The key to a great Caesar salad lies in fresh ingredients and a most supreme dressing. The dressing's signature flavor traditionally comes from minced anchovy filets, egg yolks, finely grated Parmesan, and lemon juice emulsified with oil. While there is a certain intimidation threshold created whenever you bring raw egg yolks into the equation, rest assured--this dressing is easy peezy to whip up with and so well worth doing it yourself. No judgment if it's your go-to, but I'm gonna have to adamantly steer you against bottled Caesar dressing whenever possible.

Crunchy, bright, and full of amazing flavor from that fro-scratch dressing, the classic Caesar salad has got your back. That being the case--the classic Caesar flavor profile lends you plenty of room to play. In fact, the best part about salads in general is that they're like blank canvases... there's always room to get creative (or resourceful) and knock the socks off of your neighbors at your next summer cookout. Need some inspiration to get going? Having some fun with a Caesar salad looks a lot like these amazing recipes right here:

Swapping Romaine for nutrient-dense kale and pleasantly bitter and colorful radicchio will have you fighting to grab the salad tongs first.

Garlic-Sage Roasted Chicken Kale Radicchio Caesar Salad

This somewhat deconstructed take on a Caesar salad is a visual stunner, making this a fantastic and simple company-worthy entree to present on a large platter.

Roast-Chicken Caesar Salad

Kale is practically the new Romaine in the Caesar and we're not even mad about it. This trendy leafy green isn't just there for health points--it brings in a delightfully crunchy texture and earthy flavor that pairs perfectly with that tangy-bright dressing and savory grilled shrimp on the plate.

Kale Caesar Salad with Grilled Shrimp

This salad is perfect for grilling fanatic, earning a roasty, toasty depth from being laid straight on the grill--just check out those killer char marks. This hearty green maintains its crispiness without wilting and makes an ideal side for the rest of your grill-centered meal.

Grilled Caesar Salad

When you're not exactly feeling the fork, transform that Caesar salad into a sandwich piled high in the middle of an everything bagel with sliced chicken. This stack gets an A+ on the desk lunch scale, so don't be surprised if bypassing coworkers are struck with some serious lunch break envy.

Caesar Salad Bagels

If you're looking for a rich and hearty protein boost for your Caesar, look no further than a skillfully seasoned salmon filet. Not only does this recipe offer a super healthy (hello, omega 3's) bonus with the salmon, the addition of radishes offers an extra pop of color and an additional element of peppery crunch.

Grilled Salmon Caesar Salad

Melding quinoa with chicken and kale makes for one of those dishes that gets to boast itself as trendy (i.e. Instagram-worthy #kaleyeah), nutritious, and insanely delicious all in one go. And on top of all of that, it's super quick. Can't beat it.

As you can see, there are limitless ways to take the Caesar salad route. And FYI... it's always a good route to take.