Who doesn’t love a good Caesar salad every once in a while? It’s certainly one of That Salad Lady’s favorites. But not all Caesars are created equal. A Caesar salad recipe is only as good as its dressing and, sadly, the traditionally rich and creamy Caesar salad dressing many of us know and love has a reputation for being “unhealthy.”
Is it really all that bad though? Well, let’s just say that, depending on the ingredients, it could very well be. Many homemade recipes are haphazardly thrown together with loads of mayonnaise, cheese and oil. Then there are the store-bought versions, which often contain highly processed ingredients like added sugars and artificial preservatives.
Luckily, no matter the food, there’s almost always a silver lining.
As with most foods, we believe salad dressing is what you make of it. Caesar salad dressing is no exception. Instead of knocking this classic favorite, we’ve put our own nutritional spin on it. Authentically rich and creamy, gluten-free and keto-friendly, ours’s delivers the perfect balance of tangy, savory and salty flavors – and it’s on your salad in as little as five minutes!
THE BALANCING ACT
Many would argue that the best Caesar salad dressing starts with raw egg yolks. Ours’s doesn’t. Look at the ingredients list and you’ll see that our recipe calls for plain full-fat Greek-style yogurt instead. It’s not that we have a problem with egg yolks. We love egg yolks! We just like the cool, refreshing flavor and the hefty dose of protein, calcium and health-promoting probiotics yogurt brings to the blend. Yogurt is also a great option if you’re squeamish about eating raw eggs.
We specifically suggest using full-fat yogurt. Compared to low-fat and non-fat varieties, full-fat yogurt is generally richer and creamier. It also has a texture and flavor profile that’s more similar to that of mayonnaise. Complemented by a deeply flavored mix of classic Caesar salad dressing ingredients like Parmigiano-Reggiano, anchovies and garlic, our yogurt-based version is full of authentic flavor and can be easily made with either a blender or a food processor.
Now, if the very idea of using full-fat Greek-style yogurt has your “calorie” alarms ringing don’t worry. Low-fat and nonfat yogurts work too. Do know, however, that low-fat and non-fat varieties generally house more sugar, and contain less protein and calcium than their full-fat counterparts. Rather than focusing on fat, we suggest enjoying our Caesar salad dressing in the sensible portions we suggest below. Just a little goes a long way.
Let’s talk more about what’s in our dressing recipe and why.
Greek-Style Yogurt for Craveable Creaminess
We’ve already talked a lot about Greek-style yogurt. Again, we suggest using plain full-fat yogurt (4-5% fat) as it’ll bring the “mayonnaisy” texture and flavor that’s characteristic of classic Caesar salad dressing. Owing to the combination of fat and protein, it’ll also improve nutrient digestion and provide superior satiation (filling effects) helping to reduce urges to overeat.
Choose your yogurt wisely! The best yogurt brands are those that contain naturally occurring sugar from lactose (milk sugar). Check your labels for indications of no more than 10-15 grams of total sugar per cup and 0 grams of added sugars. That Salad Lady generally uses “FAGE® Total Plain Greek Yogurt” or “Siggi’s® Whole Milk Yogurt.”
A Flavor-Packed Mix of Classic Ingredients
As we’ve already mentioned, our Caesar salad dressing recipe includes classic ingredients like Parmigiano-Reggiano, anchovies and garlic. Our recipe also calls for using Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice, each of which adds even more authentic flavor to the blend.
Parmigiano-Reggiano for Sharp, Tasty Tang
If you’ve never heard of Parmigiano-Reggiano, it’s essentially the “authentic” version of what we know as parmesan cheese. Dubbed the “king of cheese,” Parmigiano-Reggiano is an Italian hard cheese made from cow’s milk. The main differences between Parmigiano-Reggiano and parmesan are their aging processes and how their ingredients are regulated.
According to the trademark laws in Italy, a hard cheese can’t be called “Parmigiano Reggiano” unless it’s made in Italy according to a specific recipe and aged for at least a year. Like other quality white cheeses, it’s a great source of protein, calcium and probiotics.
As Parmigiano-Reggiano is aged, just a tiny bit packs a whole lot of flavor and tangy bite. It does, however, come at a higher price point so feel free to use regular parmesan if it’s better for your budget. Either way, our recipe calls for grating the cheese. You can do this with either a flat or box grater, or a food processor.
Anchovies and Garlic for Rich Umami Taste
Combined together, anchovies and garlic deliver the pleasant savory taste (technically called “umami”) that’s characteristic of Caesar salad dressing.
Though best known as an excellent source of omega-3s, anchovies also pack a powerful flavor punch. Now, you might already be turning up your nose at the idea of adding these salty slivers of fish to any dressing. If your diet generally includes fish, we highly recommend trying them, at least once. We promise you won’t taste any fishiness at all – only umami deliciousness.
We suggest cutting the anchovies into small pieces with a sharp knife, and then using the back of a fork to “mash” them into a paste-like consistency. Again, you won’t taste any fishiness in the blend. Ask our founder and she’ll tell you anchovies is one of only a few foods she’d never eat whole, yet she’s included them in this recipe. Combined with garlic, their flavor is unmatched.
Garlic itself contains many unique phytonutrients that boast powerful antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (study up in our Nutrition Glossary to learn more). Our recipe calls for whole or freshly minced garlic, as it is most potent when freshly crushed or cut. You can mince garlic with a garlic press or a high-quality chef’s knife. To avoid the hassle of mincing altogether, just use whole garlic and put your blender or food processor to work.
