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House Salad vs Caesar Salad: A Comparison of Their Ingredients and Nutritional Benefits

House Salad vs Caesar Salad

House Salad vs Caesar Salad: A Comparison of Their Ingredients and Nutritional Benefits

When you're eating at a sit-down restaurant, the server might ask if you'd like a side salad with your meal. Chances are, you'll be asked to choose between a house salad vs Caesar salad. If there's no description on the menu, you wonder what's the difference between a house salad and a Caesar salad?

The main difference between a house salad vs Caesar salad is their dressings and the type of vegetables included. While a house salad typically comes with more vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes, a Caesar salad comes with chopped romaine and Caesar dressing.

If you’re wondering which type of salad would go best with your dinner, keep reading to find out more about the difference between house and Caesar salads.

House salad with fresh vegetables picled pepper and feta cheese
The house salad is typically the name for the go-to salad on a menu, and it usually includes a wide range of vegetables.

©Elena Veselova/Shutterstock.com

House Salad vs Caesar Salad: What Is the Difference?

House salad and Caesar salad are two of the most popular salads on restaurant menus. Even though they do have some ingredients in common, house salads and Caesar salads often have much different flavors. The biggest difference between a house salad and a Caesar salad is the dressing.

While there isn’t a specific dressing that comes with a house salad, it’s usually served with a lighter dressing such as a vinaigrette. Since the ingredients of the house salad are pretty simple, it goes well with a variety of dressings. A Caesar salad, on the other hand, specifically comes with Caesar dressing, which is a creamy dressing usually made with egg yolks, oil, and anchovy paste.

A house salad also has more vegetables than a Caesar salad. The traditional house salad usually includes a variety of garden vegetables such as cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots. The only vegetable in a Caesar is usually the romaine. 

What Is a House Salad?

A house salad is one of the most popular salads served in a restaurant. It’s often called a house salad because it’s the standard or go-to salad on a menu.

Even though the ingredients are relatively simple, you can normally choose what type of dressing you want to fit your preferences. When you’re making a house salad at home, you can also dress it up with some extra ingredients if you choose.

Generally, house salads are pretty simple. The standard house salad includes:

  • Lettuce
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Grated carrots
  • Red onions
  • Cheese
  • Croutons
  • Dressing

If you order a side salad from a restaurant that doesn’t specify what type of salad it is, it will usually be a house salad made with these ingredients. Some house salads may also include hard-boiled eggs. 

A house salad doesn’t come with a signature dressing as the Caesar salad does. In fact, if you order a house salad, you’ll usually be offered several options for your dressing, with some of the most popular choices being ranch, balsamic vinaigrette, Italian, and thousand islands dressing.

Classic Fresh Caesar Salad Cool crunchy cos lettuce, bacon, garlic croutons, chilled free range hard boiled egg, house-made Caesar dressing, parmesan cheese
The Caesar salad is one of the most popular types of salads on restaurant menus.

©Santi Santo/Shutterstock.com

What Is a Caesar Salad?

A Caesar salad may be considered a bit fancier than your standard house salad. Although it doesn’t have as many vegetables, it comes with its own signature dressing and grated parmesan cheese.

Some restaurants may choose to mix up their Caesar salads recipes, but the typical Caesar salad includes:

  • Romaine lettuce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Caesar dressing
  • Croutons

While a house salad may include iceberg or Romaine lettuce, Romaine is an essential part of the traditional Caesar salad. Some restaurants may add additional ingredients to their Caesar salad, such as crumbled bacon bits.

One of the most common variations is the Chicken Caesar salad, which includes sliced, grilled chicken breast along with the other ingredients.

What Is Caesar Dressing?

There’s the classic crunch of the Romaine lettuce and the salty taste of parmesan cheese. These two ingredients are part of the overall Caesar salad experience, but it wouldn’t be considered a Caesar salad at all without the Caesar dressing.

Caesar dressing is a creamy and salty dressing made with several different ingredients. The ingredients for Caesar dressing include:

  • Raw egg yolks
  • Mustard
  • Garlic
  • Anchovies
  • Lemon juice
  • Oil
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
  • Parmesan

There are many variations of the Caesar dressing recipe, but the anchovies are part of what gives Caesar dressing the signature, salty flavor. The dressing is typically made with anchovy filets of anchovy paste. If you’re making the dressing at home, some recipes will swap out the oil and egg yolks for mayo, since it’s made from the same ingredients.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Caesar Salad?

