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There's nothing like a hearty drizzle of Caesar dressing on crispy romaine lettuce and cheesy croutons. Store-bought salad dressings can be packed with artificial ingredients and tend to be lackluster in taste and texture, so why not try making your very own version at home?
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This simple recipe for Caesar salad dressing uses a straightforward method and basic ingredients you may very well have sitting in the pantry. This recipe yields about 1 cup of dressing, but feel free to double or triple the ingredients if you need a large batch.
Things You'll Need
4 garlic cloves
4 anchovy filets, packaged in oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt, to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (here's a good vegan option)
1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Salad dressing shaker (for storage)
Though this recipe calls for anchovies, egg yolks and Parmesan cheese, real caesar salad dressing can also be made vegetarian or vegan. Substitute 2 tablespoons of mayo, sour cream, Greek yogurt, hummus or tahini for the egg yolks. If you don't want to use anchovies, simply leave them out and increase the Worcestershire sauce to 3 teaspoons. Make sure to use vegan Worcestershire sauce, as most brands include anchovies. For vegan dressing, use vegan cheese.
Step 1: Prepare Your Ingredients
Peel garlic and roughly chop the cloves. (If you're planning to hand mix the dressing, chop garlic finely or push it through a garlic press, and mince the anchovies.) Grate fresh Parmesan cheese just before making the dressing for the very best flavor. Use pre-shredded cheese from your grocery store's cheese counter if you want to take a shortcut, but don't use the shelf-stable grated cheese from the pasta aisle for this recipe.
You can certainly make real caesar salad dressing by hand using a sturdy whisk to combine the ingredients. However, using a countertop blender or food processor is easier and yields a creamier result. Or, if you have a hand immersion blender with an accompanying mixing beaker, you can make a small batch of dressing with these tools.
Step 2: Blend First Four Ingredients
Combine the garlic, anchovies, Dijon, and egg yolks in your blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth. The mixture will look like a thick paste.
Step 3: And and Blend Remaining Ingredients
Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender. Pulse until the dressing is smooth, pausing to scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula. Taste the dressing with a spoon and make any adjustments accordingly; for example, add more lemon juice and Worcestershire if it tastes too bland, or a little more oil if it tastes too salty. If you're sensitive to heat, hold off on adding any hot sauce until the dressing is done, then stir in hot sauce a few drops at a time and test with a clean spoon after each addition.
Step 4: Serve and Store the Dressing
Transfer the dressing from the blender or food processor into a dressing shaker with a pour spout, or into a small serving bowl. Save excess dressing in the dressing shaker or in any glass container with an airtight lid. Use leftover dressing within a week.
While you always have the option of freezing leftover real caesar salad dressing in freezer-safe food storage bags, this method isn't advisable for this kind of dressing. Like other creamy and/or mayo-based sauces, caesar salad dressing will generally separate when it's thawed and the flavor suffers for it. Make real caesar salad dressing fresh the day you intend to eat it for the best results.
Because homemade real caesar dressing contains raw egg yolk, it isn't safe for pregnant women to consume.