This creamy Caesar Dressing is egg-free, comes together in minutes, and is amazing in a Classic Caesar salad, in wraps, and even on potato salad! It beats any store brand, hands down!
Traditional Caesar Dressing
The origins of Caesar Salad are murky at best. It was first made by a man named Caesar Cardini. Or his brother. Or one of his restaurant employees. In Mexico. Or San Diego. So, an Italian man named Caesar, or someone he knew, made this iconic salad in Mexico. Probably. Got it.
We do know it contained just five ingredients, lettuce, olive oil, raw eggs, parmesan cheese, and Worcestershire sauce. Maybe croutons. No lemon. Maybe. It was a long time ago and we’ve had a lot to think about since then.
Modern interpretations of the classic Caesar Salad usually include the addition of lemon, garlic, and anchovies, and involve the coddling, or lightly cooking, of egg. I’ve made my own variation of Caesar Salad for my family for as long as I can remember, but a recent trip to San Diego, maybe the original Caesar birthplace, made me make a change.
The Boy and I took a trip back to San Diego, the town where we went to college, met, and fell in love. We went to our favorite Italian market and, while looking around, The Boy saw a creamy chicken Caesar pasta salad. He immediately said, as he often does, “I bet you can make that.” Grrr… I can’t resist a culinary challenge.
The original Caesar dressing calls for whisking the olive oil with the other ingredients for a long time to emulsify, or completely blend, everything into an almost creamy state. This salad had a more creamy, mayonnaise-based dressing. That got me to thinking that mayonnaise is made by whisking egg yolks with an oil, that are already in the original recipe. That got me thinking, I can make that.
Ingredients for this dressing
The ingredient list is things you probably already have in your pantry. Here are the highlights:
- Anchovies Except maybe anchovies, but you should. I keep a tube of anchovy paste in my fridge at all time because you never know when you might want to make a Caesar salad or my Easy Pantry Shelf Marinara. If used correctly, it doesn’t leave a fishy taste, just a depth of saltiness that you can’t get with salt.
- Garlic Because Garlic makes it better!
- Lemon juice Contrary to old wives tales, lemon juice doesn’t cook the eggs in a traditional Caesar dressing, which is why you usually use coddled eggs. In this recipe, the lemon adds a pleasant tartness.
- Dijon mustard Besides the nice flavor it adds, a chemical component in mustard gives it a unique ability to hold liquids together that normally wouldn’t blend, like oil and lemon juice or vinegar. It’s science. Science is cool.
- Mayonnaise This replaces the coddled eggs and most of the oil and gives you the creaminess we are looking for in this recipe.
- Olive oil Just a bit. If we used only mayonnaise in this recipe, the resulting dressing would be pretty thick. I’ve seen other recipes that thin the dressing with water or milk, but that also thins out the flavor. Olive oil thins the dressing out while maintaining the original dressing’s vibe.
How to make Creamy Caesar Dressing
- Place all the ingredients, except the olive oil, in the bowl of your food processor.
- Pulse until everything comes together.
- Drizzle in the olive oil slowly, so the dressing doesn’t separate, and blend vigorously.
- If still too thick for your liking, add more olive oil, up to three tablespoons, one tablespoon at a time. Blend.
- If using on a salad, lightly dress your greens and serve more dressing at the table in case anyone wants more. You can always add dressing, but you can’t take it away.
How do I store my dressing?
Because it’s made with mayonnaise, instead of coddled eggs, this Caesar dressing will keep for up to five days when stored in an airtight container.
How can I use Creamy Caesar Dressing?
- Smeared over meat or fish before grilling, roasting, or baking
- As the dressing for a chicken Caesar pasta salad
- In an upscale potato salad
- As the dip for crudite (fancy word for sliced or whole raw vegetables)
- In place of mayonnaise in sandwiches or wraps
- As the sauce on a chicken Caesar pizza
Looking for other delicious salads and dressings?
- BLT Panzanella Salad
- Greek Salad with Herb Marinated Feta
- Mexican Caesar Salad
- Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Easy Creamy Caesar Dressing
- 6 anchovy filets or 3 inches anchovy paste
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tbs lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/8 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 cup Parmesan finely grated
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Add all ingredients, except the olive oil, to the bowl of a food processor. Blend until smooth. (You can also whisk all of the ingredients by hand, but the dressing might not be as smooth.)
- Using the opening at the top of your food processor, drizzle in olive oil until completely combined. If the dressing is too thick for your liking, you can add more olive oil to loosen, just about a tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Do not add more than 3 tablespoons more or you will dilute the flavor. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
- Store in an airtight jar for up to one week.
- Makes 1 1/2 cups of Creamy Caesar Dressing.
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