Vegan Caesar Salad

This Vegan Caesar Salad has all the tanginess and creaminess that you’d expect from a traditional Caesar salad, but it’s completely plant based. Topped with fresh avocado, capers and croutons.

Growing up, my dad was a vegetarian. He still is for the most part. However, because he travels out of the country quite often for work to places like Ireland, Spain and Germany, dinners with his colleagues don’t always come “meat free”. In that sense, he’s a bit of a “flexitarian”. He tells the story of how on one trip he was treated to dinner at a place called “The House of Foie Gras” – A restaurant serving entirely duck and goose liver. I’d have to call that flexible to the max!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I personally am not a vegetarian nor a vegan. Far from it actually. However, I do enjoy making over recipes into healthier versions of the original. As you know, Caesar dressing has a great creamy texture and tangy flavor. To get that richness, the classic recipe calls for raw egg yolks and anchovies, ingredients that many people are a bit squeamish about. This Vegan Caesar Salad dressing uses raw cashews which are processed with a blender until very smooth, creating an amazing silky texture. I’m also adding in some nutritional yeast (which has an almost cheesy like flavor) garlic, and lemon juice.

I used my Vitamix to get just the right texture, and processed for about three minutes. I cannot stress enough how much I love this blender. It’s a bit pricey, but I do use it on almost a daily basis. You could also do this easily in a food processor, although if you have a small prep-sized one, that would be preferred. Just be sure to scrape down the sides of your bowl as needed while processing. You may also need to add some water as you go to be sure that your dressing is the consistency that you’d like. Make it as thin or as thick as you’d like.

I like to toss some crunchy romaine lettuce with the vegan caesar salad dressing, starting with just a little, and adding more as I go, just enough to perfectly coat those leaves. Then, to top it all off, I piled on some fresh chopped avocado, briny capers and some garlicky croutons that I made with just a bit of leftover bread tossed in olive oil and baked in the oven.

This Vegan Caesar Salad has all the tanginess and creaminess that you'd expect from a traditional Caesar salad, but it's completely plant based. Topped with fresh avocado, capers and croutons.

This Vegan Caesar Salad is the perfect side dish to accompany some pasta or a quick chicken piccata, but it’s definitely substantial enough to be a meal in itself – perfect for weekday lunches at the office.

What’s your take on this Vegan Caesar Salad? Would you give it a try (even as a non-vegan), or is there just no comparison for the traditional anchovy-egg dressing? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Vegan Caesar Salad

Vegan Caesar Salad

Course: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 472 kcal
Author: Platings & Pairings

This Vegan Caesar Salad has all the tanginess and creaminess that you'd expect from a traditional Caesar salad, but it's completely plant based. Topped with fresh avocado, capers and croutons. 

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Ingredients

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup cashews raw
  • 1/4 cup water plus additional as needed to thin dressing to desired consistency
  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 clove garlic smashed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Salad

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 avocado chopped
  • 1/3 cup capers drained and rinsed

Croutons

  • 3 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic crushed and peeled
  • 2 cups bread cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

Dressing:

  1. Place all dressing ingredients in high-powered blender or food processor and process until very smooth, taking the time to scrape down the sides of your container as needed. Add up to 4 tablespoons additional water to achieve your desired consistence.

Croutons:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place olive oil in microwave safe bowl, add crushed garlic clove and heat on high for 30 seconds.
  3. Discard garlic clove and drizzle olive oil over your bread crumbs, sprinkle on the salt, and toss until the bread is well coated.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, tossing once during cook time.

To Serve:

  1. Place your chopped lettuce in a bowl and toss with 1/2 cup of the dressing, add more or less to suit your taste. Top with avocado, croutons and capers.

Recipe Notes

You can find nutritional yeast at any health food store. Also, many supermarkets carry it in the bulk section. It's great sprinkled on popcorn or kale chips if you have any extra!

