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Holiday Thyme Caesar Salad

Eat healthy during the holidays
Courtesy of Chicago Tribune

During this holiday season, you can still eat healthily and enjoy a thyme caesar salad. 

This recipe is courtesy of  JeanMarie Brownson and was originally published in the Chicago Tribune.

Ready in
50 m
35 m
(prepare time)
15 m
(cook time)
Calories Per Serving


For the salad

  • 2 large heads of red radicchio
  • 4 Cups 1-inch cubes of hearty bread, such as three-cheese semolina or whole-grain artisan bread
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 Cup Caesar dressing, recipe follows
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 Cup large shreds of Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Several thyme sprigs for garnish

For the Caesar dressing with lemongrass and thyme:

  • 1 large lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 2-ounce can of anchovies, drained of oil
  • 1 Teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon refrigerated lemongrass puree
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 Cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon fresh or dried thyme leaves


For the salad

Step 1: Use a paring knife to remove the core from the 2 heads of radicchio. Tear the radicchio leaves into large pieces, and place in a colander. You’ll have about 12 cups. Rinse under cool water, and spin dry in a salad spinner or pat dry with clean toweling. Place the radicchio in a food-safe plastic bag or container lined with paper toweling. Refrigerate covered for 1 hour or up to several days.

Step 2: Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Step 3: Place 4 cups of bread cubes on a large baking sheet. Add olive oil, and toss to coat.

Step 4: Bake, stirring often, until croutons are nicely golden on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes total. Cool completely, and store in a covered container at room temperature for up to several days.

Step 5: Just before serving, have all the salad components ready. Place the radicchio in a large bowl, and drizzle on the salad dressing.

Step 6: Use tongs to toss the radicchio until it is coated with the dressing.

Step 7: Transfer to a large platter or serving bowl.

Step 8: Sprinkle with the thyme leaves, croutons and cheese. Sprinkle with pepper.

Step 9: Garnish with thyme sprigs and serve immediately.

For the Caesar dressing with lemongrass and thyme:

Step 1: Use a Microplane to grate about 1/2 teaspoon of the yellow part of the lemon rind into a small bowl.

Step 2: Squeeze the lemon(s) into a glass measuring cup until you have about 1/4 cup.

Step 3: With the blender running, drop 4 cloves of garlic through the feed tube to chop it.

Step 4: Add the lemon juice, 1 ounce of anchovies, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire and 1 teaspoon lemongrass puree.

Step 5: Blend until smooth.

Step 6: Coddle 2 eggs in the microwave: Break eggs into a small bowl leaving the yolks whole. Microwave on medium power (50 percent) for 30 to 40 seconds; watch closely, or the egg will overcook. The white should be barely opaque, and the yolk still runny.

Step 7: Add the softly cooked eggs to the blender.

Step 8: Turn the blender on, and stream in 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil by slowing pouring it in through the lid with the blender running.

Step 9: Add 1/4 teaspoon salt; blend, then taste and adjust salt again as needed.

Step 10: Transfer to a jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Step 11: Add the grated lemon rind and 1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves.

Step 12: Close the jar and shake well.

Step 13: Store in the refrigerator up to several days. Use at room temperature.