While you can use jarred whole or minced garlic as a “shortcut,” we don’t recommend doing this. Jarred versions tend to have “off” flavors, which’ll be detectable in your finished dressing.
Dijon-Style Grainy Mustard for Good Bite
A must-have ingredient in our dressing, Dijon-style mustard is a valuable source of health-promoting micronutrients, which can contribute to your daily nutrient tally. We suggest using a grainy Dijon which, as implied by the description, has a “gritty” texture. It also has a rich spiciness that adds really good bite to the blend.
Worcestershire and Lemon Juice for Even More Flavor
The strong umami taste of Worcestershire sauce and the sour power of fresh lemon juice are the perfect pairing for all the other classic ingredients in our recipe. If we haven’t convinced you to give anchovies a try, Worcestershire will give you a lot of what you need in the flavor department, as it generally contains anchovies. If you’re watching your sodium intake, we suggest choosing a low-sodium brand of Worcestershire sauce. Don’t worry, it’ll be just as tasty.
The fresh lemon juice included in the recipe adds great flavor balance to the Worcestershire. It’s also naturally rich in vitamin C, a potent water-soluble vitamin and antioxidant that plays a critical role in immune health.
Once you’ve grated your cheese, mashed up your anchovies, minced your garlic, and gathered all the other ingredients for the dressing the hard work is practically done – hardly any work at all, right? At this point, you’ll just blend or mix the ingredients to your desired consistency.
Start by simply adding everything to your blender or food processor. With variable speed units, start with a low speed. From there, you can gradually increase it to a higher speed until the mixture is perfectly smooth. That’s it!
The Versatility of Caesar Salad Dressing
Our authentically rich and creamy Caesar salad dressing recipe makes about 6-8 flavor-packed servings (2-3 tablespoons per serving). Use it to whip up a restaurant-quality Caesar salad at home or to elevate the taste and overall nutritional profile of any salad bowl recipe. Our dressing also makes a great marinade for meats and seafood, a tasty spread for sandwiches and burgers, or even a savory dipping sauce for plain ole veggies.
We recommend transferring any leftover dressing to an airtight sealed container and then storing it in the fridge. It’ll last for up to a week.
SHOW US YOUR WORK
That Salad Lady wants to see all your great work. If you enjoy our protein-packed honey mustard dressing, which we are sure you will, drop a comment below and tag pics on Instagram with @thatsaladlady, #thatsaladlady and #buildyourbowl. If you love it, pin it on Pinterest and share it on Facebook and Twitter using #thatsaladlady.
Authentically Rich and Creamy Caesar Salad DressingCourse: DressingCuisine: Italian, AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Gluten-free and keto-friendly, our Caesar salad dressing is the perfect balance of tangy, savory and salty flavors – and it’s on your salad in 5 minutes!
1 cup plain full-fat (4-5% fat) Greek-style yogurt*
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (or parmesan) cheese**
2 anchovy fillets, mashed***
2 fresh garlic cloves, minced or whole****
2 teaspoons Dijon-style grainy mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce*****
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoons ground pepper, or to taste
2 tablespoons water
- Gather all the ingredients and add them to your blender or food processor.
- With variable speed units, start with a low speed and then gradually increase it to a higher speed until the mixture is perfectly smooth.
- Use the dressing to whip up a restaurant-quality Caesar salad.
- Transfer any leftover dressing to an airtight sealed container and store it in the fridge for up to a week.
- *We suggest using full-fat yogurt (4-5% fat) as it’ll bring the “mayonnaisy” texture and flavor that’s characteristic of classic Caesar salad dressing. Low-fat and non-fat yogurts also work but they’ll be a notable difference in the texture of your finished dressing. Adding another tablespoon of water or even a little extra-virgin olive oil will help smooth it out. Adding olive oil, however, will increase the calorie tally.
- **To create mashed anchovies, cut the fillets into small pieces with a sharp knife, and then use the back of a fork to “mash” them into a paste-like consistency. You can also substitute 1 tablespoon of anchovy paste for the mashed anchovies. Anchovy paste comes in a toothpaste-like tube that you’ll find in the condiments aisle at most grocery stores (usually near the tomato sauces).
- ***Parmigiano-Reggiano is an “authentic” version of parmesan cheese. Since it’s aged for a longer period of time, it has richer flavor and a tangier bite. It also comes at a higher price point so feel free to use regular parmesan if it’s better for your budget.
- ****You can mince garlic with a garlic press or a high-quality chef’s knife. To avoid the hassle of mincing altogether, just use whole garlic and put your blender or food processor to work. While you can use jarred whole or minced garlic as a “shortcut,” we don’t recommend doing this. Jarred versions tend to have “off” flavors, which’ll be detectable in your finished dressing.
- *****If you’re watching your sodium intake, choose a low-sodium brand of Worcestershire sauce. Also note that Worcestershire contains anchovies (amongst other ingredients), which makes it a no-go for vegans and vegetarians.
- This Caesar salad dressing makes a great marinade for meats and seafood, a tasty spread for sandwiches and burgers, or even a savory dipping sauce for veggies.
This information is provided as a courtesy and is only an estimate. Please review our full disclaimer to get a clear understanding of the nutrition and health information and resources presented and written on our website.