This vegetarian Caesar Salad recipe is quick to make and perfect for serving as a delicious and healthy side dish. It’s packed with fresh parmesan, homemade croutons, and crispy greens (ready in 15 minutes).
On my forever-mission to make salads that aren’t boring, I’ve created some out of the ordinary salad recipes (like this Spinach Salad and this Grilled Watermelon Salad). But sometimes the classics can be just as great, and far from boring!
Today I’m showing you how to make a classic Caesar Salad that’s completely from scratch, so easy to make, and just happens to be vegetarian!
“This is so good. I made it for a party and got tons of compliments.” —Hana
How to Make Vegetarian Caesar Dressing
We’ll start by making an easy homemade caesar salad dressing. To make the dressing, simply throw everything in a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy.
To make Caesar salad dressing (without the usual anchovies) you’ll need:
- Olive Oil: Caesar dressing is an emulsion, so oil is going to be our base! Use regular or extra virgin olive oil here.
- Mayonnaise: Rather than thickening with raw eggs, we’re using mayonnaise for a foolproof Caesar dressing.
- Parmesan Cheese: Parmesan adds a savory element to replace the anchovies that are usually found in Caesar.
- Lemon Juice: Fresh is best here! Bottled juice won’t have as much tasty lemon flavor.
- Dijon Mustard: This emulsion is held together by mustard, which will keep the dressing creamy and delicious.
- Garlic: Just a clove of garlic brings major flavor to this Caesar!
Is parmesan cheese vegetarian?
Parmesan cheese is usually considered vegetarian. It is made from cow’s milk, rennet (an enzyme used in cheese-making), and salt. While traditional Parmesan may use animal rennet, many modern versions use microbial or vegetable rennet, making them suitable for vegetarians. However, it’s essential to check the label or product information to ensure it meets your dietary preferences.
This is the blender I use and adore!
Best croutons for Caesar Salad
You can use store-bought or homemade croutons here (but croutons from scratch are heaven on earth, so you should definitely do that).
To make them yourself, cut a few pieces of stale bread into cubes (sourdough bread is great with Caesar salad). Drizzle with oil (about 1 tablespoon per cup of cubed bread). Then saute over medium heat until golden brown and toasted! Here’s the full guide on homemade croutons.
Finally, mix everything together with chopped romaine or mixed greens! I love using a combination of greens (like spinach and arugula) to pack a few more nutrients in there.
Best Lettuce For Caesar Salad
The best leafy green for Caesar salad is typically romaine lettuce. Its crisp and sturdy leaves hold up well to the rich and creamy Caesar dressing, providing a refreshing and crunchy texture. However, you can also use other leafy greens like kale or spinach if you prefer a different flavor profile or want to add more nutrients to your salad.
Italian Recipe Pairings
Serve this plant-based Caesar as a side salad to any number of Italian recipes. Here are a few of our favorites!
- Vegetable Baked Ziti
- Vegetarian Lasagna
- Sweet Potato Gnocchi
- Ricotta Stuffed Peppers
- Eggplant Lasagna
- ½ cup olive oil 120 mL
- ¼ cup mayonnaise 60 g
- ¼ cup shaved parmesan cheese 30 g
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice 30 mL
- 1 ½ tsp dijon mustard 7 g
- 1 clove garlic
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 5 heaping cups chopped romaine or mixed greens
- 2 cups croutons
- ½ cup shaved parmesan cheese 60 g
- Make Dressing: Add all Dressing ingredients to a blender and blitz until smooth and creamy. Taste and add salt and pepper, as needed.
- Assemble: Roughly chop romaine or mixed greens. Toss together with croutons and parmesan. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat (you may not need all of the dressing).
I first published this recipe over on Amanda’s Cookin’, where I’m a contributor.