Grilled Romaine Salad with IPA Caesar Dressing

Grilled Romaine Salad with IPA Caesar Dressing

In the world of salad dressing, there isn’t a more fiercely debated member than Caesar. Some swear that the only way to make it is by hand, table side, others claim blasphemy if not strictly adhering to the original recipe, invited in the 1920’s in Tijuana Mexico by Caesar Cardini, while some insist that it’s not Caesar dressing without anchovies. All of these camps, win or lose, are still people who get riled up over a sauce that goes over lettuce, therefore I can’t fully respect any of them. It’s a condiment, lighten up.

Grilled Romaine Salad with IPA Caesar Dressing

My version, by sheer inclusion of the beer, can never really be held up as a true Caesar dressing. And while anchovies aren’t in the original version, the anchovy heavy Worcestershire sauce that was use is no longer available, making them essential to grab that true taste.

The inspiration for this dish came from a guy who used to frequent the restaurant I work at in college. He would order a Caesar salad, no grilled chicken thank-you-very-much, a shot of IPA, and a chocolate milk shake made with equal parts stout and milk. He would then pour about a tablespoon of the IPA on his salad and drink the rest. At the time I thought it was really strange, but he was a good tipper and I was a good smiler (all you need when you’re 19 and bring guys beer and food) so I encouraged his habits. The more I saw him, watched his obvious excitement when his beer flavored meal arrived, the more I understood how all those flavors worked (although I’m not sure I’d pair a milk shake with a Caesar salad).

It stayed with me, this beer-salad-beer-milk-shake diet he seemed to live on, and now I’m on board. He was on to something.

Grilled Romaine Salad with IPA Caesar Dressing

Grilled Romaine Salad with IPA Caesar Dressing


    For the Salad:
  • 2 Romaine hearts, cut lengthwise
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • ½ cup parmesan
  • Croutons
  • For the Dressing:
  • 6 anchovies filets (packed in oil)
  • 1 clove garlic, smashed
  • 2 egg yolks (room temperature)
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup IPA (room temperature)
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tbs parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
  2. Brush the cut side of the lettuce with olive oil. Place on the grill, cut side down, until grill marks appear, about 3 minutes.
  3. In a blender or food processor add the anchovies, garlic, egg yolks, mustard, and beer. Blend until well combined and light and frothy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking (20 seconds in a microwave is sufficient). While the food processor is running, slowly add the oil, drop by drop, until an emulsion forms. Add the salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese, pulse to combine.
  5. Place each Romaine half on a plate, drizzle with dressing, top with remaining Parmesan and croutons. Serve with knife and fork.

This is how I make homemade croutons. 


29 thoughts on “Grilled Romaine Salad with IPA Caesar Dressing

  1. Sounds like a wonderful update to any already delicious dressing. I actually never knew people were so picky about their Caesar dressings… fun facts!

  2. We just started grilling our Romain lettuce this year for the first time. I’ve used a tahini dressing, however, this looks amazing. I am a fan of IPA and cesar salad so this is a match made in heave! Can’t wait to try this dressing!

  3. This is perfect for a healthy meal. Since it is inspired by Caesar salad, I have no doubts of its taste and I also love salads. I tried something like this before already but instead of croutons, I put chicken bits. For me, I don’t actually mind what I drink with it. They seem to blend perfectly.

  4. I’m so curious about the heating of the olive oil… is it to cook the egg? the beer? to make the dressing warm? to help the emulsification?

    1. Both. It helps to cook out any bacteria (although slightly, there is still a risk) and warm ingredients make better emulsions. It’s harder to get them to emulsify with cold ingredients.

    1. India Pale Ale. It’s a beer with a lot of hops. You can also use a pale ale. Sierra Nevada is easy to find and works well

  5. Why doesn’t anyone make this first and then comment. People only look at the reviews to get an idea whether they want to make this meal. No offense, however I really don’t care for comments like “this looks good” and” can’t wait to make this.”

  6. Since you blend the dressing warm, do you serve it that way or chill it 1st? Never had warm Caesar before…

    1. You don’t need to chill it first. You can make it ahead and store it in the fridge if that’s easier for serving.

        1. it’s not intended to be served chilled but you can chill it if you want. It’s meant to be served right after making.

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