This homemade caesar salad dressing without raw anchovies puts store-bought dressings to shame! You can whip it up in a few minutes in your food processor using ingredients you probably already have on hand and create the best salad ever before you know it.
I created this to remind me of the kind of caesar salad dressing you get at a restaurant when they make it right at the table. EXCEPT, I wanted that same great taste but without anchovies.
Note added in 2020: This has become one of the top 3 most popular recipes on XO&So along with my buffalo cauliflower bites and my homemade croutons with garlic butter. I’m so excited that you guys love it as much as I do!
By the way, those croutons I mentioned are the PERFECT thing to go with this caesar dressing. They’re crispy, buttery, delicious, and no salad is complete without bread if you ask me! Lol.
Since I became a vegetarian about six years ago, I’ve really missed out on good caesar salads when I can’t find a good recipe without anchovies. So, I decided to make my own!
I got a new KitchenAid Food Processor (I’m in love) and I used it to whip up this homemade caesar salad dressing in just a few minutes.
And let me tell you… this dressing has BROUGHT ME LIFE!!!
How to use this dressing
It’s a staple in my kitchen. Not only do I use it with romaine for a caesar salad, it also makes a great dip. My favorite is dipping Gardein seven-grain crispy tenders into it. Yummmm!
I like keeping a mason jar of this dressing in my fridge so I can grab it and use it whenever I want.
I’ve also made a Caesar pasta salad with it a few times and it’s one of my favorite meals.
I used rotini noodles, romaine lettuce, croutons, plant-based chicken, and lots of dressing to create the perfect meal that can be eaten hot or cold.
I love that this is the kind of thing you can keep in the fridge to enjoy all week. It’s also a crowd-pleasing meal because it’s a pretty universally liked dish!
By the way, I also have another great vegetarian salad dressing up on my site. You can find my Greek quinoa salad recipe here. It’s another meal that can be eaten hot or cold and it makes great leftovers.
What to serve with Caesar salad
Caesar salad is a great meal on its own, no doubt about that. But it’s also the perfect pairing for a lot of other vegetarian recipes!
Here are some ideas for what to serve with Caesar salad if you give my recipe a try:
- The sauciest, creamiest, best Alfredo sauce ever
- Cheesy bean and lentil vegetarian casserole
- Zucchini fritters with feta, red onion, and dill
Why Anchovy-Free Caesar Dressing?
It’s really easy to forget that some foods have animal products in them when they aren’t the main feature.
Case in point: most store-bought caesar salad dressing doesn’t taste particularly fishy (compared to the kind made in-house at restaurant), but most of them have anchovies in them still.
I’ve found a fewwwwww store-bought caesar dressings without anchovies, but none of them satisfied me in quite the way I wanted them to.
And then this recipe came into my life.
I’m so so so happy with it, and I could seriously eat it out of the jar by the spoonful. If you have a food processor, try this ASAP and you won’t miss the anchovies!
This is the same food processor I have, except mine isn’t red but now I wish it was.
Why is it called a Caesar salad?
Fellow food nerds, you might also enjoy learning about the history of our favorite recipes and ingredients. You may have heard the Caesar salad is attributed to Julius Caesar because it was his “favorite meal.”
It’s a fun thought, but its origins aren’t quite as ancient. Instead, the history of Caesar salad is actually said to originate in Mexico, rather than Italy like many of us expect.
Fun fact: apparently I referred to as Julius Caesar as “the salad guy who cut off your ears.” I guess I conflated “lend me your ears…” with him being some kind of butcher. Whoops.
But there is an Italian component to its origins: It’s said the salad was invented by Italian-American restaurateur Caesar Cardini IN Tijuana, Mexico. Apparently, he targeting American tourists frustrated by the Prohibition in America to his restaurant in Mexico. But again, a lot of this is speculation.
The other really interesting thing to note is the original ingredients: according to a lot of research, the original Caesar salad didn’t even contain anchovies!!!
The best guess
Here’s what What’s Cooking America has to say about this history of this prolific salad:
“His original recipe included romaine, garlic, croutons, and Parmesan cheese, boiled eggs, olive oil and Worcestershire sauce. The original salad was prepared at tableside. When the salad dressing was ready, the romaine leaves were coated with the dressing and placed stem side out, in a circle and served on a flat dinner plate, so that the salad could be eaten with the fingers.
In 1926, Alex Cardini joined his brother, Caesar, at the Tijuana restaurant. Alex, an ace pilot in the Italian Air Force during World War I, added other ingredients, one of which was anchovies, and named the salad Aviator’s Salad” in honor of the pilots from Rockwell Field Air Base in San Diego. It is reported that Alex’s version became very popular, and later this salad was renamed “Caesar Salad.”
I should note, this recipe calls for Worcestershire sauce, and the classic kind usually has anchovies in it, but I use a generic brand with no anchovies.
If you want a totally fish-free recipe, be sure to look for a Worcestershire sauce without fish too.
Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing without Raw Anchovies
- 2 cloves garlic chop ahead if your food processor won't cut it finely
- 1 cup mayo I used Hellman's Vegan Mayo
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- ½ tsp mustard powder
- 1-2 tbsp white vinegar start with one tbsp. and add more if you want a more acidic dressing
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce***
- ½ cup shredded parmesan
- juice of half a lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil approx. see instructions.
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- Add all of your ingredients to the food processor except for the olive oil. If your food processor has chop and puree options, select puree. Begin to puree your ingredients. Slowly add one tablespoon of olive oil into your food processor while it purees. Turn your food processor off, and test your dressingSlowly add another tablespoon (or more) of olive oil until you get the consistency you desire (two tablespoons gave me the perfect thick consistency I like in a Caesar salad dressing). Add more vinegar if you'd like as well.
- Store in the refrigerator in a container with a tight lid and consume within 3-4 days
Can we be Instagram friends?
Wanna see more vegetarian comfort food recipes as well as other behind the scenes stuff? You can find me on Instagram right here.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please let me know what you think of it in the comments below! I’d also love to hear if you used it for salad or as dip or what. Look forward to hearing from you!
Hope you love it!
xo – C
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