When it comes to recreating healthier versions of food I like, I’ve learned that I can only suspend my disbelief so far. In my efforts to make a healthier and decent Caesar salad dressing, I made vegan versions that called for pureed cauliflower, sometimes tofu (which I won’t eat), and others that required an entire tiny jar of capers for even an iota of umami. Some of the dressings I tried were frustrating and many were unpalatable.
I’m not the type of girl who can calmly eat something while making believe that it’s something else; I keep it real. Caesar salad is nothing without its distinctive tanginess contributed by non-vegan ingredients like anchovies and hard cheese so I had to take a step back and compromise. I realized that what mattered most to me was indeed, that salty, tangy hit so I put together a recipe using ingredients that when combined, would give me that tangy alchemy I craved but would still keep it health(ier).
Caesar salad is also my Bin’s favorite salad. We have memories of those at Mario’s Kitchen and at La Copa; fast forward to today where I’m forever trying to cook healthier dishes for my meat-and-potatoes man, thus this recipe.
After several Caesar salad (mis)adventures, I’m pleased with how this one turned out. And I can guarantee that it’s husband-approved. On the day that I made this, my Bin was hovering around me in the kitchen, his tasting spoon at the ready. He says this dressing is a winner, I hope you and yours think so too.
No Guilt, No Egg, Easy Caesar Salad Dressing
This recipe yields a scant one cup of dressing. Leftovers are great slathered into a potato salad or onto eggs for a spectacular egg salad sandwich.
For the dressing:
½ cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours and drained
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons Parmesan or similar hard cheese. I used Edam cheese.
2-3 cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon capers, include some of the brine from the bottle too
1-2 teaspoons canned anchovies
Salt for seasoning
For the salad components:
1 small head romaine lettuce
Croutons; I toast squares of whole wheat bread
Pumpkin seeds, toasted
Extra cheese for sprinkling
Put all ingredients for the dressing in a blender. Blend until smooth and thick. Taste for seasoning – you may want more tanginess, a little bit more sour, some salt, etc. Season it to your liking.
Assembly: Serve all salad components together with the dressing DIY-style.
Dressing will keep in a glass jar in the refrigerator for about a week.
I hope you enjoy this recipe. If you make it, please tag me on Instagram @dessertcomes1st or tag it #DCF8020. Email me if you have any questions about the recipe or just want to get in touch.