Making my own salad dressing is one of the first steps I took toward changing my diet many years ago. Homemade dressings means knowing what you’re eating. This popular ranch dressing contains vegetable oil (either soybean or canola), sugar, soy, xanthan gum, modified food starch, and mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), believe it or not! And even this popular “healthy” vinaigrette contains canola or soybean oil, sugar, and xanthan gum. [Read my thoughts via Chris Kresser on canola, soybean and high-Omega6 oils here.]
Eliminating the number of canned/jarred products in your pantry can be daunting. But dressings are simple and very versatile once you’re familiar with the ratios of acid (vinegar, lemon juice, etc) to fat (healthy oil of your choice). I prefer a ratio of 2:1 acid to fat. But if you like things on the less tangy side (like Mr. Bare Root), shoot for a 3:1 ratio instead. Once you have that base established, get creative by adding your favorite herbs and spices. Start with simple combos to begin, like:
homemade ranch dressing: fresh chives and parsley with dried dill in avocado oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and an egg
homemade Italian dressing: garlic salt and dried herbs de Provence in EVOO and red wine vinegar
Today, along with homemade dressing tips, I’m sharing my secret to creating the best Caesar salad of your life! A simple tip that will transform your salad, so much so that you won’t miss the croutons or carb-laden wrap that might traditionally accompany this recipe. When grilling the chicken, simply throw 1 head of romaine onto the grill as well, cook until it develops nice blackened char marks, chop it up and mix it in with your salad ingredients. The result: a beautiful smoky flavor lingering in the background of each bite, complimented by the sharp taste of homemade Caesar dressing.
This dressing is our go to for salads, canned tuna or salmon mixes and over grilled meats. And not only do you get the benefits of healthy fat from the oil, you’ll also get an Omega3 power punch from wild caught anchovies. Avocado oil is the perfect oil to use in this homemade Caesar, its mild buttery taste balancing out the briny anchovy and bright lemon & mustard. Mix it, wrap it carb-free, and enjoy!
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Grilled Chicken & Romaine Caesar Wraps
Yields: 6-8 wraps
2 heads romaine, divided
Avocado oil, for grilling
Organic garlic salt & black pepper, for seasoning
6 slices sugar-free bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled
4 oz. cherry tomatoes, quartered
4 oz. kalamata olives, halved
2 scallions, diced (both white & green parts)
1/2 c. Caesar Dressing (recipe below)
Yields: about 1 cup dressing
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 very fresh free-range egg
1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
1/2 tsp. raw honey
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2/3 c. avocado oil (or other mild-flavored oil)
Prepare the Caesar dressing by adding the lemon juice, vinegar, anchovies, egg, mustard, honey, garlic, pepper, and salt to a blender. Blend on medium speed to combine, scraping down the sides occasionally. With the blender on low speed, slowly drizzly avocado oil through the top hole (if available) to create an emulsification. Stop blender, scrape down sides again and blend once more on high for 10 seconds max. Reserve ½ cup for the wraps and keep the rest in the refrigerator.
Prepare the wraps. Heat grill to medium-high heat. In separate dishes, coat the chicken breasts and 1 head of romaine with avocado oil, garlic salt, and pepper. Place the chicken and romaine on the hot grill and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side for the chicken. Keep a close eye on the romaine, rotating it every couple minutes, as it can burn easily. Remove from the grill and cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, combine the bacon, tomatoes, olives, scallions, and ½ cup of the Caesar dressing. Once the chicken and romaine has cooled, chop both to ½” pieces and add to the bowl. Prepare the romaine cups by chopping the end (1-2″ of the root side) off of the uncooked head of romaine. Pull apart the leaves, wash and dry them well. Fill the leaves with the chicken mixture and serve promptly.