately, or store in an air-tight container/bag for up to 1 week.
To Make Caesar Salad
- In a large bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and whisk until dressing is thick and glossy. The dressing can be made one day in advance.
- Cut the romaine lettuce into bite size pieces and wash them. Drain and dry thoroughly so that the dressing won’t be diluted.
- Gently toss the lettuce and dressing, and then top off with the grated or shaved Parmesan cheese and croutons.
- You can store the leftovers in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for a day.