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, crispy fried 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.
Traditional caesar dressing has a great creamy texture and tangy flavor. But, 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.
Vegan Caesar Dressing Ingredients
- Cashews – You’ll want to use raw cashews, not the roasted salted kind so that the dressing is extra creamy, and not too salty.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Fresh Lemon Juice – Fresh is best here. Don’t go with the bottled stuff.
- Nutritional Yeast – This mimics the taste of parmesan cheese and is so tasty!
- Salt & Pepper
- Water – We’ll start with a little, then you can add more or less depending on how thick you want your dressing to be.
How to Make the Dressing
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.
- Romaine Lettuce – I used two heads of romaine lettuce chopped into bite sized pieces. You can also leave the lettuce leaves whole.
- Avocado – I like to add some sliced avocado on top to give this salad some extra creaminess.
- Fried Capers – To make the fried capers, just drain some capers, pat them dry, and shallow fry them in a little oil. They get crispy, salty and become so delicious! You can also just throw the capers on straight from the jar, or skip them if you’re not a fan.
- Croutons – I make homemade croutons using this simple recipe. However, you can also use store bought croutons or leave them off.
I like to toss the lettuce with the dressing, starting with just a little, and adding more as I go, just enough to perfectly coat those leaves. You’ll have extra, so add as little or as much as you’d like. The leftover vegan caesar dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Then, to top it all off, I piled on some fresh chopped avocado, crispy fried capers (swoon 😍) and some garlicky homemade croutons that I made with just a bit of leftover bread tossed in olive oil and baked in the oven. Or, you can make these air fryer croutons even quicker!
What to Serve with It
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.
- Add some roasted garlic to your dressing to give it even more of a umami kick.
- Top your salad with some vegan parmesan or crispy roasted chickpeas.
- Get creative with your dressing. You can add in dijon mustard or worcestershire sauce to add even more flavor.
More Salad Recipes
- Fennel and Celery Salad
- Daikon Radish Salad
- Cauliflower Salad with Roasted Chickpeas & Creamy Tahini Dressing
- Avocado Chickpea Salad
- Israeli Couscous Tabbouleh Salad
Wine Pairings for Caesar Salad
- A Chablis or other un-oaked Chardonnay will work well with the tangy, creamy caesar dressing.
- Rosé is another option. (Here are some great Rosé wines under $10.)
Did you try this vegan caesar salad recipe?
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Vegan Caesar Salad Recipe
- 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 consistency.
- Add the oil to a small saucepan until it is 1/4 inch deep.
- Heat the oil over high heat, until shimmering. To test if the oil is ready, add a caper. It should sizzle immediately. If it doesn’t, the oil isn’t hot enough.
- Add the capers to the pan and fry until golden and crispy, about 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread out on a paper towel lined plate.
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Add bread cubes to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to coat. Sprinkle in Italian seasoning, garlic power, salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
- Spread the bread cubes out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, tossing once during cook time.
- 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 fried capers.
This vegan caesar salad recipe was originally posted in 2018. It was updated in 2023 to add new photos and information. The recipe remains the same. Enjoy!