Broccoli Caesar Salad

April 20, 2023

This Broccoli Caesar Salad recipe is a filling, vegetarian dinner. Roasted broccoli and crunchy croutons are drizzled with a homemade Caesar dressing, then tossed with lemon zest, cannellini beans, sundried tomatoes, and lots of Parmesan cheese. Delicious!

I’m not a salad-for-dinner person. But when the word “salad” simply denotes a bowl full of flavor that just happens to primarily contain vegetables (and not some sad, leafy punishment), I’m interested. This Broccoli Caesar Salad — made of roasted broccoli and crunchy croutons tossed in a homemade Caesar dressing — isn’t just an acceptable option for dinner, it’s an exceptional one. In fact, my partner and I once ate this for both lunch and dinner in the same day. And we’d do that again.

broccoli caesar salad on a plate with salad tongs

Roasted broccoli and not-too-crunchy croutons soak up lemony Caesar dressing better than romaine ever could: The sturdy, crisp-tender ingredients are a stellar match for anything rich and creamy. A can of beans provides protein and heft, while the highly unconventional addition of sundried tomatoes offers a subtle, sweet-tangy bite that I swear this salad needs (use fresh cherry tomatoes if you’re not a fan of those gloriously chewy morsels). The generous amount of croutons here definitely leans toward panzanella territory, but the broccoli outnumbers the bread 4 to 1 by weight. So according to the produce count, it’s definitely a salad — a satisfying, craveable salad that you actually want to eat (sometimes, twice in one day).

Let’s Make Broccoli Caesar Salad

croutons and roasted broccoli on two sheet pans

Roast broccoli and croutons on separate sheet pans until crispy. The croutons will probably cook faster than the broccoli.

caesar dressing in a bowl with a whisk

Meanwhile, make the Caesar dressing. Add all ingredients except olive oil and Parmesan to a bowl. Gradually stir in the olive oil, making sure that the oil emulsifies into the vinegar as you pour it in. If it ever looks broken (droplets of oil that aren’t mixing in with the vinegar), stop pouring in the oil and whisk vigorously until combined. Then, continue pouring in the oil. Whisk in the Parmesan.

caesar dressing on a spoon over a bowl

The dressing should be slightly thickened and smooth but pourable: the consistency of any bottled vinaigrette.

roasted broccoli, beans, sundried tomatoes, croutons, and lemon zest in a bowl

Toss roasted bread and broccoli in the bowl with the Caesar dressing. Stir in lemon zest, beans, and sundried tomatoes. If you hate beans, try cooked, chopped chicken instead. To substitute the sundried tomatoes, use fresh, sliced cherry tomatoes. Taste the salad and season with additional salt, pepper, or Parmesan if needed.

broccoli caesar salad on two plates with salad tongs

More salad-for-dinner recipes

Broccoli Caesar Salad

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Dinner; Lunch American
By Samantha Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 40 minutes

Made with roasted broccoli, crunchy croutons, and a creamy Caesar dressing, this is a hearty, vegetarian salad you can have for dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium heads broccoli (about 2 lb), chopped into small, bite-sized pieces
  • ½ lb bread, torn or chopped into small, bite-sized pieces (about 4-5 cups)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 oil-packed anchovy filets (optional), finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated or pressed
  • Zest of one lemon plus ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 large egg yolk or 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3 Tbsp grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • 1 15 oz can cannellini beans, drained
  • ½ cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, chopped

Instructions

1

Heat oven to 425°F. On a large rimmed baking sheet (preferably a half sheet pan, though it will fit on the slightly smaller jelly roll pan), add broccoli. Arrange bread on a separate baking sheet. Drizzle broccoli and bread with 3 tablespoons oil each, sprinkle broccoli with 1 teaspoon salt, bread with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and as much pepper as you’d like. Roast until broccoli is tender and bread is crispy, about 15-25 minutes (cook time will vary based on the type of bread—you will probably have to take the bread out before the broccoli is done).

2

To a large bowl (which you’ll add the bread and broccoli to later), whisk together anchovies, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, egg yolk (or mayonnaise) and ¼ teaspoon salt. Gradually add ½ cup olive oil, whisking constantly until emulsified. Stir in grated Parmesan.

3

Toss roasted bread and broccoli in the bowl with the Caesar dressing. Stir in lemon zest, beans, and sundried tomatoes. Taste salad and season with additional salt, pepper, or Parmesan if needed.

Notes

Make Ahead: Dressing can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

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