Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing & Intermittent Fasting Update

Good morning to you! I hope you had a great weekend.

Vida Vegan Con:

I’m buzzing around getting ready to leave town for the upcoming vegan blogging conference, Vida Vegan Con. I had so much fun at the first round back in 2011 and I can’t WAIT for this year’s event. You can read about the trip I took to the Bob’s Red Mill factory here, plus another post I wrote about my experiences and the fellow vegans I met here. While I’ll be traveling starting on Wednesday through early next week, my hope is to keep blogging on my regular Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule, with lots of updates from my adventures. For candid pictures taken from the road, be sure to follow me on Instagram here.

Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing:

Who doesn’t love a good Caesar salad? I know that before I went vegan, this was my standard go-to salad that I would order at restaurants or buy in a bottle and serve at home. There is just something special about the salty, creamy dressing served on crisp, crunchy romaine.

Thanks to my husband who has been bugging me to make a healthy, vegan version of a Caesar dressing for longer than I am willing to admit (sorry, honey), I finally started experimenting this weekend to make my own. I turned to the blogosphere for inspiration, plus Dr. Fuhrman’s recipe collection as a starting point. I noticed that most vegan versions use cashews as the base, so that is how I started. The cashews lend creaminess, for sure, but I balanced them out with hemp seeds on my second go-around, to take advantage of the omega-3s.

Dijon mustard is also a common ingredient, although I used stone-ground mustard combined with mellow white miso for the distinctive salty flavor that really defines a Caesar dressing (probably due to the anchovies used in the traditional version). As you know, I normally don’t use ingredients that contain a lot of sodium like mustards or miso, but in this case, I think it is necessary. I also used dates to balance the savory and nutritional yeast for an added element:

Vegan Caesar Dressing using cashews and hemp seeds.

I just blended all the ingredients together in my Vitamix and it was ready to serve on fresh romaine. Why, oh why, did I wait so long to make this dressing?

I love this dressing so much that I’m putting it on everything I can find, including my Vegetable Quinoa Salad (see the recipe here):

Caesar Dressing served on top of Vegetable & Quinoa Salad.

The dressing recipe is also available in a handy-dandy mobile version on my app, Vegan Delish (get it here!). Just look in the “New Recipes” category for it and plenty of other easy, healthy recipes that are all gluten-free and made using little to no oil, salt, or added sugars.

Intermittent Fasting Update:

Thanks for your comments on the post I wrote about intermittent fasting last week (you can see it here). I forgot to mention in that post that there is a great video that was aired on PBS earlier this year on the topic. You can watch that video here, it is super interesting. My first week using the Fast-5 approach was overall really great, although I’m still making adjustments to how it works for me. Namely, I am needing to be more careful about not doing “compensatory eating” which means filling up before the fast starts to alleviate anxiety about the fasting phase. So far, though, I am really loving getting back in touch with my hunger and noticing how intertwined my emotions are with my desire to eat.

Random Weekend Pictures:

Before I go, I thought I’d share some pictures I took this weekend. I made a green smoothie yesterday and was taking a picture when someone got very interested in the fresh mint on top (mint and catnip are in the same family, apparently):

Xena sniffing the fresh mint.

On Friday, we had an unexpected cool spell in Southern California which allowed for a late season hike:

Probably my last hike of the season?

I went walking yesterday morning around the neighborhood and spotted this beautiful hibiscus that made me feel like summer is right around the corner:

Orange and red hibiscus.

That being said, I’m busting out my warm sweaters and coat for my trip to Portland; Wednesday’s high is only in the 50′s. Brrr! See you back here then.

Comments

    • says

      Hi Sheri! I would probably use a more potent vinegar, maybe just a regular white wine. You can use regular balsamic, but it will change the color and might not be strong enough.

  1. Laura S. says

    I always love a new dressing so thanks for the recipe! I’m glad it does not have silken tofu in it as I’m trying to stay away from soy. (I’ll replace the soy milk with an alternative non-dairy milk.)

