If you love Caesar salads as much as I do, but can’t have dairy and don’t love the idea of using raw eggs in your dressing (which classic Caesar salad dressings do), then I’ve got the answer to your prayers with this easy Egg Free Caesar Salad Dressing!
And before you write this recipe off as being too hard or fussy, please don’t! Homemade dressing is not hard at all and once you get in the habit of making your own dressing, you’ll have a hard time going back to bottled dressing.
While I have nothing against bottled dressing, if you want a bottled dressing that is based on whole food ingredients, you’ll often spend quite a bit per bottle. Making your own is cheaper and you can control the ingredients that go in it, making it a good choice if you have to avoid certain ingredients for health reasons!
How many ingredients are in this Egg Free Caesar Salad Dressing?
This Egg Free Caesar Salad Dressing requires 6 or 7 ingredients, depending if you add the fresh pepper at the end or not.
The ingredients you will need are:
- Fresh garlic
- Canned, oil-packed anchovies
- 1 Lemon
- Dijon mustard
- Coarse salt
- Olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper (which is optional)
What is the purpose of roasting the garlic in this Egg Free Caesar Salad Dressing?
Roasting garlic is super easy to do and does a couple of things that take the flavor and consistency of this Egg Free Caesar Salad Dressing over the top.
When garlic is roasted, the flavor mellows out and isn’t as “punchy” or sharp. It adds a more rounded, full flavor to any recipe you add it too, and I just love that!
The second thing that happens when you roast garlic is that the garlic gets nice and soft. This helps make the salad dressing creamier because you’re blending the garlic into the dressing.
Because the garlic has a milder flavor after it’s roasted, you can add more garlic to the dish and the flavor won’t take over. I was able to add more garlic to help bulk up the volume and make the dressing thicker since I wasn’t going to add the egg for thickness.
If you’ve never roasted garlic before, check out this post to see a video of exactly how to roast garlic!
What is an immersion blender?
An immersion blender, also known as a “stick blender”, is a handy tool to have in the kitchen, and because it is not very large, doesn’t take up much space.
Immersion blenders have two main parts, the motor, which is built into the handle of the blender, and the blade, which is built into the base of the blender.
Usually the two parts of the blender can separate so that it makes cleaning the blade easier. Some immersion blenders come with additional attachments, such as a whisk.
Immersion blenders work by inserting the blade end of the blender into whatever food you are trying to blend. You then turn on the motor while holding the handle and the blade whirls around, sucking the food down into the blade and chopping/pureeing the food.
Immersion blenders work especially well when making pureed soups and sauces, and, in my opinion, making homemade mayonnaise works best using an immersion blender.
This is the immersion blender that I have, and it has held up well over the few years that I have owned it.
Do I have to use an immersion blender to make this Egg Free Caesar Salad Dressing?
When I tested this Egg Free Caesar Salad Dressing, I tried making it first in a regular blender. Because the amounts I call for are fairly small (the full recipe only makes 6 tablespoons), the ingredients weren’t getting captured in the blade of the regular blender, and I couldn’t get the ingredients to blend together into a creamy dressing (no matter how many times I scraped the sides of the blender bowl!).
I then tried blending it with my immersion blender and that worked well! It does take a bit of time at first to get the anchovies to get fully blended, but it will come together. I didn’t want to take the extra step of chopping the anchovies before blending them, which is why it takes a bit longer to get the anchovies blended into a smooth paste. It’s worth the effort!
If you don’t have an immersion blender and don’t want to purchase one, you could also use a small food chopper or, if your blender has smoothie jar attachments, you could use one of those to blend the dressing with your regular blender.
Or, use the mason jar trick if you have the right type of blender (this won’t work with a Vitamix or Blendtec). Check out this link to see how to do it. This will work best with a pint size mason jar for making this dressing.
Can I leave out the anchovies in this Egg Free Caesar Salad Dressing?
Anchovies are a traditional ingredient in classic Caesar Salad Dressing and should not be left out!
They add great depth to the overall flavor of the dressing because they are full of umami taste, which helps round out the other tastes in the dressing.
Plus, they contribute to the smooth, creamy texture of the dressing. Anchovies have a soft texture thanks to the high fat level (which is the healthy omega-3 kind of fat!) and help give this dressing a more smooth and creamy texture.
I did try making a batch of the dressing without the anchovies because I know not everyone likes anchovies. The dressing didn’t work well. The consistency wasn’t smooth and creamy like I wanted.
So, take my word for it and add the anchovies! The dressing won’t taste fishy.
How do I store the leftover anchovies from the can?
Anchovies are most often found canned in oil, and that’s what I call for in this Egg Free Caesar Salad Dressing. Before being canned in the oil, the anchovies are cured, which increases their shelf life.
Because anchovies are so flavorful (and salty), you typically only need to use one or two anchovy fillets at a time. You’ll have quite a few left in the can.
Transfer the remaining anchovies and any of the oil from the can to small glass container with a lid. If needed, add additional olive oil to make sure the anchovies are fully covered with oil. Cover the jar and store the anchovies in the refrigerator up to 2 months.
How long can I keep this Egg Free Caesar Salad Dressing after I make it?
You can store this Egg Free Caesar Salad Dressing in an airtight container (glass is best!) in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. It will not freeze well.
This version of Caesar Salad dressing can be stored for longer because it doesn’t contain raw eggs like traditional Caesar Salad dressing does.
Like the idea of making your own salad dressing, but don’t love Caesar? Try one of these classic dressings instead!
Egg Free Caesar Salad Dressing
- 1 head garlic
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- 2 oil-packed anchovy fillets*
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Using a sharp knife, cut about ½-inch off the top of the garlic head to expose the individual cloves. Remove any papery outer peel but do not expose the flesh of the cloves. Place garlic head, cut side up, in a small custard cup. Drizzle top with ½ teaspoon oil. Cover with foil. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until garlic is softened and lightly browned.
- Cool garlic completely. Pinch the bottom of the garlic head and the individual cloves will slide out of the peels. Some of the cloves on the outside may need to be individually peeled.
- Place garlic in a tall narrow bowl or glass measure (your immersion blender may have come with a bowl to blend in). Add anchovies, lemon juice, mustard, and salt. Use an immersion blender to puree and mix everything together. You will need to move the blender around to get everything well pureed.
- With the blender running, gradually add ¼ cup oil until all is well mixed. Dressing should be smooth and creamy at this point. If it’s not, continue blending until it is. If desired, stir in a little freshly ground black pepper.