If you loved this Vegan Caesar Salad, I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished salad and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

Nutrition Facts
Vegan Caesar Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 472 Calories from Fat 333
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 37g 57%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Sodium 1380mg 58%
Potassium 1261mg 36%
Total Carbohydrates 29g 10%
Dietary Fiber 12g 48%
Sugars 5g
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 547.1%
Vitamin C 22.6%
Calcium 14%
Iron 31%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Wine Pairings for Caesar Salad: 

  • A Chablis or other unoaked Chardonnay will work well with the tangy, creamy caesar dressing.
  • Rosé is another option. (Here are some great Rosé wines under $10.)

Vegan Caesar Salad

 

Looking for more salad recipes? Be sure to try these too: 

Shaved Fennel and Celery Salad

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30-Minute Thai Beef Salad

Thai beef salad on grey background with serving utensils.

Mediterranean Chickpea & Tuna Salad

Mediterranean Chickpea Tuna Salad

Israeli Couscous Tabbouleh Salad

This Israeli Couscous Tabbouleh Salad recipe combines pearl couscous with tomatoes, cucumber, fresh herbs and a light citrus dressing. It's a perfect make-ahead salad recipe! | platingsandpairings.com

Turkey Meatball Salad with Slaw Dressing

This Turkey Meatball Chopped Salad is loaded with veggies and topped with grilled fresh blackberries, blueberries, avocado and goat cheese. | platingsandpairings.com

 

23 comments

  1. Evi @ greenevi

    I love caesar salad! This version with avocado sounds so great, I’ll try it out! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Melissa

    How long can the dressing be stored in the fridge for?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Melissa – Great question. The dressing will last for up to three days in the fridge.

      Reply

  3. Dorit Coish

    I made this vegan caesar dressing for my daughter and her boyfriend. They were so impressed with the taste of it. They told me it tastes just like real caesar dressing.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      That’s awesome Dorit – I’m glad that they liked it!

      Reply

  4. Vegan Recipes

    Tried it last night. Tasted great and really didn’t take long. Boyfriend did the dishes what more could I ask for.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Boyfriends who do the dishes are the best kind of boyfriends! Mine does them too 🙂

      Reply

  5. Michelle

    I thought you had to soak the cashews?

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Hi Michelle – If you have a high powered blender, you don’t need to soak the cashews. I love that I don’t have to plan ahead for this dressing!

      Reply

  6. Meg

    I’m fascinated by the versatility of cashew cream. These days I eat more vegan food and this looks great! I will have to try it.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I’m doing my best to eat more plant-based as well – which is fairly easy to do in Portland. I hope you enjoy Meg!

      Reply

  7. Catherine @ Ten Thousand Hour Mama

    Haha, I’m cracking up at your poor partner’s experience at the House of Foie Gras! Not my idea of an ideal restaurant, either. I’m not vegan these days, but I do strive to eat dairy-free, which makes this Caesar a wonderful recipe for me! Thank you!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      This dressing is definitely a great dairy-free Caesar dressing alternative. I hope you enjoy Catherine!

      Reply

  8. Create/Enjoy (@SuzannahStanley)

    Yum, and beautiful!!!! I am all about getting egg yolks and fish into my diet but I don’t like storebought Cesar dressings so should definitely try my own like you did!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      For sure homemade dressing is SO much better that those that you can find in the store! I always forget how quick and easy it actually is.

      Reply

  9. Marlynn | UrbanBlissLife

    Love that this is a dairy-free dressing! My husband loves Caesar salads and I can’t wait to try the dairy-free dressing!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      I hope you love it Marlynn!

      Reply

  10. Tiffany

    This is a gorgeous salad and lovely recipe, Erin!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Thanks so much Tiffany!!!

      Reply

  11. Kelsey

    I had no clue ceasar dressing had anchovies! This sounds great, I love vegetarian meals.

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Not all Caesar dressings have anchovies, but the most authentic ones do… This is a great dairy-free and fish-free alternative!

      Reply

  12. Jennifer

    I have to tell you I just love this dressing. I subbed in almond milk for the water which made it a bit thicker and served it as dip with a veggie tray. It’s also amazing on sandwiches! So far it is my favourite plant based dressing and I make it at least 2 times a month. Thanks again!

    Reply

    1. Erin

      Awww – So happy to hear that you like it Jennifer! Love your idea to use it as a dip for veggies!

      Reply

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