My earliest memories of Caesar Salad involved family nights out at Duke’s, which, during my youth only had a few locations open in Hawaii. During the occasional family night out, my parents would almost always order the Caesar Salad, which came with a thin slice of cheesy garlic bread and a fillet of grilled Mahi.

At home in Kapaa, side salads swam in Caesar dressing as roughly cut tomatoes and herbed croutons floated among greens. When Costco finally opened up on Kaua’i, holiday breaks back home while I was in college included a trip to the food court where I’d chase a $1.50 hot dog and fountain drink with a Caesar Salad. The portion was, as with most of Costco’s merchandise excessive; the salad was big enough to feed me three times over.

While they may not be the healthiest of food memories, Caesar Salad has played a prominent role in my food memories in the islands.

Today, where I now call San Diego home I forego croutons in favor of nutritionally dense toppings like the diced avocado and sliced apple that Candice Kumai’s recipe calls for –with one exception, Rare Form’s Butternut Squash and Kale Salad (unfortunately, no longer on the menu); a go-to lunch spot on the rare occasion I make it Downtown. While the item was still on the menu, they adorned their salad with freshly warm, buttery croutons that killed any desire to top my salads with the store bought stuff moving forward.

As for the Caesar Salad, I prefer to make it at home and enjoy putting different twists on the classic recipe, like this recipe from my friend Jill Haapaniemi, a Melbourne-based food photographer and recipe developer.

In her version, Jill lightens up the dressing with greek yogurt and tops with soft to medium-boiled eggs for satiating protein.



(Photo: Jill Haapaniemi)


1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

2 anchovies

1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano Reggiano

1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 t Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons plain, full-fat greek yogurt

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper, plus more for serving

2 bunches Bibb or romain lettuce, washed, dried and roughly chopped or torn into large piece

4 medium-boiled eggs, peeled and halved


In a food processor, blend vinegar, olive oil, anchovies, Parmigiano Reggiano, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper until smooth.  In a large bowl, toss lettuce with dressing until evenly coated. Top with eggs and season with fresh cracked pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves 4-6


For more from Jill Haapaniemi, check out her website here.

To see more recipes from Jill on The Curious Passport, click here.