You’ll love that this crowd-pleasing Vegan Caesar Salad recipe has an authentic taste and creamy texture, but is made without raw eggs or sardines! It’s a delicious side or main meal salad, served with croutons and your favorite toppings.
I love salads, but I was never drawn to the caesar salad until I went vegan. That’s because I hate the fishy flavor when sardines or anchovies are added. However, the best vegan caesar dressing recipes achieve that umami flavor without the fish.
It makes me so happy! Now I get to enjoy my new favorite salad with abandon!
Why This Recipe is a Winner
- Vegan croutons add garlicky crunch to this salad, and the more the better
- Romaine lettuce is the star of great caesar salads because its crispy texture makes romaine the best choice
- Nutritional yeast flakes are added to the creamy vegan dressing, giving it a cheesy flavor.
What You Need
You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Croutons — I’m recommending homemade croutons, and you can use your choice of bread, whether whole wheat, sourdough, or gluten-free, etc.
- Romaine — You can use romaine, green leaf, or iceberg. For a kale caesar salad, substitute chopped kale for the romaine.
- Green olives — I add chopped green olives, for color and flavor.
- Vegan parmesan — You can buy vegan parm in the stores or make vegan parmesan. Sprinkle a generous portion on your salad before serving.
- Freshly ground black pepper — Salads are best served with fresh-ground black pepper on top.
- Cashews — Use raw cashews soaked for at least four hours. Cover the cashews with water and put them in the fridge. Soaked cashews break down easier in the blender, resulting in a creamier dressing.
- Garlic — One medium clove of garlic will do here, to add a fresh, garlicky flavor but not so much that it overpowers the dressing.
- Lemon juice — Lemon juice adds some zing to this dressing. While testing this recipe I “accidentally” added what I thought was too much lemon juice and it resulted in a great flavor. That’s why I’m not shy about calling for a lot of lemon juice in this dressing.
- Miso paste — We need to add that umami flavor without the fish and my favorite way to do that is by using miso paste. Besides, miso paste doesn’t seem to have negative impacts as sodium.
- Dijon mustard — It’s not uncommon to see dijon added to caesar dressings, which is one reason we’re using just a bit of it here.
- Nutritional yeast flakes — Another staple of my vegan kitchen is having nutritional yeast flakes around. It adds a cheesy flavor which is perfect for this dressing.
- Olive oil — Finally, we’ll add just a bit of olive oil to the dressing to give it the great texture and flavor that we all love in caesar salad dressings.
How to Make Vegan Caesar Salad
Now it’s time to make this vegan caesar salad. Here are the steps involved.
- Croutons: make croutons and set aside.
- Greens: Cut the romaine lettuce into 1-inch bite-size pieces and arrange in 2 to 4 serving bowls.
- Dressing: Prepare the dressing by combining ingredients in a blender and pulsing until creamy.
- Serve: Top the greens with croutons and drizzle with the dressing.
- More Toppings: Add chopped olives. black pepper, vegan parmesan, and any other favorite salad toppings.
The cashews for the dressing need to soak for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
Step One: Make the Vegan Croutons
Rub your bread slices with the cut side of a clove of garlic. Then cut them into cubes, toss them with the oil, and bake until crispy. You won’t regret using homemade croutons. They’re the best!
Step Two: Prepare the Romaine
The classic question is, how do you prepare Romaine lettuce for a salad? Do you cut the lettuce or tear it? I’m a big fan of cut lettuce, especially for a caesar salad. Besides, precise bites make this salad much easier to eat.
Regarding serving sizes, if you want two main-meal salads, then use two bowls. If you’re preparing these as side salads, you’ll have enough to make 4 small salad bowls.
Step Three: How to make Vegan Caesar Salad Dressing
To make the raw caesar dressing, drain the soaked cashews. Add them, along with the rest of the dressing ingredients, to a blender and blend until creamy. Be sure to use a spatula to push down any ingredients along the side of the bowl and then blend again. Continue with this process until you have a nice, drizzly consistency.
A regular blender should work here, too; it just might take a little longer to get to a creamy consistency.
Step Four: Create Your Salads
Add the croutons to the bowls with chopped romaine and then drizzle with the dressing.
Is Caesar Dressing Vegan?
The dressing in a typical Caesar Salad isn’t vegan because it’s a cow dairy-based dressing, and the salads are usually topped with cow dairy parmesan. However, it’s easy to make your own homemade vegan and/or vegetarian caesar salads at home.
Is Caesar Salad Vegetarian?
A typical caesar salad is not vegetarian because oftentimes the salad and/or the dressing is made with fish, such as anchovies.
You can top these salads with many vegan options, including any of the following:
- Chopped green or black olives add both color and flavor
- Vegan chicken makes a great salad topping
- I love adding roasted chickpeas to my salads
- Of course, freshly-ground black pepper and vegan parmesan are great too
Be sure to serve your salads with the remaining dressing on the side, for those who like more dressing.
Caesar Salad Calories
If you’re wondering about the nutrition of this vegan caesar salad, there are 353 calories per salad when divided into four servings. However, if you’re wanting a raw salad or concerned about carbs, you can leave off the croutons. That reduces the calories to 314 per serving. Removing the croutons also changes the total carbs to 14 grams and the fiber to 2 grams, for a net carb per serving of 12 grams.
If you’re eliminating the croutons and still want a bit of a crunch to your salad, I love substituting chickpea croutons instead. It’s easy to do, just add these crunchy baked roasted chickpeas or air fryer chickpeas.
What to eat with Vegan Caesar Salad
Here are some great dishes to serve alongside this tasty vegan salad:
Vegan Caesar Salad
- 2 slices bread (whole wheat, white, or gluten-free, cut into 1-inch pieces. Approximately 2 cups)
- 1 clove garlic , peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Vegan Caesar Dressing
- 1 cup raw cashews , soaked
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons miso paste
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons chopped green olives
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
Vegan Caesar Salad
- 2 heads romaine lettuce roughly chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons chopped green olives drained
- 2 tablespoons vegan parmesan
- freshly ground black pepper
- Note: The cashews for the dressing need to soak for at least 4 hours or up to overnight.
For the Vegan Croutons
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rub the bread slices with the cut side of the garlic clove and slice the bread into cubes. Toss the bread cubes with olive oil and bake until crispy, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Vegan Caesar Dressing
- Drain the soaked cashews. In a high-speed blender, place the soaked cashews, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, miso paste, nutritional yeast flakes, olives, and water. Blend until creamy. Add olive oil and blend again.
For the Vegan Caesar Salad
- Cut the romaine lettuce into 1-inch bite-size pieces and arrange in 2–4 serving bowls.
- Add croutons to the bowls with chopped romaine and drizzle with the dressing. Serve with the remaining dressing on the side.
- Top with chopped olives and any other favorite toppings. Add freshly-ground black pepper and vegan parmesan.
- Store the dressing in a sealed jar in the fridge. It will thicken as it sits, so you can add either another tablespoon of olive oil or water to return it to a spreadable dressing consistency.
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The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.