When I made the decision in 2010 to move from lacto-ovo vegetarian to vegan, two thoughts immediately came to mind.  It wasn’t so much about giving up the cheese.  My first hesitant thoughts were: “Oh no … No more Caesar Salad and no more Ranch Dressing ?!?!?”  It was really more about the “cream” products.

The first two cookbooks I purchased were:  “Nutritional Yeast Cookbook” by Joanne Stepaniak, and Robin Robertson’s “366 Simply Delicious and Dairy-Free Cookbook“.  Just 3 years ago, there wasn’t ready-made vegenaise, vegan sour cream, vegan cream cheese, or Daiya Cheeze.  Well, at least not at my grocery stores in the VI anyway.  So I had to learn to make my own substitutes, and these two cookbooks were very helpful.  I’ll leave the homemade versions of these dairy substitutes for my “Going Dairy Free” page, because commercial versions of these products can now be found pretty readily in most metro areas.  And they are certainly easier, and increasingly better, than what one can make at home.

But as for the Caesar Salad, this was a dressing I had been making since I learned to blend it together “tableside” back in restaurant school at Cornell.  Is this not a much loved recipe …

I really must offer huge kudos to the vegans of yester-year.  These pioneers cut out a huge amount of work for me.  The first Caesar dressing recipe I used called for silken tofu as a substitute.  It worked pretty well, but then, as I became interested in “Raw” dieting through Dan McDonald “The Life Regenerator Man” via YouTube, I came across one of these earlier pioneers:  Dreena Burton over at Plant Powered Kitchen and Vivelevegan.  Based on Dreena’s know-how, my current recipe now calls for raw nuts as the basis for the dressing, and quite honestly, this dressing ROCKS !!!


The nuts should be soaked for a minimum of 20 minutes.  Optimally, I soak the nuts in water overnight in the fridge, and make this dressing up the next morning before I go to work.  This allows the nuts to soften further.  Then right before serving time, I’ll add a tiny bit more water and give the dressing another whirl in my Magic Bullet blender.  The secret to a great Caesar is balancing the acidity with the creaminess.  My best friend accomplishes this with more garlic.  I tend to use less garlic and more lemon juice.  But to each her own.  Experiment, using the same proportions as your own current dressing calls for.  The Braggs Sea Kelp Seasoning stands in nicely for the anchovies.  But don’t skip the Tabasco.  It’s the secret ingredient as you can see on my beloved dressing recipe of old.  Tabasco gives the dressing that added power-punch of acidity.

I hope you’ll give this recipe a try.  On it’s own, with tofu croutons, or as shown here with french bread croutons and Gardein Crispy Tenders, I’m gambling you’ll never make Caesar Salad another way again ….

Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing
Prep time
Total time
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 2-4
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • ¼ cup raw pine nuts
  • 1 date (unsweetened)
  • --------
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Braggs Sea Kelp Delight Seasoning
  • 1 large clove of garlic (1 teaspoon or more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon capers
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1-2 dashes Tabasco hot pepper sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • to taste freshly ground pepper
  • 1+ tablespoon water
  1. Soak the cashews, pine nuts and date in water for a few hours or overnight (but a minimum of 20 minutes).
  2. Drain water off the nuts, and rinse.
  3. Add all the remaining ingredient and purée in a blender until very smooth.
  4. Add additional water, in very small increments, until the desired consistency is reached.
This dressing can be used as a dip, or served traditionally as a dressing for Romaine Lettuce. Toss with croutons and Gardein Crispy Tenders as desired.




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