Greco-Roman Caesar Salad

Healthy postin’ time!

Alas, the new year had begun and us two veggies are trying to eat healthy again… not because it’s some New Year’s resolution or anything, but mostly the post-holiday blues have got le boyfriend and I draggin’.

When I was home in New Jersey for Christmas, I took a brief day-long jaunt down to Delaware where I went to college. Le boyfriend and his family live down there, which was the main inspiration for the trip, but I’ll be pretty honest; as much as I love le boyfriend, my main priority was gettin’ some grub at my old college haunt (and arguably favorite restaurant…EVER), Home Grown Cafe.

I’m half proud, half ashamed (for my wallet) to say that in a four year span, I easily visited Home Grown 50 times. Nearly every weekend (and some week nights), my friends and I found ourselves galavanting over to Home Grown for some raspberry long islands and truffle french fries. The atmosphere is awesome and the food is muy deliciouso. If you don’t believe me, here’s a peek of a typical Friday night spread sur la table de Lauren senior year of college:

Needless to say, after four years of weekly trips, I’ve had pretty much everything on their menu, all of which can be served vegetarian with their house-made veggie chicken. I’ve loved everything I’ve had, but by far there has been one major stand out dish: Home Grown’s Greco-Roman Caesar Salad…

Romaine lettuce, garbanzo beans, cherry tomatoes, artichokes, pepperoncini, pita croutons, feta cheese and creamy Greek dressing. Perfection in bowl… and I don’t even really like salads that much.

I crave this salad regularly. I pine for it. I would travel over 200 miles (and have!) in a 24 hour period to obtain it. Which is why I’m going to do the unthinkable and post a recipe for…well, easy-peasy plain ol’ salad. But trust me, it is worth it.

Home Grown Cafe’s Greco-Roman Caesar Salad
(portioned for one) 

  • 2 cups Romaine lettuce, washed and chopped
  • 1/3 cup (or more… I always go with more) garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • A small handful of cherry tomatoes, whole or cut in half, if you like
  • 1/4 cup of artichoke hearts
  • 1/4 cup of pepperoncini or banana peppers
  • 1/4 feta cheese, crumbled
  • pinch of cumin
  • pinch of dried basil
  • pinch of dried cilantro
  • salt, pepper, and roasted red pepper flakes to taste
  1. In a cup or small mixing bowl, combine the feta and spices (including the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes) and mix well until feta crumbles are evenly coated.
  2. In a medium or large salad bowl, in the following order layer the lettuce, garbanzo beans, tomatoes, artichoke hearts and banana peppers.
  3. Top with feta cheese mixture and a hearty dollop of creamy greek dressing (recipe follows).
Creamy Greek Dressing (via Food.com)
(makes 1 cup)
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 or 2 garlic clives, minced fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup milk
  1. In a blender or food processor, whirl all the ingredients except the milk for one minute.
  2. With the blender running, slowly pour in the milk and blend until thick and creamy (turn off the blender as soon as the dressing thickens or it may curdle).
  3. Chill at least 1 hour so the flavours meld. If the dressing separates, just give it a whizz in the blender again.