Best Caesar Salad Recipe | Healthy & Low Sodium
Many of us are becoming aware the word “salad” does not always mean healthy.

As nutrition information is becoming more transparent – most notably in cities requiring caloric content displayed in large restaurant chain menus – it is apparent that many of the “healthy” options are not what they seem.

The grilled chicken Caesar salad is delicious wrapped, or as an entrée, but it has an Achilles heel: the dressing. Although you may be able to create something relatively healthy in your kitchen, most restaurant salads will land you in the 700-800 calorie range, the majority stemming from fat and sodium levels that often make a greasy burger a better option.

Making a healthy recipe is easy with a few simple substitutions. The main characteristic of a Caesar salad is the texture of the dressing and the salty kick from the Parmesan cheese.

By substituting mayonnaise, half & half, olive oil and other superfluous ingredients with fat free Greek/Icelandic yogurt and a few seasonings, you can turn this into a lower calorie dish with minimal effort and minimal sacrifice in taste.

Caesar Salad Recipe Nutrition Comparison:

Nutrition Average Caesar Salad* BuiltLean® Caesar Salad
Calories 720 310
Fat 51g 8g
(Saturated) 13g 2g
Sodium 1770mg 320mg
Carbohydrates 18g 20g
Fiber 3g 10g
Sugar 4g 3g
Protein 47g 51g

* Nutrition data for the healthy recipe includes all options (sprouts, kale & croutons), which if left out this dish comes in at 200 calories and roughly ¼ of the carbohydrates listed. The Average Caesar salad is an average of Boston Market, Olive Garden, Arbys.

Caesar Salad Recipe Ingredients:

  • Skinless chicken breast
  • White wine vinegar
  • Garlic powder
  • Lime
  • Black pepper
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Brussel sprouts & kale (optional)
  • Greek/Icelandic yogurt
  • Italian seasoning
  • Parmesan seasoning
  • “Light/Carb Style” whole grain bread

Caesar Salad Recipe Cooking Instructions:


Best Caesar Salad RecipeMarinate chicken breasts in white wine vinegar with a HEALTHY shot of garlic powder, Italian seasoning and a dash of lime & black pepper. Grill if you have access to a BBQ for 8-10 minutes, or cook in the oven for 15 minutes in the oven at ¾ heat setting. Be sure to use to top grate with a sheet of tin foil on the level below to catch the drippings. Then let the chicken sit and self cook for 5-10 minutes off the heat – it will retain the moisture that would otherwise wind up on the cutting board when you cut it.


The dish tastes great with diced romaine lettuce on its own but if you choose to add additional layers of flavor and nutrition, brussel sprouts and kale are a great addition. For the sprouts, halve and steam them, once tender, toss them in a dash of olive oil & Italian seasoning along with the raw kale (stems removed) and brown on the grill or broiler on high heat.


This part is simple, put the sliced chicken and the vegetables into a large sealable container, add a ¼ cup of yogurt, parmesan seasoning, black pepper, Italian seasoning, a squirt of lime and shake thoroughly. Shaking the ingredients together will give you the same flavor for a fraction of the dressing used when pouring it over the top of your salad.


If you feel your salad is not complete without a toasted carbohydrate, pick up a loaf of “light or carb style” bread (Pepperidge farms) and toast on low heat until it gets dry and brittle. Choose the “carb style” if available, it’s loaded with fiber and protein at 60 calories/slice and extremely low glycemic, once dressed you cannot tell the difference.

If you try out this recipe, let me know what you think!



  1. profile avatar
    Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 16, 2012 - 10:27 #

    Thanks for sharing Max! Some great tips to significantly reduce calorie and sodium levels without sacrificing the taste.

  2. profile avatar
    Morgan McLellan Apr 16, 2012 - 12:37 #

    Hey Max, just cranked this out for lunch. Phenomenal. Another delicious recipe.

  3. profile avatar
    Nena Apr 17, 2012 - 04:22 #

    Yum! So easy, and sooo delicious!

  4. profile avatar
    Justin Janoska Apr 19, 2012 - 20:19 #

    Looks good, but a maybe bit excessive with the protein for one meal?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 23, 2012 - 10:05 #

      @Justin Janoska – I don’t think this meal has too much protein at all. In fact, contrary to what used to be believed about protein, your body doesn’t excrete it right away, protein can be released for long periods of time. In addition, from an evolutionary perspective, many people and cultures would go for a couple days without eating, then would have huge meals. Humans have adapted to consuming large amount of protein without any damage to kidneys etc. The only research that exists on protein causing kidney damage is from people who already have kidney damage. If you are able to find other research that proves otherwise, please let me know.

  5. profile avatar
    Sharon Apr 20, 2012 - 17:25 #

    thanks for sharing…can’t wait to try it!

  6. profile avatar
    bill reeher Apr 20, 2012 - 17:37 #

    what in the world is “Parmesan seasoning”

  7. profile avatar
    Priscilla L. Martin Apr 21, 2012 - 21:15 #

    Hello Marc Perry. I am so glad that you posted your caesar salad recipe.

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 23, 2012 - 10:23 #

      hanks, Priscilla. It’s actually my friend Max’s recipe who wrote the article, but thanks!

  8. profile avatar
    Carlos Apr 24, 2012 - 12:29 #

    When do I should eat this salad ? for lunch or for dinner?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 26, 2012 - 13:10 #

      Hi Carlos, I don’t see why you can’t eat this meal for lunch, or dinner. It’s up to you.

  9. profile avatar
    Priscilla L. Martin Apr 25, 2012 - 12:39 #

    Hello Marc. Working out can cause us to see bones under our skin. How healthy is that?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Apr 29, 2012 - 12:26 #

      I’m assuming you mean you are getting leaner and losing fat, so your ribs may show for example. “Health” is a general term that means you are free from pain, or disease and you don’t have any markers that would lead to any issues. To assess your health, I would consult with your doctor and get some blood work done. In terms of body fat, Anything under 15% is likely too lean for a women, with around 18-24% being a healthy average.

  10. profile avatar
    Priscilla L. Martin May 01, 2012 - 16:42 #

    Hello Marc. I think that is great advice and a great definition of health as well.

  11. profile avatar
    Gen May 24, 2012 - 20:35 #

    How many calories are in the dressing?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT May 29, 2012 - 18:33 #

      @Gen – Not much, around 60-80 calories. I just backed out the protein from the meat which is 50 grams or 200 calories and what you are left with is the cheese, lettuce, and dressing.

  12. profile avatar
    rose Aug 30, 2012 - 08:21 #

    to cut down the calories and sodium (which is still a tad high for one meal) can consider dropping the seasoning altogether and opt for olive oil / avocado oil. if you are looking for the creamy texture – look for a 0% greek yoghurt as a base and add herbs and spice as you wish and omit mayo and what not that you would find in typical salads. then voooolaaa more guilt free!

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