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Photo by Joseph De Leo, Food Styling by Susan Kim
  • Active Time

    20 minutes

  • Total Time

    30 minutes

On hot summer days a big Caesar salad is the meal for me. While I’ll never turn down the classic version, there are plenty of vegetables besides lettuce that take well to the Caesar treatment. I personally like raw zucchini. Crisp in texture and mellow in flavor like romaine, summer squash is infinitely easier to wash and dry than sandy creviced leaves. Just give them a quick rinse, peel into thin ribbons, and salt. Because salad alone is not a meal, canned white beans join the party—I like fat cannellini or butter beans, but anything from navy beans to chickpeas will do. And don’t forget the quickest croutons around: torn crusty bread tossed in a little hot oil in a pan until golden brown and crisp. (But if you absolutely can’t bear to turn on the stovetop, just use store-bought croutons.)

Like any classic Caesar, this dressing starts with a mayonnaise-ish base, which means egg yolks. The yolks impart a rich flavor and velvety texture to the dressing, but more importantly they work with the garlic and mustard as an emulsifier, helping to bind together the oil and lemon juice. If you’re not into raw yolks, you can coddle them by boiling the eggs in a small pot of water for exactly one minute, then shocking them in ice water before separating the still-soft yolk from the semi-set white.

Got more summer squash than you can handle? For morezucchini recipesandsummer squash recipes, click the links.


4 servings

½ small loaf crusty bread (such as country-style, ciabatta, or baguette)
⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided; plus more for serving (optional)
½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
2 large egg yolks*
2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, plus more for serving
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
3 oil-packed anchovy fillets
1½ oz. Parmesan, finely grated, plus more for serving
1½ lb. zucchini (about 6 medium), shaved into ribbons lengthwise with a vegetable peeler
1 15.5-oz. can white beans (such as cannellini, butter, or navy), rinsed, patted dry
Lemon wedges (for serving)

Step 1

Tear ½ small loaf crusty bread (such as country-style, ciabatta, or baguette) into 1" pieces (you should have about 4 cups). Heat ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add bread and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and crisp on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Step 2

Whisk together 2 large egg yolks*, 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated, 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, and 3 tsp. Dijon mustard in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, starting drop by drop and increasing to a steady stream. (To keep the bowl from sliding as you whisk, set inside a snugly fitting saucepan or wrap a damp kitchen towel around base of bowl to stabilize.) Whisk until mixture is emulsified and achieves a consistency between heavy cream and mayonnaise. (Alternatively, you can use a food processor, first pulsing egg yolk mixture together, then running the motor while you gradually stream in oil.)

Step 3

Finely chop 3 oil-packed anchovy fillets, then sprinkle with salt and use the side of your knife to mash into a paste; scrape into egg yolk mixture. Add 1½ oz. Parmesan, finely grated, ½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. kosher salt, and lots of pepper; whisk to combine. Taste dressing and season with more salt and pepper if needed (dressing should be pretty assertive—we’re about to add lots of bread, zucchini, and beans).

Step 4

Place croutons, 1½ lb. zucchini (about 6 medium), shaved into ribbons lengthwise with a vegetable peeler, and one 15.5-oz. can white beans (such as cannellini, butter, or navy), rinsed, patted dry, in a large bowl; drizzle with dressing and toss gently to coat.

Step 5

Divide salad among plates and top with more Parmesan and lemon zest, season with more pepper, and drizzle with more oil if desired. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.

*Raw egg is not recommended for infants, the elderly, pregnant women, people with weakened immune systems…or people who don’t like raw eggs. Just usecoddled egg yolksinstead if needed.

How would you rate Zucchini and White Bean Caesar?

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  • The dressing was divine and the overall dish tasty but sadly not very pleasant to eat. Once tossed the zucchini all clumped together and the beans fell to the bottom of the mixing bowl (maybe why you can’t see any dressing in the photo?) After plating the croutons went soggy quickly and there was also a lot of dressing left over which seemed a bit wasteful. I will make this again but will use lettuce and incorporate 1-2 zucchini into the dish, and bake the bread vs pan fry so it crisps more evenly which should prevent sogginess. If you’re making as is I’d recommend halving the dressing.

    • PawelyD

    • Chicago

    • 9/5/2022

  • Haven’t tried it yet but appears delish, constantly trying to find courgette recipes that actually taste nice!

    • Anonymous

    • France

    • 8/21/2022

  • I wanted this to be our dinner on a very hot and humid evening so I added leftover chicken to the salad. It was utterly delicious. It was light and had a delightful lemony flavor that was just right for the night. The dressing was perfect. Since I had croutons I'd purchased at the store I used them and realized they were not nearly as good as homemade but they were easy and I whipped the whole thing together quickly. I will make this again and again this summer and will serve it for friends who come for a summer dinner.

    • Sallie Smith

    • Allentown, PA

    • 7/27/2022

  • A new record for me for shortest time from "recipe arrives in inbox" to "dinner on the table", just over one hour. Somehow I had everything on hand -- ½ a loaf of bread, beans and anchovies in the pantry, and, most important, some zucchini from the farmer's market. This was very easy to make and really, really good.

    • John C

    • Eugene, OR

    • 7/26/2022

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