Everything you love about a classic Caesar salad with a few delicious extras!
I love fewer foods in life more than a really good classic Caesar salad. But while we were living in Barcelona, I fell head over heels for a leveled-up Caesar salad at one of our favorite pizzerias that I have been missing like crazy ever since we moved.
It featured all of the classics — crisp Romaine, crunchy croutons, and a boldly-flavored Caesar dressing. But to that, they also added in a generous sprinkling of crispy smoky bacon, a hint of rosemary, tons of shaved Parmesan, fresh chives (or paper-thin red onions), and these thin and garlicky baguette croutons that were downright irresistible (and easy to crunch!). I also got in the habit of adding in a few extra slices of avocado whenever we ordered this salad for delivery, and was convinced that extra layer of creaminess took this salad over the top. So if you also happen to love a good Caesar, I’m telling you — this ingredient combo is perfection!
Of course, now that we’re living an ocean away and I sadly can no longer just pop over to order this salad whenever the craving hits, I’ve been working on recreating it here in my Kansas City kitchen. It will never be exactly the same, but I’ve landed on a version that’s pretty darn close and brings back so many delicious memories of our time there. I think you’re going to love it too. ♡
Bacon Avocado Caesar Salad Ingredients
Here are a few brief notes about the ingredients you will need to make this bacon avocado Caesar salad recipes:
Romaine: I always opt for classic Romaine lettuce when making Caesar salads, whose crisp texture, sturdy leaves and mild flavor create the perfect canvas for the rich dressing and toppings to shine.
Caesar dressing: This is my all-time favorite recipe for homemade Caesar salad dressing. It’s easy to make, boldly flavored, and downright irresistible on this salad! I love adding in an extra 3/4 teaspoon of ground rosemary (or 1 scant tablespoon finely-chopped fresh rosemary) to the dressing when making this salad — similar to the version I had in Barcelona — but you’re welcome to leave out the extra rosemary if you prefer.
Bacon: The smoky, salty flavor and crisp texture of crumbled bacon pairs brilliantly with Caesar salads, in my opinion. I love using a thick-cut, peppery bacon for this salad, but any type of bacon that you prefer will be delicious.
Avocado: Ripe avocado adds one more layer of rich creaminess to this salad, complementing the tanginess in the Caesar dressing and the smoky flavor of the bacon. Feel free to slice or dice the avocado, whichever you prefer.
Parmesan: Caesar dressing is made with a moderate amount of Parmesan cheese, but I highly recommend adding extra shaved or grated Parmesan on top of the salad to finish. Its salty, nutty, umami flavor always makes everything better!
Chives: Fresh chives add a mild pop of oniony flavor to the salad and always look so lovely as a garnish.
Baguette croutons: Finally, the croutons! I’m generally all for store-bought shortcuts, but in this case, I would argue it’s worth the extra effort to toast up a quick batch homemade. All you need is a baguette, olive oil, garlic salt, black pepper, and about 5 extra minutes of prep time to make a batch. So delicious!
Caesar Salad Tips
Full instructions for how to make this Caesar salad are included in the recipe below, but here are a few extra tips to keep in mind:
Ensure that your greens are crispy. Caesar salad is definitely best with fresh, crisp lettuce. So if your Romaine is looking a bit wilted, separate the leaves and soak them in ice water for 10 minutes, thoroughly dry them with a clean kitchen towel, chop and serve.
Use stale bread for the croutons. This will give them an even better crispy texture and help them to brown up evenly.
Serve immediately. In order to avoid soggy croutons or greens, it’s always best to serve Caesar salad immediately after adding the dressing. All the better with still-warm bacon bits too!
Here are a few additional variations that you’re welcome to try with this Caesar salad recipe:
Add another protein: Serve this salad with cooked salmon, chicken, steak, shrimp, or any other protein that you might prefer.
Use garlicky breadcrumbs: If you don’t have a baguette on hand to make homemade croutons, mince and sauté 1 large clove of garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter over medium-heat. Then add 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden. Sprinkle those over the salad and enjoy.
Make it gluten-free: Use gluten-free bread to make the croutons to make this a gluten-free Caesar salad.
Avoid raw eggs: Raw egg yolks are traditionally used in Caesar dressing. But they carry a risk of salmonella, so if you prefer not to use them, you can either use pasteurized egg yolks instead. Or you can substitute 1 tablespoon of mayo per egg yolk, which will result in a creamier dressing.
More Green Salad Recipes
Looking for more simple green salad recipes to try? Here are a few of our favorites!
Toast the croutons.Heat oven to 375°F. Arrange the baguette slices on an even layer on a small baking sheet or wire rack. Mist evenly with olive oil, then sprinkle evenly with the garlic salt and plenty of black pepper. Bake for 10 minutes or until crisp and lightly golden. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack until the croutons are cool enough to handle, then break into smaller pieces.
Toss.Combine the lettuce, croutons and dressing in a large mixing bowl and toss until evenly coated. Add in the crumbled bacon, avocado, Parmesan, chives, and briefly toss to combine.
Serve.Serve immediately, garnished with some extra black pepper, and enjoy!
Adding rosemary to the dressing: As mentioned above, I love adding in 3/4 teaspoon of rosemary powder (or 1 scant tablespoon finely-chopped fresh rosemary) to this dressing. But feel free to leave out the extra rosemary if you prefer.