Not So Caesar Salad

This is not your mother’s Caesar Salad!  I feel kind of guilty even messing with such a classic recipe.  But, sometimes the creative side of me takes over.  The big difference here is the base of the salad dressing.  Usually, made with a mayonnaise or egg/oil base, this version uses a vegan technique, using raw almonds and water as the base. 

It’s a great way for those of us who try to add some healthy nuts to our diet.  This recipe makes 4 hearty portions of salad, each containing approximately 1 ounce of almonds. 

If you find blanched almonds (without skin), all the better, they can go right into the blender. 

Also straying from tradition, I like to add dried cranberries to the salad.  I think it pairs well, giving the salad a little burst of tanginess and color.  There is no right or wrong here, you can add different flavors to top your salad!

This makes a wonderful, light lunch or can be served with a grilled protein for a dinner entrée. 

By skipping the parmesan and buttered croutons, one could easily turn this into a completely vegan dish. 

Makes about 1 cup or 16 tablespoons.  I recommend approximately 1T per 1 ounce of romaine salad greens. 


1/2 cup water
4 oz.(by weight) raw almonds- skip blanching and skin removal if using blanched, skinless almonds. 

3 T lemon juice
2 T Dijon mustard
1 medium garlic clove
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. creamed horseradish (optional)
salt and pepper to season

Romaine lettuce, cut or torn into pieces
1 T grated parmesan cheese per serving
Garnish with dried cranberries and garlic croutons, or any other garnish that you fancy! 


Weigh the almonds on a small kitchen scale (if you don’t have a scale, measure 3/4 of a cup by volume in a measuring cup).  Using a 2 cup measure or other bowl, poor hot water to cover the almonds.  I simply heat some water in a tea kettle.

(Skip this step if using blanched, skinless almonds) -Steep hot water over the almonds for 10-20 minutes.  Drain and discard the water, remove the skins on the almonds. The skins will slip right of their skins with just a bit of finger pressure. 

Place the peeled almonds into a kitchen blender.

Add water, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and horseradish. 

Puree until smooth.  If too thick, add a tad bit of water to thin it out.  Taste and adjust seasoning with a small pinch of salt and cracked pepper.

The finished salad dressing. 

Transfer to a large bowl, using approximately 1 T per 1 oz. of lettuce greens to be dressed.

Add lettuce to the bowl, mix with a spoon or spatula, ensuring all the lettuce is coated.  As with all Caesar salad recipes, dress lettuce just in time for serving.  Store unused dressing in the refrigerator.

Place coated greens on a plate, topping with parmesan, dried cranberries and croutons.  Season with fresh cracked pepper.


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4 Responses to Not So Caesar Salad

  1. Nice idea with the blanched almonds


  2. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says:

    This looks like a great recipe but we stopped eating almonds because of the water issue. It takes more than a gallon of water to grow one almond and in California where they are already in a drought, that is too much.

    I used to eat almonds like crazy; I even kept them by my bed for snacks but no more.


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