Cacio e Pepe Salad

At the end of a certain magazine about People, which I only read on planes and road trips, there are recipes provided typically by chefs, sometimes by celebrities. I seldom take notice, except when something unique really pops out, like David Chang’s bacon fried rice. And that was a HIT!

This time, it was a cacio e Pepe salad, which was intriguing, since it’s well known as a pasta dish.

The contributor is Stefano Secchi, who I’ve never heard of until now, but he chefs at the New York City restaurant Rezdôra, in the Flatiron district. Even though this is called a salad, he serves it as an appetizer.

I was only capable of taking these terrible photos when I initially saw the recipe, because I was in the back seat of a car headed to Nashville, but they were enough to piece together the recipe!

All I needed was Little Gem lettuce, and a girlfriend came through for me!

Cacio e Pepe Salad

1/4 cup canola oil
1 ounce Pecorino cheese, grated
1 ounce Parmesan, grated, plus 1/2 ounce shaved
1/2 cup water ( I used 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons mustard
4 heads Little Gem lettuce
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Process the oil with the grated cheeses, water, lemon juice and mustard, just until emulsified, about 20 seconds.

Spread about 3/4 cup of the dressing on the cut sides of lettuce halves on a plate.

Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle on the pepper.

Add the shaved Parmesan.

So much like a Caesar salad, if truth be told, but oh so good.

Full disclosure: I subscribe to People magazine. Yes, I do.

By Published On: June 15th, 202037 Comments on Cacio e Pepe Salad

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. June 15, 2020 at 6:27 AM - Reply

    I love little gem lettuce and there’s plenty of it fresh in the salad section of my local supermarket at the moment! Can’t wait to give this lovely looking salad a go.

    • chef mimi June 15, 2020 at 6:39 AM - Reply

      Oh nice. You’re so lucky!

  2. Angela June 15, 2020 at 10:31 AM - Reply

    This sounds like such a nice change of pace. And three cheers to your disclosure. All the rest of us read it in waiting rooms anyway — or at least we did, before the “new normal.”

    • chef mimi June 15, 2020 at 11:21 AM - Reply

      Ha! I do it to keep up with what’s going on in the world, so I don’t feel so out of touch. I’m not sure it works…

  3. Mary June 15, 2020 at 3:03 PM - Reply

    How fortunate to pick up a copy of the magazine and come away with this lovely fresh salad?! Thank goodness for a phone to photograph the recipe which is now winging its way around the world for us all to enjoy. :))

    • chef mimi June 15, 2020 at 3:41 PM - Reply

      Isn’t it honestly amazing to use our phones as our cameras? The world is so different!

  4. Roz June 15, 2020 at 6:32 PM - Reply

    IMimi, have a serious, need-to-get-help addiction to cacio e’ pepe and all of the new recipes spinning from this delicious classic pasta recipe! I know that I will love this salad!!! Thanks for sharing and adding more reason to stay addicted to cacio e’ pepe (in a very good way).
    Be well! Ciao, Roz

    • chef mimi June 15, 2020 at 7:53 PM - Reply

      It’s not quite like the real pasta thing, but it’s damn good!

  5. Frank Fariello June 16, 2020 at 7:16 AM - Reply

    Interesting! I love it when people take a well known recipe and give it an interesting twist. This one we’ll be having soon.

    • chef mimi June 16, 2020 at 7:22 AM - Reply

      It’s quite a twist, but it’s really good. (Seriously though so much like a Caesar salad!)

  6. Kim Bultman June 16, 2020 at 2:39 PM - Reply

    Ha ha, Mimi! I’m a closet People junkie, too… on airplanes, impulse-buy grocery store check-out stands, or whatever… ahem, Some of their “celebrity recipes” are really good! At first I thought you meant “Ancini de Pepe” (fondly known as “Frog Eye Salad” in our family) but Google quickly dispelled that notion. Their definition: “Cheese and Pepper.” YUM! No wonder it resembles Caesar Salad. What a lovely use of summer’s freshest and finest!

    • chef mimi June 16, 2020 at 3:07 PM - Reply

      I have a cacio e Pepe traditional pasta recipe on my blog. I don’t see why it’s such a big darn deal, honestly. It’s simple pasta, salt, pepper, and pecorino. Good… don’t get me wrong. But I like a bit more stuff thrown in. I do need to check out this frog eye salad!!!

