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Recipe: Shaved Caesar Salad with Fennel and Crispy Chickpeas

Kat Ashmore enjoys one of her “Hungry Lady Salads.” Photo copyright © 2024 by Christine Han photography.

Excerpted from BIG BITES: Wholesome, Comforting Recipes That Are Big on Flavor, Nourishment, and Fun by Kat Ashmore. Copyright © 2024 by Kat Ashmore. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.


Caesar salad is one of my absolute favorite salads. Nothing beats that dressing—it’s as perfect as can be. Some, though, balk at the raw egg, which we are replacing with mayonnaise here. This salad is absolutely crave-­ worthy, with an abundance of greens to welcome that glorious dressing, as well as crispy chickpeas and salty cheese to top it off. Don’t skimp on the black pepper—­ it should be loud.

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1 (15-­ ounce) can chickpeas, drained

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt


3 oil-­ packed anchovy fillets, or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste

1 large garlic clove, smashed

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

¼ cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons lemon juice (1 lemon)

¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup neutral oil

3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese


1 large head romaine, thinly sliced into ribbons

1 large fennel bulb, sliced thin, fronds reserved for serving

1 small red onion, sliced thin

¼ cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1 Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2 TO MAKE THE CRISPY CHICKPEAS: Pat the drained chickpeas very dry with paper towels to ensure they crisp up in the oven. Mix the chickpeas, olive oil, and salt on a large baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes until crispy, shaking the pan halfway through. Set aside.

3 TO MAKE THE CAESAR DRESSING: While the chickpeas are baking, in a small blender or food processor, combine the anchovies, garlic, salt, pepper, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, neutral oil, and Parmesan. Process for 10 seconds, or until smooth.

4 TO MAKE THE SALAD: In a large serving bowl, combine the romaine, sliced fennel bulb, and red onion. Drizzle with the salad dressing and toss to combine.

5 Top with the crispy chickpeas, fennel fronds, Parmesan, and a few cracks of pepper, and serve.

This recipe was discussed on an edition of Central Time‘s Food Friday. Listen to the episode here.

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