Bitter Green Caesar Salad

with endive, radicchio and roasted olive croutons

Caesar salad is the iconic salad, and for good reason—it’s delicious. When done right, it’s perfection: fishy, cheesy, crispy, and crunchy. It’s a regular occurrence around here, but it gets a bit of a twist depending on what we have on hand and what’s in season. I’ve made it with roasted artichokes, a pretty pink version with crabmeat (one of my all-time faves), and a classic grilled romaine version. It’s currently bitter green season, so a bitter green Caesar salad it is, with lots of deep red radicchio and crunchy Belgian endive.

The other major part of this salad I will insist on is the roasted olive croutons. Homemade croutons themselves are incredibly delicious, but the addition of those salty, roasted, super-savory Castelvetrano olives takes it to a new level. Honestly, a bowl of roasted olive croutons would be a great snack on its own. Just saying. Ok, now onto the recipe below…

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Caesar Salad with Endive and Radicchio Caesar Dressing Ingredients
Caesar salad is the iconic salad, and for good reason—it’s delicious. When done right, it’s perfection: fishy, cheesy, crispy, and crunchy.
Caesar Salad Dressing Ingredients
Caesar Salad with Endive and Radicchio
Where does Caesar salad come from? Why is it called Caesar salad?

Caesar Cardini, an Italian-American restaurateur invented the dish in Tijuana, Mexico, in the 1920s. The story is that Cardini concocted the salad on a busy Fourth of July weekend with whatever ingredients he had on hand. The salad’s popularity grew, and it became known as Caesar salad, paying homage to its innovative creator. A genius, clearly.

What is a classic Caesar salad made of?

A traditional Caesar salad typically consists of romaine lettuce, garlic-infused croutons, Parmesan cheese, lemon juice, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, salt, and black pepper. You can serve it with grilled chicken or shrimp as a protein option, and some variations may include additional ingredients like anchovies or bacon. The dressing is a key component, known for its creamy texture and tangy flavor, which coats the crisp lettuce leaves and croutons.

Can I make a Caesar salad without anchovies?

Yes. For sure! You can use Worcestershire sauce, or if you don’t want fish in it at all, for whatever reason, just omit it all together. It will still be delicious.

I want to make it a meal. What can I top my salad with?

Some classic caesar salad additions are shrimp, salmon, chicken and boiled eggs. But, if you ask me, lump crabmeat is the best. The sweet crabmeat and tangy dressing go so well together. I’ve also topped it with a can of oil packed white tuna, which I know is pretty specific, but I highly recommend it.

Can caesar salad dressing be made in advance?

Yes! I do it all the time. I will make a big batch of Caesar dressing, and then use it for lunches and leftovers throughout the week. Same amount of effort and a weeks worth of reward. Keep it stored it in a tightly sealed contain in the refrigerator.

What are bitter greens?

Bitter greens, such as radicchio, endive, and kale, are typically in season during the cooler months of the year. Depending on the specific type of bitter green and the region, their peak season can vary, but generally, it spans from late fall to early spring. These vegetables thrive in cooler temperatures and may even develop a sweeter flavor after experiencing frost. Stores carry bitter greens year-round, though they are at their freshest and most flavorful during the cooler months.

The Video
@mosthungry It’s the olives. #caesarsalad #recipe #saladtiktok ♬ original sound – Rachel Lerro

Some Ingredients you’ll need to make a Bitter Green Caesar Salad:

Radiccio is a leafy vegetable prized for its vibrant colors, bitter flavor, and crisp texture. It’s part of the chicory family and has those distinctive deep red or purple leaves with white veins. I love it raw in this salad but it is delicious grilled, roasted, or sautéed. A little cooking tends to mellow its flavor and bring out some natural sweetness. 

One of my favorite recipes is a grilled radicchio salad with plums, parmesan, balsamic and wild rice. You can check out here.

Belgian Endive

Belgian endive, also known as witloof, has an elongated shape and tightly packed, pale, almost neon, yellow leaves. It is a member of the chicory family and is often grown in dark conditions to encourage the growth of its tender, pale leaves.

Castevetrano Olives

Castelvetrano olives, known for their mild, buttery flavor and vibrant green color, are a type of green olive. Originating from the town of Castelvetrano in Sicily, Italy, these olives are typically harvested young, which contributes to their unique taste and texture. They have a meaty texture and are prized for their sweetness, setting them apart from more briny and bitter olive varieties.


This recipe uses small, salt-cured anchovies packed in oil or salt. If you’re using the salt cured ones, you may need to quickly rise them in water to remove some of the salt or the dressing may be overly salty. If you’re using anchovies packed in oil, no need for any prep. Just open the can, and add a few in.


This recipe calls for both whole grain and dijon mustard. You can certainly just use on of the other if you don’t have both.

Whole grain mustard is made from coarsely ground mustard seeds. They give the mustard a textured appearance and a slightly crunchy consistency. Whole grain mustard has a milder flavor compared to traditional mustard and is often used as a condiment or as an ingredient in dressings and marinades.

Dijon mustard is a smooth and creamy mustard that originated in the city of Dijon, France. It is made from brown or black mustard seeds, white wine or wine vinegar, water, salt, and sometimes other flavorings or spices. Dijon mustard has a tangy and sharp flavor, with a smooth texture. It’s also a great emulsifier for salad dressings.

Parmesan Cheese

Parmesan cheese, also known as Parmigiano-Reggiano when produced in specific regions of Italy, is a hard cheese with a nutty flavor. It’s made from cow’s milk and aged for a minimum of 12 months. You can find varieties that are aged for much longer, resulting in a more complex and intense flavor. It’ll add a nutty note to the dressing, along with that delicious cheesy flavor I’m sure you know and love.



Caesar Salad with Endive and Radicchio
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Bitter Green Caesar Salad

Caesar salad with radicchio, Belgian endive and roasted olive croutons.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Salad
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: caesar salad, salad, salad dressing
Servings: 2
Author: Rachel Lerro


The Salad Greens

  • 1 head Radicchio
  • 1 head Belgian Endive

The Dressing

  • 1/2 C olive oil extra virgin
  • 1 1/2 lemons juiced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 3 anchovies
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • pepper

The Croutons

  • 3-4 slices sourdough bread
  • 1/2 C Castelvetrano olives pitted and torn in half


  • Slice radicchio and endive.
  • For the dressing: Blend olive oil, garlic, mustard, garlic and anchovies until smooth. Stir in parm. Check seasoning and adjust if needed.
  • For the croutons: Cube bread. Tear olives in half. Coat with olive oil. Roast at 350F for ~20 minutes.
  • Toss a few spoonfuls of your dressing with the greens and a large handful of croutons. Top with more of those olive croutons and extra grated Parmesan if you want. Then dig in!
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