If you didn’t know what was in Caesar dressing, there may be a couple of ingredients that make you a bit uneasy, such as the anchovies and raw egg yolks. Many people wonder if it’s safe for pregnant women to eat Caesar dressing due to these ingredients.

In most cases, the eggs used in Caesar dressing are pasteurized, which means the risk of bacteria is low. However, as with any product that contains raw eggs, there is a risk of salmonella. It’s best to avoid products like these during pregnancy since a salmonella infection can put your baby at risk.

History of the Caesar Salad

The Caesar salad remains one of the most popular types of salads in North America. But where did this delicious salad come from? Caesar Cardini, an Italian chef, is credited with the creation of this salad along with its signature dressing.

The Caesar salad was first served at Cardini’s restaurant in Tijuana called Caesar’s. After moving to Los Angeles in the 1930s, Cardini began to market his signature Caesar dressing which he later trademarked. The Caesar salad became popular shortly after its creation and has remained one of the most well-known salads to this day.

Nutritional Values of House Salad vs Caesar Salad

House Salad vs Caesar Salad Nutritional Facts


Is a House Salad Healthier Than a Caesar Salad?

Considering many people eat salads for their nutritional benefits, it’s important to consider which is healthier: a house salad or a Caesar salad. Nutritionally, it’s hard to say exactly since the main factor that will influence the sugar, calories, and nutrition of the house salad is the dressing.

We typically think of salads as a healthy alternative to say a burger and fries, but considering the nutritional value of some of the most popular salad dressings, you may want to pay attention to what dressing you choose if you’re on a restricted diet.

When a house salad is served with a vinaigrette or other light dressing, there are going to be much fewer calories compared to the Caesar salad. Keep in mind a Caesar salad may sometimes include extra ingredients such as bacon bits, which can add to the overall fat and calories. 

The house salad does include more vegetables, and you can choose to stick with a lighter, oil-based dressing to lower the overall calories. Overall, both Caesar and house salad can be nutritious options for either a whole meal or a side item. However, a house salad will normally be a lighter choice due to the creamy and rich dressing that comes with a Caesar salad.

House Salad vs Caesar Salad: Which One is Better?

Infographic comparing house and Caesar salad.
House salad is highly customizable.
  • Since house salad usually has fewer calories than Caesar salad, it's a great choice for those on a diet.
  • House salad usually contains a variety of vegetables, while Caesar salad just has lettuce.
  • Caesar salad needs to use Romaine lettuce, while a house salad can use Romaine or iceberg.

Like most foods, whether you prefer a house salad or Caesar salad is going to depend on your preferences. Many people are a fan of Caesar salad, but the inclusion of anchovy paste in the dressing gives it a distinct flavor that some aren’t a fan of.

The good thing about the house salad is you can usually choose your dressing, which makes it the go-to salad for many restaurant goers. However, the Caesar salad is also a delicious choice and with the addition of grilled chicken, it’s filling enough to be a whole meal.

Both house salads and Caesar salads can make a great addition to any lunch or dinner. Consider their differences next time a server asks you which type of salad you want on the side.

Caesar Salad Recipes

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Classic Fresh Caesar Salad Cool crunchy cos lettuce, bacon, garlic croutons, chilled free range hard boiled egg, house-made Caesar dressing, parmesan cheese

Chicken Caesar Salad

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  • Author: Moms Who Think


  • 4 (1 oz.) slices of French bread
  • vegetable cooking spray
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 9 cups Romaine lettuce
  • 1/4 cup Grated Parmesan cheese


1. Trim bread crusts and discard. Cut bread into 1-inch cubes.

2. Place cubes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Coat cubes with cooking spray; sprinkle with garlic powder; toss well.

3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and set aside.

4. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; place over med-high heat until hot. Add chicken halves; sauté 6 minutes on each side or until well done.

5. Remove chicken from skillet; let cool. Cut chicken across the grain into thin slices; set aside.

6. Combine lemon juice and the next 5 ingredients in a container of an electric blender. Cover and process until smooth.

7. Add 1/4 cup of the lemon juice mixture to the chicken; toss gently to coat.

8. In a large salad bowl, place the lettuce. Drizzle the remaining lemon juice mixture over the lettuce and toss well.

9. Add the chicken mixture and cheese, and toss gently to coat. Serve with croutons.

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