Listen. I have been seriously disappointed one too many times by vegan Caesar dressings. So, a couple of years ago, I worked hard on creating the perfect recipe for myself. Today, I am sharing it with you all! It’s incredibly flavorful, easy, and quick to make. My vegan Caesar dressing genuinely tastes like an authentic Caesar dressing, despite lacking dairy, eggs, and anchovies. Because, yes, an authentic Caesar dressing contains… anchovies… But don’t worry, I have a vegan replacement for all those ingredients, even the anchovies.
Vegan Caesar Dressing in 10 Minutes
This vegan caesar dressing recipe is effortless to make. I make the base of the dressing with softened cashews and vegetable oil. Other ingredients, such as fresh garlic, vegan parmesan, capers, vegan Worcestershire, and nori seaweed, give the dressing that classic Caesar dressing flavor. The nori is my secret weapon to replicate the taste of anchovies. I blend all the ingredients while slowly drizzling in the oil to emulsify everything into a voluminous dressing. It’s almost too easy to make!
Tangy, Garlicky, and Cheesy
It’s FULL of flavor. The lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and capers give it a lovely zing. The vegan parmesan also adds a subtle tang and a classic cheesy background flavor to the dressing. Then, I choose to add in a BUNCH of fresh garlic. It’s not overpowering by any means, though. This vegan Caesar dressing is just.. perfect.
Thick and Creamy
Frequently, whether it was a store-bought vegan Caesar dressing or a recipe I followed years back, I have found their texture always to be so watery! And bland! I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy a watery, bland Caesar dressing. Mine is on the thicker side with a creamier consistency. It’s perfect for tossing with romaine lettuce (a classic for a Caesar salad) or even massaging it into the kale for a fancier salad.
Classic Caesar Salad:
For a very simple, classic caesar salad, toss the dressing with fresh romaine, shredded vegan parmesan, my homemade classic vegan croutons, and a pinch of fresh black pepper. Then, for extra protein, top it with crispy vegan chicken! It’s easy, classic, and delicious!
My All-Time Favorite Kale Caesar Salad:
If you want a restaurant-quality salad, you must try my vegan kale caesar salad. I created a fancier version of this salad for the last restaurant I worked at it, and it very quickly became a top seller to where years later, it is still on their menu. The restaurant version is kale massaged with my insanely delicious vegan caesar dressing, then tossed with brazil nut parmesan, cranberries, and crispy garlic chickpeas then topped with shiitake mushroom bacon and dehydrated shaved vegan parmesan. It is one of my favorite dishes of all time, so I want to share a simpler at-home version with you. To make the simpler version at home, massage the dressing into finely shredded or chopped kale and toss it with parmesan, dried cranberries, and garlic croutons, then top it with chopped vegan bacon. I always opt for mushroom bacon! It is truly the best combination of savory, tangy, salty, sweet, and umami, so I hope you love it as much as I do!
Before you whip up this recipe, I recommend giving my tiparooskis a read for some essential tips and substitute suggestions. It is located below the written recipe.
If you make my vegan Caesar dressing recipe, don’t forget to post a picture to Instagram, tag me @chefsummerstorm, and #gardengrub so I can see your recreation!
Vegan Caesar Dressing That is ACTUALLY Worth Making
- 1 cup plain, raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 3 hours to soften them; then drain and rinse them off
- 1 cup shredded vegan parmesan (I use the brand Follow Your Heart)
- 1/4 cup fresh peeled garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (I use the brand Annie's)
- 1 tbsp capers
- 2 sheets nori seaweed, torn up into small pieces
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups avocado oil (You can also use canola/vegetable oil or olive oil)
- Add all of the ingredients, EXCEPT for one cup of the oil, into a high powered blender.
- Gradually bring the speed up to medium-high and blend until everything is combined and in much smaller bits.
- Now, while blending on medium-high, slowly drizzle in the rest of the oil.
- If your blender has a tamper (stick, plunger, whatever you call it, haha), use it as needed to help the ingredients blend better.
- Once all of the oil has been added in, blend the dressing on high speed for about 20 seconds to ensure everything is well combined and emulsified. *If your blender gets hot, turn it off and wait for it to cool down; otherwise, the heat may break the dressing, AKA the oil will separate from the rest of the ingredients.
- Store in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator. *If you use avocado oil or olive oil, the Caesar dressing will become extra thick once it cools in the refrigerator. However, it will loosen back up after bringing it out to room temperature after a short time. It will also loosen from the warmth of your hands if you gently massage the dressing into your salad.
Welcome to my tip section of the vegan Caesar dressing recipe! Here I provide my top tips to help you perfect the recipe. Sometimes, I also give substitute suggestions that I think you may find helpful.
- Be patient when blending the dressing! It is going to be very thick at first. As you add more of the oil in, the mixture will loosen up, and it will come together and blend easier.
- If you do not have a blender that allows you to stream the oil in slowly, you can still make this recipe. Add all of the oil in with the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth and fully emulsified. This will take a bit longer to emulsify than if you were streaming the oil in slowly. With this being said, do not be surprised if the dressing separates later on. The oil may break from the rest of the ingredients since it wasn’t adequately blended in. Whisk or re-blend the mixture together again before using.
- Be careful if you are using a Vitamix! This is the blender I use, love, and stand by; however, this blender gets warm if it blends for a long time or gets overworked. The heat from blending will cause the Caesar dressing to break, making the oil separate from the rest of the ingredients. So, if the blender’s pitcher feels warm, take a break from blending the dressing until it cools back down.
- I love using avocado oil, but you can also use olive oil or vegetable/canola oil. I’ve used all options several different times. However, avocado oil and olive oil tend to make the dressing very thick when chilled because they solidify when cold. It’s not a major issue if you’re okay with massaging the dressing into whatever lettuce/green you choose to use, but it is something to keep in mind.
- If you aren’t able to get your hands on store-bought vegan parmesan, you can make and use a simple cashew parmesan instead. Here’s a super quick cashew parmesan recipe that you can use in place of the one cup of store-bought shredded vegan parmesan; add all of these ingredients into a food processor and blend until it resembles a fine meal texture, similar to that of granulated parmesan:
- 1 cup plain, raw cashews
- 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt