Is it possible to make a great-tasting Caesar salad dressing without anchovies? It certainly is – in fact, it’s likely that the original salad never included them!
If you ask me, there is no salad finer than a Caesar – though my kale and farro salad is a strong second. Though there are many iterations of this classic salad, all tend to use a variation of eggs, olive oil, garlic, anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and parmesan cheese all poured over romaine lettuce and croutons.
Caesar salad has an interesting and storied history. It was reportedly invented by Italian immigrant Caesar Cardini at his restaurant in Tijuana, Baja California in 1924.
Cardini lived in San Diego, California, but owned and operated restaurants in Mexico to attract American tourists looking to avoid Prohibition restrictions.
In the century since its invention, the Caesar salad has been riffed on and changed in numerous different ways. However, its basic ingredients generally remain the same.
But, if you want to make a Caesar dressing without anchovies, you can rest assured that you’re going to be a bit closer to Cardini’s original recipe.
How to Make Caesar Dressing Without Anchovies
Making a Caesar dressing is not dissimilar to making a mayonnaise or aioli by hand. This need not intimidate you – it’s super easy so long as you don’t rush the process.
First and foremost, crack two egg yolks into a mixing bowl (and if you want something to do with the egg whites, consider my royal icing, candied pecans or my marshmallow recipe!). Then add a bit of dijon mustard to the yolks.
Next, grate in two cloves of garlic. You want the garlic to be grated rather that even finely minced because it’s undesirable to have larger bits of garlic in your dressing.
Then, squeeze in a bit of lemon juice. Reportedly, the original recipe used lime juice (which makes sense, considering it was invented in Mexico). However, as the salad became popular in more northerly climates, lemons won out.
Now, instead of using anchovy fillets or paste here, add in a bit of Worcestershire sauce. It’s worth noting that Worcestershire sauce (aside from being, quite possibly, the most difficult word on the planet to spell!) does generally contain anchovies in the same way fish sauce does.
If you want to make this vegetarian, you can get plant-based Worcestershire sauce. Whisk all of this together until thoroughly combined.
Now is when you need to be patient. Whisking constantly, very slowly pour in your oil. I recommend using a mixture of extra virgin olive oil and a neutral oil – this is because you will still get the olive oil state without using too much of the expensive oil.
When I say to pour the oil in very slowly, I mean it. The stream should be closer to a drop, especially initially, to ensure that you make a stable emulsion. Whisk constantly and take your time to ensure that your dressing doesn’t break.
Once all of your oil is incorporated, grate in a good amount of parmesan cheese.
I recommend using a rasp-style grater here to get very fine shavings of parmesan that will essentially dissolve into your homemade Caesar dressing without anchovies. And finish it with a number of generous grinds of black pepper.
Whisk to make sure everything is thoroughly combined, taste to adjust for seasoning, and use this Caesar salad dressing without anchovies in any way that your heart desires!
- 2 egg yolks
- 10ml (2 teaspoons) Worcestershire sauce
- 10ml (2 teaspoons) lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 60ml (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
- 60ml (1/4 cup) neutral oil
- 30g (2 tablespoons) parmesan cheese, grated
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic and mustard until well combined.
- Combine both oils together in a large liquid measuring cup. Whisking constantly, slowly incorporate the oil into the egg yolk mixture - going drop by drop at the beginning to ensure a stable emulsion. You can increase the speed in which you add the oil once about half of if it is completely incorporated.
- Once the oil is incorporated, grate in the parmesan cheese and add a number of grinds of black pepper. Whisk to combine and taste to adjust for seasoning.
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
- The Wizard's Sauce Organic Gluten Free & Vegan Worcestershire Sauce – Fish Sauce, Organic Spices & Seasonings, Plant Based, Vegan, Gluten Free, Non-GMO Project Verified, USDA Organic – 8.5 Oz
- Deiss PRO Lemon Zester & Heavy Duty Cheese Grater & Vegetable Grater — Parmesan Cheese Lemon, Garlic, Nutmeg, Chocolate, Fruits, Vegetables, Ginger Grater - Cheese Shredder & Stainless Steel Grater
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 135mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g
Nutritional information is automatically generated and provided as guidance only. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Making homemade Caesar salad dressing without anchovies is easy and the results are absolutely delicious. You will soon realise that there is no need to buy the bottled dressing ever again!
Are you wondering how to make Caesar dressing without anchovy paste or fillets? Have any questions about this recipe? Let me know in the comments!