Caesar salad is one of Rich’s favorite meals and he is fairly particular about his Caesar dressing. When I made this dairy-free version for him, he immediately loved it and found it to be so much more flavorful than any version from a bottle. Made from scratch, this Caesar dressing doesn’t contain cheese as most store-bought versions do, making it perfect for us dairy-free folks.
And, if you’re going to make Caesar dressing, you should probably make Caesar salad too! Our version gives you the option of three proteins (chicken, shrimp, and salmon) and uses our gluten-free Herbed Stuffing Cubes (leftover from a batch made at Thanksgiving) for the croutons. Since I can tolerate small amounts of goat and sheep cheese, this recipe uses grated Pecorino Romano, made entirely from sheep’s milk. You can easily leave out the cheese and still have a delicious salad.
The flavor the dressing brings to the salad is amazing. If you are a bit wary of anchovies, I understand, but I urge you to leave them in the recipe. They are one of the reasons the flavor level is high. If you are not using the cheese, add some Kosher salt to the greens to heighten the flavor.
discover. cook. enjoy.
Kitchen Gear and Products We Love
We have found that having the right tools in the kitchen can really help make cooking more fun and easy. Check out our favorite tools here! Also check out the gluten-free, dairy-free products we use and love here!
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Caesar Dressing Recipe with Shrimp, Chicken or Salmon Caesar Salad
For the Dressing
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 anchovy fillets, packed in oil, minced
- 3 tbsp lemon juice, fresh, about one large lemon
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
For the Salad
- 1 head romaine lettuce, large, torn
- 1/4 red onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, (OPTIONAL) freshly grated
- freshly ground pepper
For the Croutons
For the Protein
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled & deveined, chicken breasts, or salmon fillets
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the Rub
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tsp cumin, ground
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
Mise en Place
- Gather all your ingredients and group by step.
Prepare the Protein
- Measure all the rub ingredients into a small bowl and mix to combine.
- If using shrimp, thaw, peel, and devein the shrimp, and pat dry. If using chicken tenders or salmon fillets, bring to room temperature and pat dry.
- Lightly cover the protein with olive oil and then sprinkle the rub over your protein. Repeat for the second side for the chicken and shrimp, flesh side only for the salmon. Let rest as you make the dressing and prepare the croutons. If you have any rub leftover, place in an airtight container and store for later use.
Make the Dressing
- Using a garlic press or chef's knife, mince the garlic. Mince the anchovy with a knife. Add both to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Measure out the oils into one measuring cup and set aside for now. Separate the egg yolk from the whites and add to the bowl. Juice the lemon and add 3 tablespoons to the the bowl. Measure and add the Worcestershire, Dijon mustard, and red pepper flakes to the bowl.
- Using an immersion blender set on low, (You can mix by hand - not recommended - or you can also use a hand mixer), beginning mixing the ingredients together in the bowl until well combined. Slowly, very slowly, start adding the oil while you continue to mix. Increase the speed a bit, still slowly adding oil. Add half the oil as slowly as you have been adding and increase the speed of the blender as needed. You will start to see the emulsion take shape and the mixture will start to look creamy and thick. Once you see this, you can increase the speed of the blender and of adding the oil. Continue blending and adding the oil until there is no more oil left. At this stage, you should have what looks like a dressing. Taste and add kosher salt and pepper as needed. Cover and put in the fridge while you prep the croutons, salad, and cook the protein.
Prep the Croutons
- Heat the sunflower oil in a medium-sized skillet on medium high. Add the croutons and stir to mix. Cook for about 5 minutes to get the croutons browned a bit. Add the Earth balance and cook for about 2-3 more minutes. Remove from the heat to let cool.
Prep the Greens
- Tear the romaine (or you can cut it with a knife) into a large serving or mixing bowl. If using Pecorino Romana, grate and add to the romaine. Slice the red onion and add to the romaine. If not using cheese, add a bit of kosher salt to the romaine. Add freshly cracked black pepper (as much or as little as you like) and toss the greens, cheese, and onions to combine. Set aside.
Cook the Protein
- If using shrimp, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium-sized saute pan. Add the shrimp in a single layer and cook until you start to see the shrimp becoming opaque on the bottom/sides. Turn the shrimp and cook about 1-2 minutes more or until done. Remove the pan from the heat.
- If using chicken or salmon, heat your grill and when heated, add the chicken or salmon (for salmon, skin side down first) and cook for 2 minutes. Turn 90 degrees and cook for 2 more minutes. Flip and cook for about 3-4 more minutes or until done.
Serving the Salad
- Remove dressing from the fridge.
- If using chicken, slice into strips or bite-sized pieces. If using salmon, remove the skin and leave whole. If using shrimp, do nothing 🙂
- If serving buffet-style, plate protein, croutons, and dressing along side the bowl of greens.
- If serving composed salads, add some dressing to the greens and mix well. Go easy on the dressing and provide a bowl of dressing at the table if people want more dressing. Fill bowls with greens, top with the protein, croutons, and ground black pepper. If using Pecorino Romano, grate some over the finished salad. Enjoy!