    Have so much fun in Portland! I’m sad I couldn’t make it but I’m sure you’ll give us a great recap, as always :)

  2. yummy says

    Yum! I love caesar salad too! I make my dressing really lemony and almost hot from raw garlic :) Keeps vampires away.
    This is totally random but there is a chain restaurant that serves a caesar salad that uses a head of romaine lettuce grilled over mesquite. It is INCREDIBLY YUMMY! Next time you get invited to a BBQ, bring lettuce! :) So good, I wish I had some right now!
    Have fun in Portland! <3

    • says

      Hi Yummy!!! I totally know what you mean about putting so much garlic in that it tastes hot. I used two cloves in my first test of this recipe and learned my lesson. I also LOVE your idea about bringing a head of romaine to a BBQ and just throwing it on. Xoxo!!!

  3. Michele says

    I’m wondering if the purpose for the hemp seeds is for nutrition or texture. It’s an ingredient I don’t usually use and I’m wondering what I could sub it with. Sounds great!!!

  4. Robin Corbin says

    Caesar Salad is one of my husband’s favorite salads but he is allergic to cashews, pine nuts, and pistachios. He actually avoids all nuts for fear of new unknown allergies. He had to spend the night in the hospital after eating a salad that had pistachios in the dressing. This is when we learned of the pistachio allergy. He is okay with seeds and eats flaxseed, chia seed, and sunflower seeds pretty regularly. Are there any Caesar Salad recipes that don’t include nuts?
    Robin

    • says

      Hi Robin. You could totally just use hemp seeds and sunflower seeds in this recipe. It’s the miso and mustard that gives it the flavor.

      • Robin says

        Awesome, thanks Carrie! I am excited to give this a try! It seems like sunflower seeds are super versatile. They’ve been recommended as a substitute many times!
        Should the measurements remain the same?

  5. Sheri says

    Hey Carrie ! Well.. I went to store and found the white balsamic vinegar. Then came home and noticed my hemp seeds tasted bitter. I left them out of recipe . The dressing was delish! Can you tell me if hemp seeds are supposed to be refrigerated? Mine were just sitting in pantry… Thanks Carrie !!! :)

  6. Fiona Leigh says

    Hi Carrie
    I follow your blog regularly and really enjoy it. Thank you.
    I am a nutritarian and found your blog via the Fuhrman website some time ago.
    I have given the fast 5 a go and find it so easy – suits me well. I was just wondering if you knew what Dr Fuhrman’s thoughts were on this? I know he likes a long period of not eating for rest and repair but wondered how he specifically felt about this approach or if it had any drawbacks?
    Certainly I am hungry when I do eat the first meal but then I do eat a second meal before the window closes and I might not actually feel ‘true’ hunger’ then.
    What do you think?

    • says

      Hi Fiona! Thanks so much for the note. I don’t know that Dr. Fuhrman has commented specifically on the Fast-5 program, but there was a thread where he commented on the Michael Mosley video (for some reason I can’t find it now). I believe he mentions that he could not personally do so much intermittent fasting because he would get too thin. In regards to not feeling hungry before the close of the window, I think that would indicate that the first meal would need to be smaller. That’s just my opinion, of course. :)

  7. Oly Jacobsen says

    Hi Carrie, I have to try that Caesar dressing for tonight. I just love new dressings on my salad now and again. Thanks for all the inspiration! I’m gonna make a drawing of that lovely hibiscus!! Cats could be my next project … I love to draw new things all the time, like a learning process … to keep me young!

    • Oly Jacobsen says

      Carrie, you won me over with your Caesar dressing! I really like the salty, hot taste from the miso and mustard. But after refrigeration I couldn’t taste the yeast, so I’m gonna add some more next time. And there will be a next time!
      Thanks!

      • says

        Thanks for the feedback, Oly! I agree, the nooch flavor was mild, but I think it is more similar to a traditional Caesar dressing that way. That being said, definitely add more next time if that’s your preference! :)

  8. Patty says

    Hi Carrie!
    The new Caesar dressing is SO good! I made it right away, last night, because it sounded so delicious and it did not disappoint at all! I’m loving it. I had it last night on my greens and I’m having it again right now on more greens. I also am putting a little in my quinoa, and that is so yummy! Great job, Carrie! Thanks for coming up with this new recipe…it’s awesome!