  7. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats June 16, 2020 at 6:53 PM - Reply

    Love the flavors and presentation. Great summery salad! :)

    • chef mimi June 16, 2020 at 8:47 PM - Reply

      It was good. And a great lettuce!

  8. Tandy | Lavender and Lime June 17, 2020 at 2:28 AM - Reply

    We have a basic lettuce salad lunch during the week and this is perfect for us – such lovely flavours.

    • chef mimi June 17, 2020 at 6:03 AM - Reply

      Very much like a Caesar, and very good. It’s a great lettuce!

  9. David @ Spiced June 17, 2020 at 7:15 AM - Reply

    What a fun idea! I love cacio e pepe in its traditional pasta form, so I’m pretty sure I would love this salad version, too. It’s perfect for hot summer days!

    • chef mimi June 17, 2020 at 9:24 AM - Reply

      Sort of a silly twist, but it’s a really good salad. Or appetizer!

  10. David Scott Allen June 17, 2020 at 9:18 AM - Reply

    I love that it could be a nice appetizer rather than salad. Why not – the gem lettuces are perfect for this purpose. I used to be able to get them here, but haven’t seen them for a while. Will need to look next time I’m allowed out to shop again. 😉 By the way, I get so enthralled with the in-depth reporting in People that I never made it to the back of the magazine to see that it has recipes! 🤣

    • chef mimi June 17, 2020 at 9:24 AM - Reply

      Ha!!! Well then, start at the back!

  11. kitchenriffs June 17, 2020 at 9:30 AM - Reply

    Wow! Nifty idea. Love Cacio e Pepe, but never thought to make a salad version. But I will. :-) Thanks!

    • chef mimi June 18, 2020 at 6:50 AM - Reply

      Well, it’s good, and it gave me the opportunity to taste this lettuce, which I love!

  12. heather (delicious not gorgeous) June 17, 2020 at 6:35 PM - Reply

    this sounds tasty! i love tangy dressing and plenty of cheese in my salad (:

    • chef mimi June 18, 2020 at 6:51 AM - Reply

      No kidding! You described it perfectly!

  13. Kelly | Foodtasia June 19, 2020 at 9:10 PM - Reply

    Love the flavors in this salad! And the baby lettuce is perfect. A keeper!

    • chef mimi July 8, 2020 at 7:48 AM - Reply

      Thanks so much! I loved this lettuce!

  14. Shannon June 21, 2020 at 6:24 AM - Reply

    What a refreshing salad Mimi, this looks fabulous! Sometimes recipe inspiration comes from the places we least expect it. Definitely the perfect salad to make as we enter summer, yum!

    • chef mimi June 21, 2020 at 6:31 AM - Reply

      It’s very good. And honestly, I’ve discovered quite a few really good recipes in people magazine!

  15. Abbe@This is How I Cook June 21, 2020 at 11:55 AM - Reply

    Love Little Gems and I’m so happy I can find them at Costco. I love People, too but only get my fill when I get my hair done or go to the dentist. Now that’s a problem because they have taken away all the magazines! Fun and simple recipe. Thanks, Mimi!

    • chef mimi June 21, 2020 at 11:57 AM - Reply

      Thanks Abbe. They have? I had no idea. I guess that’s a smart thing.

  16. sippitysup June 22, 2020 at 3:02 PM - Reply

    There’s a somewhat similar salad at Jon and Vinny’s in Los Angeles which I loved so much I tried to recreate it at home. Now I have a much better roadmap thanks to you. GREG

    • chef mimi June 22, 2020 at 3:48 PM - Reply

      Cool! It’s just so similar to a Caesar, and just as good.

  17. 2pots2cook June 24, 2020 at 10:43 AM - Reply

    Absolutely on my priority list ! So lovely twist loaded with vitamins. Brava !

    • chef mimi June 24, 2020 at 10:53 AM - Reply

      Thank you! It was very good.

  18. jenniferguerrero1 June 28, 2020 at 1:06 PM - Reply

    Oh, I love this! I’m trying to avoid pasta! Thanks so much for posting. I’ll have to go find Chang’s dish, too!

    • chef mimi June 28, 2020 at 3:44 PM - Reply

      It’s a really nice salad. Especially if you can get the fancier lettuces.

  19. everythingtips July 30, 2020 at 9:39 AM - Reply

    this sounds so nice! how lucky you are to get a hold of that magazine! thank you for sharing this lovely post with usss!!! have a great dayyy!!🤗🤗🤗

    Follow @everythingtips for tips and recommendations if interested! It would mean a lot to me!🥺🤍

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