Loaded Chopped Caesar

You know it’s almost summer: the weather has changed enough that you’re wearing sandals, but you still want to order your lattes hot. It won’t be long until we’re in full-on heat mode, but until then, let your meals take on that summer style. This Loaded Chopped Caesar is easy to make and satisfyingly delicious. Made with fresh hearts of romaine lettuce, corn, cucumbers, green beans, and tomatoes, it’s chopped and topped with crunchy bacon and creamy avocado for a restaurant-worthy dish that you can make at home. 

With all the components chopped small, a chopped salad lets you enjoy all of the flavors at once. You get a crispy, fresh crunch from the green beans, cucumbers and romaine, a punch of acid from the tomatoes, and some sweetness from the corn. Add in crispy bacon and creamy avocado and each bite becomes a diverse blend of flavors and textures. You can mix in other ingredients like olives, hard cooked eggs, or croutons, or top this with grilled chicken, shrimp or steak, if you like. Double the amount of bacon and avocado for more heft, or serve with some crusty French bread. 

Tossing the veggies together with the dressing coats them thoroughly, and seasoning them with salt and freshly ground black pepper ensures that every bite is balanced. You’ll add the greens to the veggies, add more dressing, and mix again. This technique disperses the dressing evenly, letting you use a lot less dressing but still giving you plenty of flavor. 

I bought a huge bag of green beans from Costco and didn’t want to chance that any would go to waste, so I cooked all of it. If you have a spaghetti pot with a strainer insert, it makes this easier. Once your salted water comes to a boil, add your green beans and let them cook until tender-firm. For the green beans I used, this was 5 minutes. Remove the insert and hold it over your sink, running cold water directly over your beans, then transfer them to a bowl of ice water. 

Once they have cooled, drain them, using the strainer insert again. Remove enough of the beans to use for this recipe, then spread the rest onto a large sheet pan lined with a clean dish towel topped with paper towels. Blot them to dry as much as possible, then freeze until firm. Once frozen, you can transfer them to a resealable bag and store in your freezer. 

There are many ways to prep this salad ahead of time. Make the homemade dressing recipe a day or two in advance to give the flavors time to develop. Keep your dressing refrigerated until ready to use. You can also chop the lettuce, blanch the vegetables, and cook the bacon the day before you plan to serve. When you’re ready, you can toss everything together and serve. If you can, prep extra of everything. I had lots of dressing left over and you can make another salad or two if you have extra dressing, too.  

If you’re time crunched, use frozen fire-roasted corn. It will add smoky flavor and speed things along until fresh corn becomes reliable. And skip the immersion blender when you make the dressing. You can mix all of the ingredients in a canning jar. Use the pint size so that you have plenty of room, but swap in garlic powder for the whole cloves, since you won’t be blending. If you don’t have any anchovy paste, or want to make this plant-based, capers or Kalamata olives will deliver the same tangy zest. I used finely minced drained capers and they made the dressing delicious.

You’ll need about 2 lemons for this recipe. I juiced one lemon to get the 1/4 cup of juice for the dressing and used half of the other to squeeze over the finished salad on the serving plates. Salad dressing is a perfect place to use the much maligned green shaker cheese. Professional chefs readily admit they use this ingredient, so why shouldn’t you? I added it to my dressing and saved the showy shaved Parmesan for a nice finish to the top of my salads. 

Summer won’t be long, but why wait?   

Loaded Chopped Caesar


  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons anchovy paste, or 1 Tablespoon minced capers
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more for finishing 
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed, or 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


  • 2 hearts romaine lettuce
  • 2 ears fresh corn, cooked and removed from cob, or 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, cooked and cooled 
  • 4 ounces green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths, cooked tender-firm and cooled
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • flaky sea salt (such as Maldon) or other sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and cut into chunks
  • 6 slices bacon, crisp-cooked and chopped

for dressing:

Combine all dressing ingredients in a wide-mouth jar and blend with an immersion blender until smooth and evenly combined. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed. Set aside. 

for salad:

Cut lettuce into bite-size pieces. In a very large salad bowl, combine corn, beans, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and half of the chives. Add two or three spoonfuls of dressing and toss gently to combine. 

Add lettuce to bowl. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and most of the remaining chives. Add an additional drizzle of dressing. Gather vegetables from bottom of the bowl and lift up over the lettuce. Repeat until ingredients are just mixed, adding additional dressing as needed to coat. Just before serving, add avocado and bacon. Squeeze fresh lemon over each individual serving and top with additional chives. 


Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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