Nope, I’m not a vegan. Not currently, anyway. And if you know me, you know that I love me some dairy. And some anchovies. And some eggs. All things present in a traditional Caesar salad (which I also love).
But sometimes it’s fun to experiment with different techniques — especially when they are better for the environment. Eating meatless, vegetarian or vegan more often is a goal of mine, even though I don’t have plans to become a vegetarian full time. So this weekend I decided to try my first cashew-based salad dressing, for a fun experiment!
I started by soaking some cashews in a bowl overnight. The next day, they looked a little funky. I hadn’t told Dave what I was up to, so when he walked past my bowl of bloated cashews on the counter and noticed them, he gave me a *real* funny look. I’m still giggling about it.
I soaked mine overnight. I think it’s important to soak them that long – some recipes I referenced said a couple of hours would work, but it seems like that would make this recipe grainy. And it took some good work by my big fancy blender to make smooth as it is.
So what was the verdict? I loved it!
Surprisingly, this came pretty darn close to tasting like actual Caesar dressing. I’m kind of shocked.
Texture is a different story – while the texture of this dressing was totally fine, it did not mimic the “traditional” version. But I’m OK with that — more important than an exactly copy, I’m looking for a different dressing to make sometimes. And this one will definitely be in the regular rotation. And not just vegans, but your dairy free, gluten free and paleo friends will love it.
We ate this as a side with no toppings, but to make it an entree, I think roasted chickpeas, crispy tofu or crumbled, sautéed tempeh would be a great choice. Or, and this is not a paid endorsement, I love Tofurky’s chicken substitute product. LOVE. I mean it. I eat it right out of the bag. It would be great on this salad!
Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
- 1 Tbsp. miso paste (omit for low carb/paleo)
- 1/4 cup water
- 4-6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 clove of garlic
- 2 teaspoons capers
- 1 tsp. salt
- Soak cashews overnight in water. Drain.
- Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend on high until smooth.