This Vegan Cashew Caesar Dressing is super creamy, easy to make, only has 7 ingredients and is gluten free. It uses lots of traditional ingredients like Dijon mustard and garlic, but a few clever switches make it completely plant-based, without compromising on great flavour. The creaminess comes from a quick homemade cashew cream and it only takes a few minutes to make, just like this wild garlic pesto, which is also great in spring.
🌟 Why this recipe works
- Quick and simple – you can’t get much simpler than 7 ingredients and a blender! The only time consuming bit about this recipe is soaking the cashews (though we’ll share a shortcut for that later). We challenge you to find an easier way to make a cashew Caesar dressing!
- Lots of traditional ingredients – while Caesar dressing is not usually vegan, we’ve kept a lot of the vegan-friendly ingredients to ensure a great Caesar dressing flavour, but using cashews. Dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil are pretty common ingredients in Caesar dressing recipes, so we’ve kept them here. The magic comes with the plant-based substitutions! If you want another salad made the traditional way, but vegan, try this Cheat’s Papaya Salad.
- The magic of nutritional yeast – if you’ve not come across it before, it’s savoury and kind of cheesy and nutty. It’s worshipped the world over as being a crucial ingredient in plant-based cooking – so it’s no surprise that we’re big fans of it too! For this cashew Caesar dressing recipe, we’ve included it to replicate a cheesy flavour that would usually be incorporated with parmesan or a similar hard-cheese.
- Time after time – we have been making this recipe for years and it always turns out perfect! We've even served it at parties and picnics. Checkout our favourite plant based party food ideas, if that's your thing.
📋 Ingredient Notes
- Cashew cream – have you made cashew cream before? Don’t worry if not, it’s much simpler than you could imagine! All you need to do is soak some cashews in water and then blend them until smooth. The longer they’re soaked the smoother they become and the more water that’s used the thinner the cream will be. That’s about it! We use cashew cream all the time like in this vegan vodka pasta and this vegan carbonara.
- Dijon mustard – Dijon mustard has a strong flavour and is a bit sharp and tangy. However, it’s a lot milder and more balanced than some other mustards, for example a classic English mustard, which is very fiery. As it’s more balanced and mild, Dijon is a great choice for making a cashew Caesar dressing. If you’re looking for an alternative, we’d recommend whole grain or stone ground mustard – the textures don’t have that smooth edge, but the dressing will be blended anyway.
- Capers – classic Caesar recipes often call for anchovies or Worcestershire sauce (which contains anchovies, unless you find a plant-based version). That’s where the capers come into play. Capers, at least here in the UK, are found preserved in jars of water, salt and vinegar. That combination produces a brine-y, sharp flavour that is great for replicating fish flavours in recipes, like in this vegan fish pie.
Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this article for exact measurements to make this vegan cashew Caesar dressing recipe.
🔪 Step-by-step Instructions
This is a step-by-step overview with photos for this recipe. The full recipe, along with measurements and detailed instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.
1. Put the cashews in a bowl or jug and add enough water to cover them. Leave to soak overnight. Or soak for 30-60 minutes in boiling hot water.
2. Drain the cashews and add all the ingredients to a blender, along with salt and black pepper to taste.
3. Blend until completely smooth and season more to taste, if necessary.
4. Serve with salads, as a dip or at a party buffet.
👩🍳 Expert Tips
- Soaking cashews – the longer they soak for the smoother the cashew cream will be. We’ve made it before after just a short soak and the end result was grainy. That’s why for this cashew Caesar dressing we recommend soaking overnight, because we want the dressing to be silky smooth. However, it is possible to speed the process up by using boiling water. If you don’t have time to soak the cashews overnight, try using boiling water and leaving them to soak for 30-60 minutes.
- Make it oil free – this recipe uses a bit of olive oil, which we think adds to the flavour and mouth-feel of the dressing. But if you don’t want to use oil, don’t worry, you can just omit it altogether. When blending, if the creamy cashew dressing is looking a bit thick, just add some more water until you reach the consistency you want.
- Garlic – a little goes a long way! Raw garlic is pretty punchy, so while we like to use a lot of garlic in our recipes usually, this is not the time for it – just like with this Lebanese hummus, it’s one and done. If you’re desperate to add more garlic, try roasting some cloves and using the roasted garlic which will add an additional depth of flavour and take the harshness away. The other recommendation, as in the aforementioned hummus recipe, is to blend the garlic with some lemon juice and leave it for at least 5 minutes before blending with everything else.
- Lemon vs lime – apparently the traditional recipe made at Caesar’s restaurant in Mexico actually used lime juice, not lemon juice. So, if that’s your thing, give it a go! We personally prefer it with lemon juice so that’s what we’ve used here.
- Storage – we recommend eating your creamy cashew Caesar dressing fresh or storing in the fridge for up to 3 days. We don’t recommend freezing as the texture will be affected by the freezing and thawing process.
This creamy cashew dressing lasts well for up to 3 days in the fridge, kept in an airtight container. We don’t recommend freezing.
There are lots of ways to make a dairy-free or vegan Caesar dressing, but our favourite (and what we use in this recipe) is cashew cream. We actually don’t recommend using a shop bought cream or coconut cream, as they won’t work in this dressing. Shop bought cream is too thin and coconut cream isn’t the right flavour.
Usually not, but check the ingredients on a shop bought bottle! Caesar dressing can contain dairy, egg and fish. Luckily this recipe is completely dairy-free and plant-based.
🥗 What to serve with it
Make a lovely Caesar salad with this dressing! In a large bowl, just chop up some Romaine lettuce, add croutons (shop bought or homemade) and a vegan chicken substitute. Pour the dressing over, toss until it’s well coated and sprinkle on vegan parmesan. And if you're looking for a trendy side, try these air fryer corn ribs.
More recipes to try
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Vegan Cashew Caesar Dressing
- ½ cup cashews
- ¼ cup water
- 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp capers
- 1 clove garlic
- Put the cashews in a bowl or jug and add enough water to cover them. Leave to soak overnight. Or soak for 30-60 minutes in boiling hot water.½ cup cashews
- Drain the cashews and add all the ingredients to a blender, along with salt and black pepper to taste.½ cup cashews, ¼ cup water, 4 tbsp nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 3 tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp capers, 1 clove garlic
- Blend until completely smooth and season more to taste, if necessary.
- Serve with salads, as a dip or at a party buffet.
- In a rush? Try soaking the cashews in freshly boiled water for at least an hour, rather than overnight.
- Make it oil free by simply omitting the oil from the recipe altogether. If the dressing is a bit thick when blending, simply add some more water to loosen it up.
- Lemon juice can be switched for lime juice, which is supposedly what was used in the original recipe.
- Dijon can be switched for stone ground or whole grain mustard, just be sure to blend until all the seeds are gone and the entire dressing is smooth.
- This dressing will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container. We don’t recommend freezing.