Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing
This creamy vegan Caesar dressing has all the rich, tangy flavor of your favorite salad dressing, but it’s completely plant-based! Made with just six ingredients, it’s an easy homemade recipe!
I could never pick a favorite salad dressing, but this one has to be in my top three. I’m not vegan, but I prefer the flavor of this vegan Caesar salad dressing to any bottled dressing. As a vegetarian, finding store-bought Caesar dressing that doesn’t contain fish can be hard. And while there are some good options out there, this homemade version is better than any I’ve tried! It’s rich, creamy, flavorful, tangy, and it’s made with good-for-you ingredients.
You don’t need any vegan mayonnaise or any fancy vegan substitutes. You just need a few pantry staples like cashews, olive oil, and seasonings. I also recommend using a high powered blender for the best results.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Cashews– Soaked cashews are the base of the dressing, providing a rich and creamy texture when blended. They act as a substitute for traditional dairy-based creamy elements like mayonnaise or cheese.
- Olive oil– Adds richness to the dressing while helping to emulsify the ingredients.
- Lemon juice– Provides tanginess and a bright citrus flavor to balance the creaminess of the cashews.
- Balsamic vinegar– Enhances the dressing’s complexity with a touch of sweetness and acidity. Instead of balsamic vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar for a different flavor profile.
- Garlic powder– Infuses the dressing with a savory and garlicky taste. I prefer the more mild flavor of garlic powder, but you can substitute fresh garlic if you prefer.
How to Make Vegan Caesar Dressing
Is Caesar Dressing Vegetarian?
Traditional Caesar dressing contains anchovies, so it’s not vegetarian. Even Caesar salad dressings that don’t contain fish are often made with mayonnaise, eggs, or Parmesan cheese. But luckily, it’s easy to make a plant-based version of this classic salad dressing!
Do I have to soak my cashews?
I recommend soaking the cashews for a few hours before blending if you have time. This helps them blend easily, even if you don’t have a powerful blender. But if you want a faster way to soak your cashews, try this: Place the cashews in a large, heat-proof bowl. Cover with 2 cups of boiling water and cover the dish with a plate. Let sit for 30 minutes until the cashews have softened.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use other nuts? Unfortunately, cashews are the only nut that can create a rich and creamy dressing like this. I don’t recommend substituting for another nut.
- Can I make this dressing in advance? Yes! This dressing keeps well for 4-5 days in the fridge. Keep in in an airtight container. I like this salad dressing shaker for easy storage!
Tips for the Best Vegan Caesar Salad
- Romaine lettuce is typically the base of a Caesar salad dressing. If you’re buying romaine hearts, slice them into 1″ strips, then transfer the lettuce to a salad spinner. Wash the lettuce well, then use a salad spinner to ensure the lettuce is as dry as possible. If the lettuce is wet, the dressing won’t cling to the leaves and you’ll end up with a soggy salad.
- Don’t forget the croutons! I like to use these homemade croutons, but store bought croutons work great too. If you want a gluten-free option, try my polenta croutons!
- A classic Caesar salad contains Parmesan cheese, so consider a vegan option like Violife’s vegan Parmesan-style cheese. Another option is to add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast to your salad for a slightly cheesy flavor; no dairy is required!
- While a Caesar salad is typically made with just lettuce, croutons, Parmesan, and dressing, I like to add extra veggies. Try tomatoes, chopped bell peppers, shredded carrots, or cabbage.
- If you want to add extra protein and fiber, try adding these crispy chickpeas on top!
This creamy vegan Caesar dressing has all the rich, tangy flavor of your favorite dressing, but it’s completely plant based! Made with just six ingredients, it’s an easy homemade dressing!
- 1/2 cup cashews, soaked for 6 hours (see note for a shortcut)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons water (plus more if needed)
- In a blender or food processor, combine the cashews, olive oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, garlic powder, salt, and water.
- Blend for 30 seconds, then scrape down the sides and continue to blend.
- Add more water if needed. Add salt to taste.
Note: No time to soak your cashews? Place the cashews in a large, heat-proof bowl. Cover with 2 cups of boiling water and cover the dish with a plate. Let sit for 30 minutes until cashews have softened. You’ll need a strong blender or food processor to achieve a smooth dressing with this shorter soak method.
Keywords: vegan caesar salad, vegan dressing, vegan caesar