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House Salad vs. Caesar Salad- What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between a house salad and a Caesar salad? Here’s all the information you need from your favorite restaurant options!

One of my favorite side dishes to order at a restaurant is a salad! They’re so light and refreshing, and go well with just about any dish.

Do you ever look at restaurant menus and wonder what type of salad to order as a side dish? What goes best with what you’re eating? And what’s even in those salads?

Two of the most popular salads I see on the menus are a house salad and a Caesar salad.

A salad bowl with salad ingredients falling into it, with text "House salad vs. Caesar salad"

What’s the main difference between a house salad and a Caesar salad? A house salad has lighter ingredients and more vegetables like cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes, with a sweeter dressing; while a Caesar salad is more filling and richer with ingredients like Parmesan cheese, croutons, and a creamy Caesar dressing.

They’re both amazing and have plenty to offer with your main dishes! Keep reading to get more info and take a closer look at what exactly goes into your favorite salads.

A house salad in a salad bowl

What’s in a house salad?

A house salad is really simple, and the ingredients can vary between restaurants. But here are some of the main ingredients you might find:

  • Iceberg lettuce- Other leafy greens can be in here too, like artisan lettuce
  • Tomatoes- Quartered tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • Shredded carrots
  • Cucumber
  • Red onions
  • Sometimes other vegetables like bell peppers
  • Cheese
  • Croutons
  • A dressing like ranch or vinaigrette
A Caesar salad in a salad bowl

What’s in a Caesar salad?

  • Crisp Romaine lettuce
  • Parmesan cheese- a key ingredient in any Caesar salad!
  • Homemade croutons
  • Caesar dressing
  • Bacon bits
  • Hard-boiled eggs, sometimes!

How are they different from each other?


House salads tend to have lighter ingredients and more vegetables. They’re lower in calories but high in fiber due to the veggies.

Caesar salads have more filling ingredients like cheese. Typically, the only vegetable I’ve seen in most Caesar salads is the Romaine lettuce; although certain restaurants may add others.


Typical house salads will have fewer calories, but offer plenty of vitamins and minerals because of all the vegetables. They may have some fat from the cheese and dressing, and a little protein from cheese; but a house salad probably won’t be super filling.

Caesar salads may have different nutrients. Romaine lettuce is typically more nutritious than iceberg. And these salads will have more calories due to the high fat content of the cheese and Caesar dressing. Because of that, Caesar salads may be more filling!


House salads have a slightly sweeter and milder flavor due to the amount of vegetables. Tomatoes and carrots are sweeter vegetables.

Caesar salads have a strong and more pungent flavor because of the Parmesan cheese and Caesar dressing.


A house salad can use a variety of dressings and still be really good. Ranch is a popular choice and so is vinaigrette, although sweeter dressings like French and Thousand Island work well too.

Honestly, a Caesar salad really isn’t a Caesar salad without the Caesar dressing. It’s typically made of anchovies, egg yolks, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and sometimes Parmesan cheese. This dressing has a strong flavor and really brings out the other flavors of the salad.

A closeup image of a house salad

When to use a house salad

Eat a house salad when you want something light and refreshing! All of the vegetables are nice and crisp, and are filled with fiber and nutrients.

You can easily eat a house salad as a starter course and have plenty of room for the main dish.

I’d eat a house salad with more heavy main dishes like hamburgers, steak, baked potatoes, and nachos. The freshness of the salad helps to balance out the other flavors.

A chicken Caesar salad in a salad bowl

When to use a Caesar salad

Eat a Caesar salad when you want something more filling! The fat from the cheese and dressing add extra calories, and will add extra fullness. You can also eat this as a main course if you add a protein like chicken.

When I think of a Caesar salad, I imagine eating it with most Italian-style foods, like lasagna, pizza, and garlic bread. It also complements lighter main courses like grilled chicken.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, it’s all about your personal preference. If you want to eat a Caesar salad with a hamburger, go for it!

And any salad is a good choice. The health benefits are there for both kinds, so there’s really no “better option”. You’re getting in vegetables either way!

Leave a comment and tell me: What’s your favorite kind of side salad to eat?

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