Carbs and Calories In Caesar Salad: Is Caesar Dressing Keto Friendly?


If you love Caesar salad, it can be factored into a Ketogenic diet, if you’re careful… 

caesar salad carbs calories

Most of the carbs in Caesar salad come from store-bought dressings which can contain added sugar. So, if you’re following trying to lose weight, go easy on this dressing. There are also quite a few carbs in the croutons so it’s wise to omit these from the salad and use less Parmesan. 

Some people add chicken to their Caesar salad, which is a good way to boost protein, but make sure the chicken isn’t breaded, which also adds extra unwanted carbs.

Restaurant salads can have higher carb counts and the creamy, high-fat dressing can rack up a lot of calories.  For example, a Caesar Salad ordered from the popular fast food restaurant McDonald’s contains 9 grams of carbs plus another 12 grams of carbs if you eat the entire packet of dressing that comes with the salad. 

You might think Caesar salad is a healthier choice over a burger and fries, but when it’s all said and done, that McDonalds Caesar salad with dressing racks up 21 grams of carbs – an entire day’s worth of carbs for those on Keto… You might have been better off just ordering the burger! 

If you insist on ordering the Caesar salad, eat only half the dressing or a third.  Even better, prepare your own fresh Caesar salad at home so that you’re able to control the ingredients that go into it to keep carb counts in check. 

Later in this article, you’ll find a great Keto-friendly Caesar Salad Dressing recipe that will have you losing weight and feeling great!

How Many Carbs are in Caesar Salad?

One bowl of restaurant-style Caesar salad with creamy Caesar dressing can contain approximately 17 grams of net carbs. 

Keep reading to find out how to make your own healthier, low carb version of the Caesar salad…

How Many Calories are in Caesar Salad?

There are 410 calories in a typical bowl of Caesar salad with creamy Caesar dressing. 

The truth is, salad isn’t always the best diet food.  Salads ordered at restaurants can quickly become a calorie bomb. 

For instance, a chicken Caesar salad ordered from the popular restaurant, Chili’s, which consists of dressing, croutons, cheese, and chicken, will rack up 1,010 calories and a whopping 76 grams of fat!  That many calories in one setting along with all that fat can become a setback for those on a calorie-reduction plan or low fat diet.

Reduced calorie or “calorie wise” dressings are lower in calories and less fat, but may contain twice the sugar to make up for the flavor, so check the ingredient labels when making your selection. 

Origin

caesar salad keto

It is believed that Italian-American restaurateur Caesar Cardini invented the Caesar salad in Tijuana, Mexico back in 1924.   During a 4th of July celebration at his restaurant, Cardini threw together a bunch of ingredients he happened to have on hand and served his concoction to guests.  

The improvised dish became quite a hit and further evolved to an elaborated creation of romaine, garlic, croutons, olive oil, parmesan cheese, bacon bits, and black pepper topped with a creamy Caesar dressing made from raw coddled eggs.

Popular Caesar Dressing Brands           

  • Kraft Classic Caesar Dressing
  • Newman’s Own Creamy Caesar Dressing
  • Marie’s Creamy Caesar Dressing
  • Renee’s Caesar Dressing
  • Hidden Valley’s Original Caesar Dressing
  • Marzetti’s All Natural Caesar Dressing

Nutrition Facts

McDonald’s Caesar Salad (without Dressing)

Serving Size 1 salad 7.5 ounces (213 grams)
Calories 94
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4.4 grams 6%
Saturated fat 2.5 grams 12%
Polyunsaturated fat 0.3 grams
Monounsaturated fat 1 grams
Trans fat 0.1 gram
Cholesterol 10.7 milligrams 3%
Sodium 176.8 milligrams 7%
Potassium 460.1 milligrams 13%
Total Carbohydrate 9 grams 3%
Dietary fiber 3.4 grams 13%
Sugar 4.4 grams
Protein 7 grams 14%
Vitamin A 128% Vitamin C 50%
Calcium 18% Iron 7%
Cobalamin 0% Magnesium 4%

Served with Kraft Asiago Caesar Dressing.

