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My Kinda Salad

My Kinda Salad

This simple romaine salad is a kid-friendly version of the classic Caesar salad, with a light, lemony dressing and crisp homemade croutons.

  • Yield: 4 large salads or 6 to 8 side salads


  • 1 (8-inch) piece of French bread, crust trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon Baby Bam
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Emeril's Italian Essence or other dry Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed and dried, torn into bite-size pieces (about 10 cups)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


  • Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  • To make the croutons, put the bread cubes in a medium mixing bowl and season with the Baby Bam.
  • Combine 1/3 cup of the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of the garlic in a blender and process on high speed for 30 seconds.
  • Add the olive oil mixture to the bread cubes and toss with a spatula to coat evenly.
  • Spread the bread cubes evenly on the lined baking sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  • Using oven mitts or pot holders, remove the baking sheet from the oven and set aside to cool.
  • To make the dressing, combine the white wine vinegar, mustard, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, sugar, Italian Essence, salt, pepper, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of garlic in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to blend. Gradually add the remaining 2/3 cup of olive oil in a thin stream, whisking constantly until well blended and smooth.
  • To assemble the salad, put the lettuce in a large salad bowl and add the dressing and the Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat evenly. Divide the salad mixture evenly among 4 salad plates (or more if making smaller servings) and top with equal amounts of the croutons.

Recipe Details