    Great post! I enjoyed the whole thing. Have a fabulous time at Vida Vegan Con! I can’t wait to read your posts and see your photos from that conference. I love Portland! Cool weekend photos. Your hike looks wonderful and I loved your kitty smelling your smoothie mint! So cute!

  9. says

    This dressing sounds like something I definitely need to try. Thanks for experimenting! How exciting about your trip. Enjoy, the cool weather. We’ll keep the hot summer temperatures around here going for when you return. Have a great trip!

  10. Anna says

    Just printed your caesar salad dressing recipe and I can’t wait to try it! Thanks for sharing your health journey and wonderful recipes with the world!

  11. gina says

    Hi Carrie! As always, this looks delish! How long will this stay good in the fridge? Also, I avoid soy (except miso and tempeh in moderation) since I have hypothyroidism and soy is a known thyroid depressant. Honestly, I’m a little surprised you use it in recipes as often as you do. Please correct me if I’m wrong. What do you think would be the best replacement? Almond milk, maybe. Thanks so much and I’m super jealous of your Portland trip. If the job market wasn’t so dismal, I’d move there in a heartbeat. I love it! Best. :)

  12. latoya says

    again. this is about the 3rd or 4th of your recipes that have been winners! i’m in love with this recipe. i’m so bad, i already dipped my black bean and quinoa chips in them. (so bad).

    thanks!

  13. gina says

    Hi Carrie! I was checking to see it you responded to my question and after re-reading my post, I want to apologize. It reads…well…judgmental, which was my very last intention. I love your site, recipes, and app! I guess what I was really trying to ask, aside from a good alternative for soy for your recipe, is: What’s your opinion regarding the soy/thyroid link? You have my email address, so feel free to message me privately since this is kinda a big question. I really appreciate everything you do and offer to the vegan conversation. <3 Warmly.

    • says

      Hi Gina! No problem, I didn’t take your comment and question negatively. I know there is a lot of stuff out there about soy and thyroid function. I’ve done what I consider my due diligence on the topic and appreciate Dr. Fuhrman’s advice that as long as there is adequate iodine in the diet, then it’s not an issue (assuming moderate intake of minimally processed, organic sources). It’s such a controversial issue, though, that I don’t like to comment except for my opinion as I just mentioned. I do appreciate the note, though, and I’m trying to make a better effort to get a variety of nut-milks and beans in my diet, and not just soy. For awhile, I was avoiding grains and so I felt I needed the soy to get a higher-quality of protein, but I’ve incorporated more grains back into my diet recently and so I feel less pressure to go to soy for my amino acids.

      • gina says

        Soy, in general, can be a pretty controversial issue. So many varying opinions. It’s a little overwhelming as I try to figure out what works best for me. That’s really interesting what Dr. Fuhrman says about iodine. Good to know. Thanks so much for your feedback. Much appreciated.

        • says

          I agree, Gina, it’s totally confusing and sometimes overwhelming. I’m glad you asked for my opinion, I appreciate it, as well as getting your feedback. :)

  14. Linda Dale says

    Do you mind saying which “no-salt seasoning” you used? There are a lot of them out there and using one rather than another could totally could the taste of the dressing. Thanks Carrie.

    • says

      Hi Linda! I just use the no-salt seasoning from Costco because it’s cheap and accessible to me. I’ve heard a lot of people say they like Mrs. Dash. Which one do you like?

      • Linda Dale says

        I have and like both. I tend to use the Costco one more often because it’s organic. I find it to be a bit spicier than Mrs. Dash, which I use when I want something a little milder. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve introduced to that Costco seasoning. I’ve even sent it to relatives around the country who aren’t near a Costco. Thank you for answering my question!

        • says

          Hi Linda! I forgot to mention that I also love the fact that the Costco one is organic. I think that is a very important distinction. Also, fyi, I just noticed that they sell a four-pack of it on the Costco website, just in case you want to order it for people directly.

    • says

      Hi Linda! Do you mean to say that you don’t have a grimacing, pink face in real life? :) I think you need to have a picture or avatar uploaded in the WordPress system or maybe Disqus to have it show your real image? One of my other friends always shows as a really mean looking face and so his new nickname is Mr. Angry Face.

  15. Annie says

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I’m so happy I found your website, I’ve never been this excited to try recipes without oil, salt or sugar. :)

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