Serving size: 1 Packet (3 Tablespoons)
Calories 150
Fat 8 grams
Carbs 12 grams
Protein 6 grams
Sodium 400 milligrams

Health Benefits 

Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants

If you eat greens like Caesar salad regularly, you’ll get a good dose of powerful antioxidants, like vitamin C and E, folic acid, lycopene, alpha-carotene and beta carotene. Antioxidants help protect the body from damage caused by harmful free radicals.

A link exists between regularly consuming raw veggies (and fruits) and lower risks of disease.  The raw veggies in Caesar salad can help protect against cancer.  Individuals whose diets are rich in fruits and veggies have a lower risk of developing certain types of cancer.

High in Fiber

Eating a high-fiber diet that includes leafy green salads can help lower cholesterol levels and keep your digestive tract running efficiently.  High fiber foods, like raw veggies, also help relieve constipation.  In addition, fiber helps you feel more satiated so that you’ll eat less, and in turn lose those stubborn, unwanted pounds.

Fiber in Caesar Salad

A typical Caesar salad contains 3-5 grams of dietary fiber, depending on the size.

Fat in Caesar Salad

A bowl of Caesar salad with Caesar dressing contains 24 grams of fat, 10 of which are saturated fat.

How to Make Caesar Salad Healthier

It can be difficult ordering a healthy Caesar when dining out maybe because of large portion sizes and the fact that diners have little control over the ingredients. 

For reference, Olive Garden’s grilled chicken Caesar salad has more calories and saturated fat than a Big Mac from McDonald’s!

To make a healthier version, start with fresh Romaine lettuce, but avoid the high-calorie add-ons. 

If you make your own Caesar salad with homemade dressing, you can cut the carbs and calories by using lighter ingredients. 

Omit sugar from the dressing and swap out high carb croutons for bacon bits. 

Forgo breaded chicken and add grilled chicken instead to keep it Keto-friendly.

Keto Caesar Salad Dressing Recipe

This recipe makes approximately 1 cup.  Each serving size of 3 tablespoons contains 1 gram of carbs per serving.

chicken caesar salad dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1  teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)

Instructions:

  1. Add the mayo, anchovy paste and Dijon mustard to a large mixing bowl, whisking until combined.
  2. Mince garlic and smash it with a large cutting knife until it becomes garlic paste.  Add in the salt, smoked paprika and garlic paste.
  3. Add the Worcestershire and vinegar while whisking.
  4. Add the lemon juice and zest and combine.
  5. Add Parmesan cheese and blend.
  6. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.  
  7. Serve over Caesar salad consisting of tossed romaine lettuce pieces, fresh grated parmesan, bacon bits and/or grilled chicken slices, and a squirt of lemon.  (Hold the croutons to keep it Keto!)

Is Caesar Salad Good for Weight Loss?

Dieters often opt for Caesar salads whether dining in our out at a restaurant, but Caesar salad is one salad that can rack up a lot of calories. 

The Cheesecake Factory’s chicken Caesar salads is one of the worst culprits out there! At 1,550 calories, 23 grams saturated fat and 1664 mg sodium.  An average female can rack up her entire daily caloric intake by eating just one salad!

One trick of the dieter’s trade is to order salad dressing on the side, then just dip the prongs of your fork into the dressing before you pick up a bit of your salad.  This trick helps you consume less of the high-calorie dressing.

In addition to the dressing, the traditional Caesar salad contains other high calorie toppings, like copious amounts of Parmesan cheese.  Most cheeses are high in fat and should be eaten in moderation.  But most Caesar salads use a lot of Parmesan in both the salad and in the dressing.  

Croutons made from white bread are often cooked with oil or butter, adding unnecessary saturated fat and calories.

While topping a salad with protein can be a good way to turn that starter into a meal, fried and breaded chicken can add additional fat and calories to your Caesar salad. 

Unless you are making your own healthy version of the classic Caesar salad at home, by swapping out high-calorie ingredients for lower calorie ones, Caesar salad is not the best option for dieters.  Those watching their calorie intake should go with a garden salad instead.

Melissa Marshall

A litigation paralegal and writer. Her first novel debuts this fall. She lives with her kitten, Zoey overlooking the waterfront in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - also known as the “City of Lakes”.

Recent Content